Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Don’t fear the reefer, no madness in sight

Contrary to what popular belief was for the majority of the 20th century, marijuana does not make people crazy or violent. Nor does it necessarily slow or reduce brain function.

Truth be told, it does not have nearly the amount of negative side affects as drugs that are already legalized, like alcohol and tobacco. It is important to legalize marijuana for medicinal use in every state, and to that end it needs to be removed from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s “Schedule I” drug list.

The “Schedule I” drug list is designated for drugs that have no medicinal use. That is clearly far from the truth about marijuana. We already know about the benefits marijuana has in treating cancer patients going through chemotherapy. In addition, it’s use as a pain reliever is monumentally safer and less harmful to the body as prescription pain medication. But it’s what scientists are finding out recently that should pull even the most fearful of opponents towards the light.

Doctors and scientists are beginning to study cannabis in more depth than ever before and their findings are fascinating. Recent research on marijuana has shown that the plant can actually improve cognitive function and help to treat diseases that affect the mind. These results could go a long way in shifting public perception of the plant.

A new study out of Germany by Andras Biokei-Gorzo reveals that marijuana releases cannabinoids, which in turn release antioxidants in the brain that act as a cleansing mechanism, scrubbing the brain of damaged cells. These findings may be groundbreaking because the process of activating cannabinoids in the brain can help treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Biokei-Gorzo says, “Cannabinoids system activity is neuroprotective, and increasing it could be a promising strategy for slowing down the progression of brain aging and for alleviating the systems of neurodegenerative disorders.”

Another contributor to the study, Dr. Gary Wenk professor of neuroscience, immunology and medical genetics at Ohio State University is optimistic as well.

Wenk says, “I’ve been trying to find a drug that will reduce brain inflammation and restore cognitive function in rats for over 25 years; cannabinoids are the first and only class of drugs that have ever been effective. I think that the perception about this drug is changing and in the future people will be less fearful.”

For the longest time public officials and law-makers have blown the dangers of the drug way out of proportion. Most well educated people today realize that marijuana does not cause people to go crazy as the 1936 film “Reefer Madness” suggested. Sadly though, there is still a segment of conservative America that clutches onto this concept with white-knuckles. See Nancy Grace.

People fear drugs like marijuana because they simply do not know enough about it. Their ignorance comes from relying on outdated studies, anecdotal tales and isolated incidents with the drugs.

President Reagan’s “War on Drugs” campaign in the 1980’s created an irrational fear of drugs among our nation. His campaign has led to many senseless arrests that have stripped citizens of their civil liberties. With the help of scientists and doctors today we are coming to realize that marijuana is nothing to fear. It has real medicinal benefits and should be decriminalized.

The reality is that legalizing marijuana might actually reduce crime rates. According to a study by The University of Texas at Dallas, utilizing statistics straight from the FBI, the rates of homicide and assault actually declined in states that legalized marijuana. Most researchers believe that the biggest reason that marijuana is involved in criminal activity is the fact that it is a “Schedule I” drug.

As a result of more and more scientific case studies law makers as well as citizens are becoming more educated on the topic of marijuana. This is leading to changes in state laws and hopefully it will create better communication between state and federal law makers. Unfortunately, the current federal laws still outlaw use of marijuana. This is sad considering all that we already know about the plant.

Marijuana is far less dangerous than other drugs that we take for granted in the United States. Alcohol and tobacco are known killers, yet they are completely legal. They both have high potential for abuse and addiction. Prescription pain medication like Vicodin and Oxycontin are the leading cause of documented emergency room overdoses in the United States.

The more scientific and clinical studies on cannabis that are done, the more benefits we will find and more informed we will be. The more informed we are, the better chance we have to legalize the plant nationwide. If marijuana can become legalized nationwide, the more likely the Drug Enforcement Agency is to consider decriminalizing the mislabeled plant.

Around the FC campus perceptions are shifting towards legalization.

Communications Major Amanda Ford says, “I feel like if you we are allowed to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, then we should be able to use marijuana. As long as you are 21.”

Music Major Dennis Doroshenko says, “I don’t think marijuana is something to be feared. It is not like you can turn it into crack. It is not that dangerous. I think there needs to be an open dialogue between the state and federal officials about marijuana.”

The list of medical uses for marijuana is growing and the time is now to move forward with further studies of the plant. It is by no means the miracle cure for everything, but it definitely has many quality uses in the field of medicine.

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