Is Marijuana injurious to health?
This is a perennial question. The opinions are divided just like the status of socio-political policies between left and right. Some believe that marijuana is not harmful but on the contrary is useful when efficiently utilized. Others are of the opinion that it should remain banned throughout eternity. Well, most of the people who say so are addicted to alcohol or cigarettes! So coming back to the main question, is marijuana harmful? And why is it banned?
To know about them lets dive into a quick recap of the History of marijuana.
Until 1985, marijuana was legal in India and the industry was booming and flourishing. Everything was going well when suddenly the Congress Govt. led by Rajiv Gandhi banned the production and consumption of marijuana. Why? Due to the U.S. pressure. The U.S. banned it in 1961 and pressurized U.N. to do the same. The U.N. labeled marijuana as a synthetic drug like cocaine or heroin and banned it. So let us analyze something. You take a seed, put in a pot, water it, a bud sprouts, forms a small plant, the leaves of which are crushed, dried, and smoked. Tell me where was it synthetic? Like how can you term something as synthetic when everything is natural and organic? By that logic, roses are synthetic too, but it isn’t. Why? U.N. might have that answer.
Now marijuana that is cultivated for medical purposes has a lot of health benefits. It has been tested that marijuana helps in problems like gastric, obesity, diabetes, diarrhea, jaundice, etc. It acts as an appetizer too. It helps people with anxiety by relaxing their brains. It helps cure depression too. Cannabis is also used for cancer treatment. A plant with so many benefits, you must be wondering, is still banned. Why? Again the answer is ambiguous.
Often when you suffer from chronic pain and you opt for a painkiller, you take in a lot of chemicals to ease the pain. Recreational marijuana does the same work but is far cheaper and efficient in doing so. Harvard Medical School has done extensive research on the benefits of medical marijuana and they also found that it is not as addictive as alcohol or other synthetic drugs.
The U.S. banned marijuana, correct?
Now it has legalized medical marijuana in 29 states of its own. Hypocrisy at its peak? You might think so. A report found that by 2020, the marijuana industry in the U.S. would contribute to 3 lakh crore to the economy alone. Can you imagine this? But again, it is banned in India.
The countries where marijuana is made legal has seen a drop in the consumption of alcohol and cigarette and an increase in the gross happiness index of the country. Even the crime rates have been reduced. A prime example is the Netherlands. Cigarette and Alcohol are 114 times more harmful to health than marijuana but they aren’t banned. The Govt. Earns huge taxes on them albeit it being injurious to health. In India, after the ban on marijuana, there has been a rise in the consumption of synthetic drugs, especially among youths.
But all these doesn’t mean that marijuana isn’t available in India. It has one of the largest black market presence in India and is available in almost all the places. The correct solution would be to legalize it and earn revenue by taxation. It would also lead to employment and contribute highly to the economy. Hemp which is another variety of Cannabis Sativa ( the main plant) is used to make many body care products, food supplements, and fiber are used to make papers, etc. While the U.S. has been benefiting with its legalization, we still lag behind.
We Indians have a very taboo kind of a relationship with marijuana. The term we use in India is ‘Ganja’ and our parents always give us the same advice, “Stay away from Ganja and people who smoke it, they are bad people.” But trust me, people who are high, rarely do any activity. A stoned person just lies down and believes in peace! Well again that is subjective but that’s the case most of the time.
Since we touched this Indian context, let me give you some insights into our culture and history.
In the Atharva Veda (XI, 6.15) Chapter XI Verse no. VI and Verse XV states that Marijuana is one of the five most sacred plants on earth.
The backbone of our Ayurveda medicine is marijuana. It is also referred to as the penicillin of ayurvedic medicine. Despite its reference in the Vedas and its advantages in the medical world, it is still frowned upon. We need to change our outlook and be more open to the world.
We have to understand the facts and trust the doctors in this regard. Now people are being made aware of the benefits of marijuana. There are a lot of campaigns and protests around the world for the legalization of it. Some organizations like The Great Legalization Movement have filed petitions with the courts to take a stance and reassess the pros and cons and have a wider outlook towards this issue.
Call it Marijuana, Weed, Ganja, Pot, Stuff, whatever you want, there is no denying the fact that in the coming years, this would be seen with huge potential and many studies would be made. In general, it would make the world a better place by making people happier, reducing stress, creating job opportunities, increasing the GDP of the nation, and many more benefits associated with it.
Until then, listen to some tracks of Bob Marley, try getting a natural high by training your brain to do so and maintain peace and harmony.