Weed helps health

AK Pachla, Copy Editor

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Happy 4:20 everyone! I wish you this as a card-carrying member of the cannabis community. It was moving to California, where I would have consistent access to high quality marijuana at a price that is more or less fixed by a free market system, which allowed me to move past my own health issues and finally succeed in living an average life.

You may take this for granted, but I don’t. My problems had been so severe that even now I can still be pleasantly surprised by the fact that I’m not just waiting to die anymore. You may be thinking about the future and running until you get there. I’m just glad I lived to see us both here.

That said, this actually isn’t going to be one of those pieces where some stoner slobbers all over their favorite hobby, claiming that looking at pot cures cancer and living next door to dispensaries and commercial grow-ops is all unicorns and ninja turtles. This is the real world. Nothing here is perfect.

I want to be reasonable about my health. Banning particular configurations of molecules because you can claim not to know for sure how they work on people’s brains opens the door for literally everything to be banned, including brains themselves. It is an extremist response.

Just as extreme, though, is the wholly unregulated introduction of a largely unfamiliar variable into the social mix on little more than anecdotal data. Cannabis does change how people’s minds and bodies react. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be an effective medicine for conditions like gloucoma, chronic pain, and anxiety.

Given the long-standing restrictions on conducting research with marijuana placed on many Western governments, including the United States, the public genuinely does not have enough information to make universally good decisions about recreational cannabis use. It’s as unwise to extoll the virtues of cannabis as an utterly harmless wonder drug as it is unreasonable to ban things because of sometimes, stoners get themselves into trouble.

Earlier this month, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it would be reviewing narcotics schedule and intends to make a decision by July regarding whether or not marijuana would remain classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic. Schedule 1 narcotics are considered to be of no medicinal value with a high potential for abuse. The only other drug classified as Schedule 1 by the DEA is heroin.

This classification has been what’s prevented both the government and private interests from conducting real, top level research on the chemistry of cannabis. These researchers don’t want access to cannabis so they can figure out how to grow the bombest. They want to analyze the component chemistry of the plant and derive medicines from those chemicals.

If the DEA allows for industrial research into cannabinoid derivatives, the future of medical marijuana won’t be the pot shop down the street. It will be the painkiller that replaces opiates. It will be the antinausea drug that also makes chemo more effective. It will be the antidepressant that doesn’t have to list “suicidal thoughts” as a possible side effect. In 50 years, people may be laughing at what cavemen we were in 2016, wasting all that perfectly good medicine by smoking it up.

Marijuana may or may not be the wonder-cure some claim it to be, but it’s certain that we’ll never know for sure until we give people the chance to really understand what cannabis is made of and why it acts on us as it does.

As they say in my crop circles, you can’t grow until you learn.

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