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    The History of Marijuana in the United States

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    WeedWether you call it Hemp, Mary Jane, Pot, Weed; it doesn’t matter. It is stillCannabis Sativa, or cannabis for short. And it is still illegal.

    The use ofmarijuana as an intoxicant in the United States became a problem of publicconcern in the 1930s. Regulatory laws were passed in 1937, and criminalpenalties were instituted for possession and sale of the drug. “Marijuana”refers to the dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant, which contains thenon-narcotic chemical THC at various potencies. It is smoked or eaten to producethe feeling of being “high.

    ” The different strains of this herb producedifferent sensual effects, ranging from a sedative to a stimulant. The term “marijuana” is a word with indistinct origins. Some believe it isderived from the Mexican words for “Mary Jane”; others hold that the name comesfrom the Portuguese word marigu-ano, which means “intoxicant”. The use ofmarijuana in the 1960’s might lead one to surmise that marihuana use spreadexplosively.

    The chronicle of its 3,000 year history, however, shows that this”explosion” has been characteristic only of the contemporary scene. The planthas been grown for fiber and as a source of medicine for several thousand years,but until 500 AD its use as a mind-altering drug was almost solely confined inIndia. The drug and its uses reached the Middle and Near East during the nextseveral centuries, and then moved across North Africa, appeared in Latin Americaand the Caribbean, and finally entered the United States in the early decades ofthis century. Marijuana can even be used as “Biomass” fuel, where the pulp(hurd) of the hemp plant can be burned as is or processed into charcoal,methanol, methane, or gasoline. This process is called destructive distillation,or ‘pyrolysis. ‘ Fuels made out of plants like this are called ‘biomass’ fuels.

    This charcoal may be burned in today’s coal-powered electric generators. Methanol makes a good automobile fuel, in fact it is used in professionalautomobile races. It may someday replace gasoline. Marijuana has many medical purposes also. The cannabis extract was available asa medicine legally in this country until 1937, and was sold as a nerve tonicbutmankind has been using cannabis medicines much longer than that. Marijuanaappears in almost every known book of medicine written by ancient scholars andwise men.

    It is usually ranked among the top medicines, called ‘panaceas’, aword which means ‘cure-all’. The list of diseases which cannabis can be used forincludes: multiple sclerosis, cancer treatment, AIDS (and AIDS treatment),glaucoma, depression, epilepsy, migraine headaches, asthma, pruritis, sclerodoma,severe pain, and dystonia. This list does not even consider the other medicineswhich can be made out of marijuanathese are just some of the illnesses forwhich people smoke or eat whole marijuana today. There are over 60 chemicals inmarijuana which may have medical uses. It is relatively easy to extract theseinto food or beverage, or into some sort of lotion, using butter, fat, oil, oralcohol.

    One chemical, cannabinol, may be useful to help people who cannot sleep. Another is taken from premature buds and is called cannabidiolic acid. It is apowerful disinfectant. Marijuana dissolved in rubbing alcohol helps people withthe skin disease herpes control their sores, and a salve like this was one ofthe earliest medical uses for cannabis. The leaves were once used in bandagesand a relaxing non-psychoactive herbal tea can be made from small cannabis stems. Also cannabis, as any other biomass fuels, are clean burning and do not increasethe amount of CO2 the atmosphere, therefore making breathing easier for maypeople.

    Attempts at legalizing marijuana in the US going on for a long time. But justrecently two states, California and Arizona, voted to legalize it for medicalpurposes only, but the US government still enforces the federal law, statingthat federal law overrules state law. As said by Dr Cliff Schaffer: “In all mystudy and review of the information regarding this issue, one question keepscoming back to me. Let’s assume – for the sake of argument – that marijuana hasno medical value whatsoever, despite the fact that it has a several thousandyear history of medical use and that a prescription drug is made from itsprimary active ingredient. Let’s assume – for the sake of argument – that allthese medical marijuana patients are just fooling themselves.

    Even in that case,what would we stand to gain as a society by punishing sick people and puttingthem through an

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