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Marijuana Research Continues to Grow as 30 Million Americans Continue to Use

Sep 20th, 2016 Marijuana Laws

People started using marijuana or cannabis about 12,000 years ago.  At this time, it was primarily being used by people in the far east, in places such as China.  Marijuana was brought to North America in the Sixteenth Century by the Spanish.  In what is now the United States, specifically Jamestown, settlers began using cannabis also in the sixteenth century.  So, it’s fair to say that marijuana has been around in the world, and even in the United States, a very long time, this according to The National Psychologist, V. 25, No. 5, September/October 2016.

The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana was discovered in 1964 by Ralph Mechoulam. Id. at pg. 1.  This discovery meant that THC and marijuana could be studied providing the possibly of scientific research dollars in the form of grant money.  Back then, however, there wasn’t all that much interest in studying marijuana.  Things have changed a lot since then, and interest in THC and marijuana has never been higher.

Various scientists presented their work at a recent APA meeting. For example, Dr. Bonn-Miller indicated that in his work with veterans suffering from PTSD, he noticed that the trend was for them to become addicted to cannabis which included suffering from withdrawal symptoms and sleep deprivation.  Treatment for these individuals required significant commitment and long-term therapy.  Id. at pg. 4.

Many others presented their research as well, which showed that, for example, there was lower IQs among long-term cannabis users (Dr. Francesca Filbey), marijuana users are more sensitive to fears of social exclusion and social rejection (Dr. Jodi Gilman), and loss of executive decision-making ability in persons between 14 and 18 years (Dr. Catherine Stranger).

However, despite the fact that cannabis has been around for more than 12 Centuries, and even though THC was first discovered more than 50 years ago, much more research needs to be done before any valid conclusions can be drawn about these issues and so many others.

Nevertheless, the use, and in some cases the sale, of marijuana is already legal in some states, and essentially legal in others such as Michigan. At the same time, marijuana remains totally illegal at the Federal Level as a schedule one drug.

As more and more research is done relative to cannabis, lawmakers at both the state and federal level will be able to take scientists’ conclusions relative to the drug’s addictive propensity and health benefits or harm, into consideration in determining what level of freedom people ought to have relative to the use and sale of marijuana.