Imagine of a way of being able to treat and ultimately cure depression and virtually all forms of addiction in an alternative different method that does not use the chemical concoctions chemist make in labs that are prescribed to patients regularly for such conditions; and, could potentially also influence a change in modern western medicine practices. The mere thought sounds too good however, there is research that suggests otherwise, and pharmaceutical lobbyists actually made a push to congress to make it illegal and succeeded, in 1970, with the Controlled Substances Act.

Marijuana has struck a lot of controversy with clashing viewpoints in the past few years and topically has a negative reputation amongst society; but, through education and an open mind we can get past these derogatory opinions and step forth to the truth behind this wretched plant. What is marijuana? Marijuana is a plant that is native to many regions around the globe and is used for many different purposes. Marijuana has a vast range of uses like recreational, industrial , and medicinal use. Marijuana was once allowed in the US but was later classified as a narcotic drug under the Boggs Act of 1951. Marijuana is also classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act that was passed by congress in 1970. LSD and heroin have a lot of chemical properties that deliver the psychedelic effects whom are also classified as Schedule I drugs; but, marijuana is seen as a lot less dangerous than the drugs mentioned.

Our body has network of cannabinoid receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system. THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active chemical in marijuana that binds to our brain’s cannabinoid receptors which are scattered throughout the brain. THC has a similar molecular structure to that of Anandamide (Volkow)—which is an endogenous cannabinoid chemical that’s naturally made by our body’s— which act as stimuli to the brain’s neurotransmitters. Anandamide is a chemical that has been dubbed the “bliss molecule” because of its role in producing feelings of happiness. Given this similar structure, it allows the THC molecules to bind with the receptors that Anandamide normally would such as the neurons associated with pleasure, memory, concentration, and time perception to name a few and deliver the same effects. Dopamine is also produced with the consumption of marijuana along with interfering with the hippocampus (Bradford). This explains the vivid colors, enhanced senses, and the feeling of euphoria people experience while under the psychedelic state of marijuana. According to a study, “rats exposed to THC every day for 8 months (approximately 30 percent of their life-span) showed a level of nerve cell loss (at 11 to 12 months of age) that equaled that of unexposed animals twice their age” (Volkow).

Some of the beneficial qualities of cannabis are: anti-inflammatory and antiviral activity, block cell growth and prevent the growth of tumors by reducing the blood flow of the vessels (NCI). According to, The Benefits of Marijuana: Physical, Psychological, and Spiritual by Joan Bello, she states:

In a Costa Rican study, it was found that chronic marijuana smokers who also smoked cigarettes were less likely to develop cancer than cigarette smokers who didn’t use marijuana. Since marijuana (smoking, as well as ingestion by other methods) dilates the alveoli, toxins are more easily eliminated with cannabis use regardless of its method of application. Nicotine, on the other hand, constricts the alveoli, so it is likely that the use of cannabis neutralizes, or even overwhelms the constriction, by its own tendency to dilation …As an aid for all psychosomatic disease, marijuana can benefit the participant, generally because of its health-restoring effects…(61).

This suggests that marijuana actually does the opposite of what mainstream media has shoved down our throats all these years saying that marijuana has adverse effects to our health. Although cannabis is frowned upon by much of society, there are beneficial qualities in cannabis that can be used to treat a wide range of medical conditions such as; cancer, as the side effects of cancer.

However, the FDA doesn’t approve cannabis or cannabinoids for cancer treatment (NCI). New legislation within the state level has granted the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana is states such as California Denver and Oregon just to name a few. With more and more states getting on board with marijuana’s potential to benefit our society, not only from a medical standpoint but also in an industrial standpoint as well, our government now faces pressure to finally address this sacred plant. Federal legalization of marijuana may soon happen within the next few years and could start something even bigger where other Schedule I drugs (psilocybin) may be soon join marijuana’s quest of legalization.

Works Cited

National Cancer Institute: PDQ® Cannabis and Cannabinoids. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/cannabis-pdq

Bello, Joan. The Benefits of Marijuana: Physical, Psychological, Spiritual. Windsor: Lifeservices Press, 2010. Print

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Letter From the Director. Volkow, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/letter-director

“What is THC?”: Live Science Contributor. Bradford, N/A: http://m.livescience.com/24553-what-is-thc.html