This Weed Day on April 20, pot enthusiasts across the United States have something good to cheer about. Amid growing clamor for marijuana legalization at the federal level, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer plans to introduce a legislation to decriminalize cannabis. “I’ll be introducing legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level from one end of the country to the other,” Schumer said on April 19, 2018. He expressed concern over the fact that even possession of small amounts of the drug has landed many people in prison, destroying individuals and families.
The other good news has come from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has till now neither recognized nor approved the therapeutic value of marijuana, but may reconsider its stance now. An FDA advisory panel on April 19, 2018, made a unanimous recommendation to approve an epilepsy medication containing an ingredient found in cannabis. If the federal agency accepts the recommendation, the drug would be the first FDA-approved marijuana-derived prescription medication in the U.S.
The new medicine – Epidiolex — is manufactured by British firm GW Pharmaceuticals. Cannabidiol (CBD), the main ingredient in the epilepsy drug, is one of the compounds found in the cannabis plant. Notably, CBD does not have psychoactive properties that make an individual feel high. That’s why it is different from medical marijuana products being sold legally in 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Marijuana is highly addictive
Shifting attitudes have given rise to numerous pro-cannabis campaigns seeking complete legalization of cannabis nationwide. And one such celebration by weed lovers is Weed Day. What started as a cultural rebellion by sophomores of San Rafael high school in, Marin County, California during the mid-1970s when they congregated at 4:20 pm after school hours around the statue of chemist Louis Pasteur in the campus to smoke weed, eventually gained significant momentum across the North American continent. It assumed the form of a counterculture holiday, drawing pot aficionados nationwide to celebrate their love for weed.
Despite widespread public opinion tilting in favor of the cannabis plant, the simple fact that it is not a benign drug cannot be overlooked. Extended smoking is known to cause respiratory disorders like shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in the chest, production of morning sputum, and a host of mental health issues that emerge as the long-term effects of marijuana.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana that triggers cravings in users, thereby, leading to addiction. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 24 million Americans aged 12 or older in 2016 were current users of marijuana. The data also shows that approximately 4 million people in the same age group had a marijuana use disorder in the past year. However, weed addiction can be treated with timely medical intervention. If a person is grappling with marijuana use disorder, he/she should immediately seek professional help from a reputed drug treatment provider. One should remember that substance use disorder can have life-threatening implications, if left untreated.
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