Marijuana usage both medical, and recreational is a heated topic with strong opinions from millions of Americans on both sides. While marijuana has been made legal in a handful of states majority of the country maintains its illegal point of view on the drug. North Carolina remains one of the states still declaring recreational use of marijuana illegal. North Carolina should legalize the use of marijuana because of the positive medical benefits, hemp applications, and added tax revenue.
Marijuana, also call “cannabis” is a plant grown all over the world. In the resin of this plant are multiple variations of “cannabinoids”, according to the National Cancer Institute cannabinoids are “active chemicals in cannabis that cause drug like effects throughout the body, including the central nervous system, and the immune system” (National Cancer Institute). This being said many people would argue that anything altering the mental, or cognitive function of an individual should be made illegal, and yet many pharmaceutical drugs, as well as alcohol do just that. One active cannabinoid in cannabis is “cannabidiol” (National Cancer Institute), this cannabinoid can reduce anxiety, pain, and lower inflammation. These effects can even be harnassed without activating the cannibinoids giving the user a “high”. Many cancer patients are exposed to chemotherapy, causing high levels of vomiting and nausea, the effects of cannabidiol could greatly reduce the amount of pain, and nausea many patients exhibit. Marijuana could also have many positive applications in the treatment of PTSD or post tramatic stress disorder. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli scientist is an avid supporterresearcher for the theory of “memory extinction”. The theory entails using the cannabinoid system to aid in the healthy process of removing traumatic associations from stimuli (Mechoulam). Individuals who suffer from traumatic experiences, with exposure to the cannabinoid system, over time will forget about the shock associated with the original noise, or stress. Some individuals will argue that the effects of treating PTSD with cannabinoid are symptomatic at best, meaning it only gives the user the momentary sensation of calamity or ease. This simply isn’t the case, but if it was wouldn’t the symptomatic effect bring some form of comfort to the millions of Americans suffering from PTSD Why does one take an ASPRIN for a headache The ASPRIN doesn’t cure your headache. Is it not to give them the symptomatic effect of relief The same respect should be given to Cannabis concerning post-traumatic stress disorder. The drug Epidiolex has recently been used in studies to treat different epilepsies, such as Lennox-Gastaut, and Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex is a purified, 99% oil-based extract of cannabidiol. In a recent open label study, without placebo control, 137 people completed 12 weeks of treatment with Epidiolex. The patients ranged from 2 to 26 years old, and all of them suffered from epilepsies that did not respond to currently available treatments. Under the usage of Epidiolex, seizures in these patients decreased by an average of 54%, the improvement in seizures lasted 24 weeks, twice the length of the intended study (Sirven, Shafner). More studies like this need to be conducted in order to fully understand the medical benefits of cannabidiol. The legalization of marijuana would greatly benefit this cause.
The legalization of marijuana would also aid in the production of hemp based products. Hemp is a variety of marijuana specifically grown for the seeds and fiber. Hemp is a more viable option over cotton, as it demands less water, fertilizer, herbicides, and insecticides. Hemp also can be grown in more states than cotton, providing more jobs within hemp growing facilities, as well as an increase for the textile manufacturing business. Hemps benefits extend into paper applications as well. Converting trees to paper uses a large amount of chemicals, water, and energy. Hemp is a rapidly renewing paper alternative, whereas some trees can take decades to mature. The chemical compound “cellulose” is extracted from the tree in the paper making process. The tree to start with is only comprised of 30% cellulose, the other 70% is extracted using toxic chemicals. Obviously the higher the percentage of cellulose inside the plant source to start with, the better it is suited for paper manufacturing. Hemp as a paper alternative source is comparatively made of 85% cellulose. This eliminates the need for many of the toxic cellulose extracting chemicals, as well as reduces the deforestation effect on trees (Hemp). While hemp has positive roles in both paper, and cotton, it also has beneficial nutritional applications. According to Dr. Mike Roussell, of SHAPE magazine “These little seeds give you the complete nutritional power of hemp with their blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, high fiber content, and quality amino acid profile. Hemp seeds are also high in magnesium, a mineral that helps with relaxation, blood sugar control, blood pressure, and potentially osteoporosis” (Roussell, 2013). Hemp can also be made into a powder, and is a viable alternative for individuals who refrain from the consumption of animal proteins.
Finally, the legalization of marijuana could greatly impact cities around the nation through the action of taxing. Colorado in 2015 generated nearly 70 million dollars in taxable revenue (Basu). Washington state similarly generated over 70 million dollars in taxes during the first year of legalization (Imam). This money could be used to further research the medical benefits of marijuana, as well as provide better education facilities for public K-12 programs. There are hundreds of ideas on how to spend taxed income, the bottom line is that with an additional 70 million dollars in state revenue something positive could be accomplished.
With the numerous positive benefits in medical applications including cancer therapy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and epilepsy. The obviously superior hemp products in nutrition, paper, and clothing. And finally the added benefits of potentially millions of dollars in taxable revenue, North Carolina should legalize, as well as research the marijuana plant.