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Pot enthusiasts celebrate April 20 as the international day of marijuana. This drug, long outlawed in the usa, has gained growing public acceptance. Both Washington Colorado and state now allow legal sales of recreational marijuana to adults ages 21 or older.
Pot legalization remains controversial, however, and myths and misconceptions about marijuana are normal. Here are a few quick factual statements about the psychoactive plant.
The Origins of pot
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Marijuana probably comes from Central Asia, according to «Cannabis: A BRIEF HISTORY» (Macmillan, 2005). The oldest written record of the drug dates to 2727 B back.C., based on the Arlington, Va., Drug Enforcement Administration Museum & Visitors Center. The initial reference, a medicinal book called «The Herbal,» no more exists, but legend has it that Chinese Emperor Shen Nung penned the tome.
The spiky-leafed plant managed to get to the Western Hemisphere in A.D. 1545, imported to Chile by Spanish colonists to use in textiles.
Outlawing a plant
The street to unlawful cannabis in the usa started in 1906, when Congress passed the Pure Drug and Food Act. This is the first major federal legislation installation of regulations on food and drug labeling and setting standards for purity. Over another many years, states tightened laws against «habit-forming» drugs, including cannabis usually. No more were narcotics obtainable in parlors and pharmacies around the united states freely.
The procedure of restricting marijuana continued both and on the state level federally. In 1970, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act, which lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin, LSD, ecstasy and other mind-altering substances.
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One of the primary controversies about pot is whether it plays a part in mental illness. Research shows that heavy usage of marijuana can result in psychosis and will worsen psychosis in people already fighting symptoms.
Research published in 2012 in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry finds that the primary psychoactive ingredient in pot, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), causes brain changes in areas that previous studies associated with psychosis. (However, another compound in marijuana, cannabidiol, decreased psychotic brain processes actually, the analysis found
This of which a person starts smoking pot may influence the individual’s threat of psychotic unwanted effects. One study of just one 1,037 teenagers in New Zealand published in 2002 in the British Medical Journal found more psychotic symptoms in individuals who used cannabis by ages 15 and 18 than in those that waited longer to try the drug. Those results held even after researchers managed for the result of pre-existing symptoms of psychosis at age 11.
Much better than Alcohol?
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Advocates of marijuana legalization tout its relative safety in comparison to alcohol, which is, in the end, readily available.
Pot is less immediately dangerous than booze certainly, a Live Science investigation of the problem within 2014. Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can turn off the mind areas that keep carefully the heart beating and lungs breathing; pot doesn’t pose such a threat of fatal overdose.
That’s not to state that marijuana intoxication is always harmless. On March 11, 2014, a Wyoming university student visiting Denver jumped to his death after consuming more than six times the recommended serving of a marijuana-infused cookie and reportedly experiencing hallucinations. The coroner’s report listed marijuana intoxication as a precipitating element in the 19-year-old’s death.
The health effects of chronic marijuana use are less clear. (It could be difficult to accomplish medical studies on an unlawful drug, and it’s difficult to find individuals who smoke but don’t drink.) A 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that informal pot use will not decrease lung function. However, many early research points to links between pot use and testicular cancer in teenagers, along with brain changes that may donate to memory problems and anxiety disorders.
Of course, alcohol use is accountable for a number of nasty outcomes, including 3 roughly.5 percent of the cancer deaths in the usa.
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Within the last 40 years, pot is becoming accepted in the usa increasingly. Only 12 percent of individuals favored legalization of the substance in 1969, Gallup polls show. By 2013, the real number of Americans favoring legalization had jumped to 58 percent.
That true number is greater than the prior record of 50-percent support, measured by Gallup in 2011. Sixty-five percent of Democrats support legalization, as do 35 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Independents.