BY: LISA CUMMING
The first documented use of Marijuana was in 2727 BC when Chinese Emperor Shen Nung blazed up.
Marijuana, or the dried bits from the hemp plant, has permeated popular culture since then. People have smoked it, eaten it and brewed it like tea, but besides ingesting copious amounts of fast food what do our bodies actually do when under the influence.
Marijuana, along with heroin, LSD, ecstasy and peyote are Schedule I drugs under the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. According to the DEA:
Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.
Surprisingly in Schedule II, the tier that holds drugs with less abuse potential than Schedule I drugs, lies OxyContin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. In Schedule III the DEA has placed ketamine, in Schedule IV xanax and valium, and finally in Schedule V: Robitussin.
Despite the fact that 4 states in the U.S. have legalized it, and an additional 18 states allow medical use, in April a federal judge decided to rule against a case that called for the potential rescheduling of marijuana.
Marijuana is still ranked under Federal law as one of America’s most dangerous drugs.
Judge Kimberly J. Mueller of the Federal District Court in Sacramento, California could strike down the re-categorization of the drug after just a 15-minute court hearing.
This isn’t exactly accurate. This is the science behind getting high:
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the chemical found naturally in the cannabis plant that takes responsibility for hallucinations and hunger.
THC interacts with the centres of your brain that deal with movement, sensations, vision, memory, reward, judgment, and coordination.
When smoking pot, THC is passed from your lungs to your bloodstream. Blood travels to your brain and the rest of the organs in your body delivering the high relatively quickly.
Cannabis, as a compound, contains minimum 60 different types of cannabinoids. These are the chemical composites that act on the cell receptors in our brains.
THC closely resembles the naturally occurring chemical anandamide, the cannabinoid that maintains mood, sleep, memory, and appetite. The high that is felt happens when those receptors, or bits, of the brain are extremely stimulated by the not naturally occurring cannabinoid, THC, which now exists in the bloodstream.
To be at risk of dying a marijuana-related death one would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint.
Photo By: David Ramos/Getty
This obviously leaves the deaths caused by marijuana at a total of zero.
Photo By: AlenaPaulus
More people have died as the result of an overdose on Robitussin, a drug that rests four tiers below marijuana.
It’s interesting to know that there is virtually no difference between marijuana dispensed as medicine and marijuana sold on the street.
Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
With clinical trials currently being conducted with marijuana and its extracts to treat HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, other substance addictions and mental disorders, one wonders how it can be classified as having “no accepted medical use”. Michael Oliveri, 25, is in a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy, and he says medical marijuana vastly improves his quality of life.
Photo by: Aristide Economopoulos/ The Star-Ledger