Cannabis is an illegal drug which has been used for many years. It not always was illegal and was used as medicine to treat illnesses. However, in this modern world, cannabis is no longer legal to use it or produce it. This essay will show how the usage of cannabis has changed over the years and why. It will also discuss whether the current legal classification of cannabis is appropriate and whether it should be changed or not.
Cannabis is an old fashioned Eastern tranquilliser. It creates muscular relaxation and decreases sensitivity to pain. In predisposed individuals it can precipitate a state of mental disorder, said to be similar to schizophrenia. The usage of cannabis usually can lead only to psychological dependences, similarly to cigarette smoking. Continued use of the drug leads to permanent lethargy and withdrawal from reality. Cannabis is used a lot in poor countries as a solace in hunger and is likely to replace food on the tight budget, thus increasing the secondary disease of malnutrition. However this is not the only danger of the drug. There is a possibility that people under the influence of cannabis may very likely to try some other dangerous drugs, because with the excitement produced by the cannabis comes also a diminishing of inhibitions. It has been suggested that traffickers sometimes mix opium with cannabis in order to lead a customer from one to the other.
Cannabis is the world’s most known and widely used illegal drug. It has many names, for example, ‘marijuana, grass, weed, blow, puff, wacky, dope, sinsy, skunk, ganja, hemp, tea, hay’ and many other. The use of cannabis is believed to go back 4000 years. Cannabis mainly was used as a herbal medicine over the world including countries like India, China and the Middle East. It was commonly used in Western medicine in the 1840s and was used as a treatment for range of problems such as muscle spasm, menstrual cramps and rheumatic complaints.
In the 1930s, a campaign led by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics (now the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs) wanted to show cannabis as a powerful, addicting material that would lead people into addiction. In the 1960s, cannabis was very popular between college students and ‘hippies’ and became a symbol of rebellion against authority.
In the United Kingdom cannabis did not reach popularity as a recreational drug until 1950s. Since the early 1970s cannabis has been one of the most widely misused illegal drugs. The Dangerous Drugs Act 1964 made it an offence to cultivate cannabis or to permit premises to be used for smoking or dealing in cannabis or cannabis resin. However, it still was prescribable as a medicine until 1973.
Government assigned committees in Britain, Canada and the United States to find the medical justification for the legal status of cannabis between 1968 and 1972. The Wootton Report said that:
‘Once the myths were cleared, it became obvious that the case for and against was not evenly balanced. By any ordinary standards of objectivity, it is clear that cannabis is not a very harmful drug’.
The US Schafer Report said:
‘There is little proven danger of physical or psychological harm from the experimental or intermittent use of natural preparations of cannabis…Existing social and legal policy is out of proportion to the individual and social harm engendered by the drug’.
The Wootton Report also concluded: ‘There is no evidence that this activity is causing violent crime or aggression, anti-social behaviour, or is producing in otherwise normal people conditions of dependence or psychosis requiring medical treatment’. Despite this, it is still illegal to grow, produce, possess or supply the drug to another person, even if you are a doctor. It is also an offence to allow premises to be used for growing, preparing, supplying or smoking cannabis.
More independent Commissions have investigated the effects of cannabis. For example, in 1894, an investigation by