Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Case for Marijuana Legalization: Food & Medicine*

Research conducted between 1966 and 1976, by American and Canadian universities—some 10,000 studies in all—proved unequivocally that cannabis has well defined medicinal properties. Of the handful of studies (about a dozen) that failed to return a positive finding of medicinal benefits, none could be replicated in subsequent studies using the same test criteria.

Indeed, cannabis was one of the best known and most widely used medicinal plants, in many parts of the world, for more than 3500 years. In U.S. pharmacopoeia, cannabis was the primary medicine prescribed to treat more than 100 illnesses or diseases until 1937, when growing hemp in the U.S. was effectively banned.

Among the therapeutic uses of cannabis are treatments for asthma, glaucoma, epilepsy, nausea, multiple sclerosis, tumors, arthritis, rheumatism, cystic fibrosis, herpes, back pain, muscle spasms, insomnia, stress, migraine headaches, anorexia, depression, and many others.

A healthy diet equates to a healthy immune system. Were hemp seed, a highly nutritious and easily digestible source of protein, essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids incorporated into the typical diet, the number of occurrences of the aforementioned illnesses and diseases would plummet.

Be advised that cannabis is not a panacea. Different people sometimes obtain different results and a small percentage experience allergic reactions. People who experience adverse reactions shouldn't use cannabis, but that's not to say that no one should use it. Lots of people are allergic to some things, some people are allergic to lots of things, but it just doesn't follow that because a small percentage of people are allergic to peanuts or hemp, peanuts and hemp should be off-limits to everyone.

It's worth noting that adverse reactions to cannabis are generally mild and no known deaths have occurred due to liver or kidney failure, or to overdose. If only the same could be said for aspirin and Tylenol.

The U.S. Government continues to spread misinformation, disinformation, negative propaganda and outright undisguised lies about cannabis hemp to the citizens it governs. It's a thinly veiled ploy to maintain hemp's illegal status for the benefit of vested pharmaceutical interests at the expense of the people who could most benefit from easy access to legalized hemp and its many medicinal and nutritional properties.

In 1937, the year that cannabis became illegal, one ounce of medicinal cannabis sold for $1 at local pharmacies all across the nation. Today, one ounce of kick-ass bud typically sells for $300 – $400 on the black market, no prescription needed. Obviously, legalized hemp would lower the cost of most other therapeutic drugs, and go a long way toward making healthcare affordable for everyone.

Anti-marijuana forces have used specious, disingenuous arguments to make their case against marijuana since day one. When one weighs all the facts about cannabis honestly, the moral and ethical concerns of marijuana legalization line up on the side of legalization.

When people finally shed their fear and ignorance of cannabis, they will vote to legalize it. When they finally see and experience the benefits to be had, they will wonder why it took so long.

Why, indeed!

When the people lead, politicians will follow.

*This brief article originally appeared in Petey's Pipeline E-zine, Issue #34, July 3, 2006

Register your vote for cannabis legalization, today. Visit Change.org/ for more information.