Cannabis has a long history of being linked in with the wrong crowd. Let’s take a look at an honest kid born on the wrong side of the tracks, a misguided youth who means well, or the person who made a bad impression. There are many arguments about the history of cannabis that it’s essentially cliché. The history of marijuana and the belief in its chronic abuse potential has been ongoing. Now the justification of its beneficial effects. In these last few years follows the expert of the harmless idol to mock outcast to redemptive hero. Cannabis has been through quite the pandora’s box. Its greatest kryptonite has been the association and false comparisons. Marijuana has been placed side-by-side with other drugs like heroin, opioids, methadone, speed, and cocaine as an addictive social killer, and a potential life-endangering agent, without proof.
Recently, majority opinion from negative to positive position on the cannabis plant has shifted dramatically. Roughly 60 percent of Americans believe cannabis should be legal, which is a massive swing from about 25 percent in the 1980s and 1990s. It helps that cannabis has shown to have a large list of health benefits. However, it still holds the old stereotype it was given during the War on Drugs. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has alarmed the cannabis community with comparing cannabis plant to heroin, as slightly better. For now Sessions has only shown talk when it comes to cannabis. He has shown no signs of acting on his convictions. Perhaps it’s a sign of him softening up to the plant since he does see it’s not as harmful as heroin. But no one should hold their breath. Studies of opioid and heroin death overdose dwarf cannabis to a large scale.
The opioid crisis has been escalating exponentially in the last ten years. The National Institute of Drug Abuse estimates that from 2002 to 2015, deaths caused by the overdose of opioids has increased three times each year. In 2002, approximately 12,500 people died from overdosing compared to roughly 35,000 in 2015. NIDA has also factored in deaths of opioids synergized by other drugs such as cocaine and benzodiazepine, with opioids involving benzodiazepine having a steady climb per year where cocaine has been inconsistent with a dip between 2007 to 2014. In 2016, there has been an estimate of 65,000 people dying overall of drug use, having opioids covering about half of all overdose deaths. Synthetic opioids usurped natural opioids as the leader in death by overdose in recent years. In 2016, synthetic opioid deaths spiked to 20,145 which is about a quadruple leap from 2014 where only about 5,000 fatalities.
What follows is a list of schedule 1 or 2 drugs, except for one. Cannabis, as reported by the DEA, has zero reported overdoses or even deaths that involved the use of Cannabis. Synthetic opioids, natural opioids, and heroin lead the list, with cocaine and methadone following behind. Cannabis is nowhere in the seen associated with this notorious group of killers. The DEA claims that cannabis has a high abuse potential and long-lasting effects.
It is believed that long-term use by teens can influence psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. Harvard reports that teens who use cannabis at least five times a week and who already have a disposition to developing schizophrenia based on family history double their chances. The study followed 1,923 youths for anywhere from three and a half to ten years to record the effects of schizophrenia. However, none of these studies were able to prove to causes for schizophrenia, only associated and correlated to the development of the psychosis.
Laughably, this is the worst side of cannabis it only has these strong effects on a portion of the population. The population that is not legally allowed to purchase the drug. Youth do tend to have more potential for cannabis abuse when they grow older, however, compared to the schedule one and two drugs, only nine percent of users can be labeled as addicted.
Cannabis can affect a person negatively that is no lie. It is a lie to say cannabis has the potential for abuse and psychosis. Marijuana is associated with negative connotations, but that’s been the story of cannabis. It gets grouped with dangerous drugs. Just like it gets bundled with psychosis disorders without a lick of proof that it has any connections whatsoever. The ignorance of the drug war has convinced people of falsehoods about a mostly harmless drug. However, it is hard to say that government entities like the DEA were merely mistaken rather than nefarious with their studies since the differences in the effects of cannabis and opioids have significant differences.