Compare And Contrast Cannabis And Alcohol

Submitted By shermamd194
Words: 6829
Pages: 28

Cannabis and alcohol have a more similar history than most people know. At times both were considered medicine. And both have gone through a prohibition periods in twentieth-century America: Alcohol with the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919 and cannabis starting in the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Cannabis’ prohibition came in gradually and it has been illegal for almost a century. Alcohol, on the other hand, indifferent locales at different time but in 1920 nationally with a Constitutional amendment, which was quickly repealed thirteen years later. Alcohol prohibition lasted for only about a decade, while cannabis prohibition has reached almost a century. This difference is due to alcohol being prevalent throughout American history while cannabis was just being introduced from Mexico when its prohibition started. It is useful to bring up alcohol Prohibition when talking about the cannabis prohibition because both started at around the same time and shared personnel leading the fights against both substances. But the two also took different routes. The Federal government grouped cannabis with more dangerous drugs such as poppy which makes opium and coca which makes cocaine, while alcohol remained on its own playing field. “Cannabis,” the scientific term, is a plant also called marijuana, reefer, ganja, weed, pot, hash, hashish or benj. In fact, the American name marijuana is a mostly American word with racist tendencies in the history. The racist connotation of the term comes from when cannabis was first being introduced to the American Southwest. Marijuana is the Mexican word for cannabis so when cannabis was becoming illegal the American government used the term and create a negative persona of the word and the Mexican’s that use it. “Marijuana” is an prejudice term, so it will only be used when talking about how people from the times were saying it or if the cannabis is in fact from Latin America.

The cannabis plant has different uses through the long history of its existence. Mostly cannabis was used for its strong fibers inside of the stalk of the plant. Although stronger than most other fibers such as cotton, the process in extracting hemp is tedious and intensive, which made cotton seem more viable before industrialization and modernization.The extensive history of the use of hashish embarked in Asia but moved swiftly through the Middle East and Northern Africa. The word “assassin” was derived from an elite group of Islamic soldiers during the Middle Ages who would fight under the influence of “benj,” an historical word for cannabis.1 Latin American was the first region in the western hemisphere to inhale cannabis. Cannabis, is usually inhaled by the use of combustion. Much like tobacco it is smoked through a pipe, or rolling papers. In the thirties it was normal for cannabis to be combine with tobacco with a layer of charcoal on the top, much like a hookah, a historically popular form of smoking tobacco in the Middle East.2 Among the Indians, cannabis was sometimes combined in a drink called “bhang” which is the weakest form of cannabis ingestion. In the United States, it is more popular to see cannabis combined with liquor, honey and sugar to form an intoxicating beverage.3 The popular way of using the drug hash, which is a more concentrated form of cannabis, is in “hash-dens,” they were popular in cities much like opium dens in the early part of the twentieth century. Side effects of inhaling cannabis are much like those of using tobacco; lung diseases, weakened immune system and it may also cause heart problems due to the psychoactive component causing an increase in heart rate. Though compared to tobacco, side effects are different and include a sense of euphoria and short term memory loss. Past historical work have cannabis considered to have medical properties, even with the side effects that were known at the time. Medical uses of cannabis show up as early as 4000 BCE in China.4 There