Many names have been applied to “wacky tobacky”, some may call it “ganja” while others will classify it as “dope” and every other word in between. Henry Anslinger, head of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, chose to use the term “marihuana” to distinguish the plant from the medical and industrial usage of cannabis and hemp respectively. The Spanish term was not only associated with Mexican migrant workers but also their recreational use of the herb as an intoxicant. Hemp is a name that predates most, as the male part of the plant had been used for centuries for industrial purposes like making cloth and even gasoline.
We’ve come a long way since the manhunt for weed of the 1930s, which grandfathered the War On Drugs of the 1980s. Ironically, cannabis and hemp are becoming legally acknowledged all over the nation and other places in the world for a variety of uses and the business has started booming creating millionaires left and right, while inmates are still serving time for petty marijuana offenses. With the advent of science and technology today, the benefits of cannabis treatment can’t be denied for much longer. Scientists have found ways to extract the vital components of the plant in order to make it available for safer use.
The future of legislation looks bright as advocacy groups have sprouted up all over North America to promote the plant’s usefulness as a medication. One such organization, the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, recently teamed up with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to recommend dry leaf marijuana for vaporization concerning patients in the state. Governor Tom Wolf issued a statement on behalf of his administration’s commitment to expand options for a growing number patients to access their medication.
Pennsylvania is among 30 states that have adopted legislation around the use of some form of the herb, typically as a form of treatment. The new recommendation to amend the state law to include dry leaf is a milestone because the only forms previously allowed were generally pill or liquid. Dry leaf for vaporization was originally prohibited, although vaporizing the oil is accepted use, and no forms of ingesting the herb as a smoke is allowed.
States have accepted the scientific studies that provide proof of “alleviating pain and improving quality of life” for a number of serious, chronic conditions ranging from cancer to sickle cell anemia. Over the years, many have justified the criminalization of cannabis by calling it a gateway drug. Hopefully, the stigma of “weed use” will give way to another kind of gateway, where other scientific studies about the use of narcotic drugs will come to be accepted for their benefits as well. For example, the substance “ibogaine” has shown to be very effective in treating addiction and depression. As a civilized modern society, we are coming to recognize the significance in drawing from both our advanced synthetic forms of medication as well as the legitimate plant based medicine used by ancient healers.