The Legalization of Marijuana and Pervasive Social Stigmas

 

It’s amazing to see just how far the world has come towards accepting Marijuana use in the past 14 years, especially in Western cultures. It doesn’t seem that long ago that pot use was being demonized and used primarily in secret behind closed doors. I remember my Mother cried when she caught my brother and I smoking weed outside in the garage one night. Nowadays if you live in Canada or one of ten states in the United States, access to legal marijuana is easier than ever. Hell, I order my supply through the internet as simply as if I were placing an order on Amazon.

There are a plethora of reasons for the miracle plant’s resurgence into lawful society. Most notably being the revenue produced by the legal sale of marijuana, the health benefits associated with the use of the plant and the fact that new science continually disproves old propaganda shared by governments during the ‘War on Drugs’ era.

Marijuana has proven itself as an effective tool in the treatment of chronic pain. Single-handily weed has decreased opioid addiction everywhere that it has been approved for use, much to the chagrin of greedy pharmaceutical companies. Why are we surprised by these recent scientific revelations though? Marijuana has been used as a medicine since Ancient times in most parts of Asia and even some parts of Europe.

Weed’s also been shown to be extremely beneficial in aiding the treatment of many ailments and diseases including; Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and even Cancer. When weed is not being used to aid in physical discomforts it’s also been proven to be beneficial to users plagued by mental afflictions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

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Photo by Felipe Andre from Unsplashed

If used in moderation and responsibly, the negative side effects of marijuana use are very few. There is some evidence to show that daily and excessive use of marijuana can exacerbate symptoms in people with a history of mental illness, so responsible and modest use of the drug is recommended for any person with existing conditions. Besides that, there is a type of testicular cancer that has an increased risk of development with frequent marijuana use. However, that type of testicular cancer is already pretty rare and occurs on average for only 1 in 400 men naturally, doubling to 1 in 200 men for frequent weed users.

Weed’s also been shown to lower blood pressure, stress levels and to even help in stabilizing blood sugar levels. So why isn’t it legal the same as alcohol across the entirety of North America and across the globe?

To further make my point let’s take a look at some of the possible side effects for regular use of perfectly legal and socially acceptable alcohol.

According to Healthline.com , some of the side effects of alcohol over long periods of time include shrinking of the brains frontal lobes, heart damage, liver damage, pancreatitis, intestinal damage, it can cause infertility, sexual dysfunction, malnutrition, diabetes, increased risk for many types of cancers, thinning bones and stomach issues. That’s just to name a few.

So it’s frankly shocking how long weed has been deemed illegal and infamous with alcohol being sold openly over the counter in bars, restaurants, and stores all over the globe. I also find it surprising that some older people seem to still have a difficult time letting go of the stigma that weed is bad while alcohol is okay. Old propaganda and outdated misinformation have surely proven their effectiveness in garnering mistrust with the medicinal plant.

As a person who was abusing alcohol to the point of feeling drunk at least once or twice a week for the first 10 years of my adult life, I am proud to claim that Marijuana was what helped me to break that cycle of abuse and self-destruction upon my rediscovery of it. My alcohol abuse was getting worse as I was in a terribly toxic relationship and my body was starting to feel the full effects of that. My blood pressure was elevated as a result of both my stressful relationship and alcohol use. My intestines were always irritated and inflamed. I had trouble sleeping at night unless I was drunk or using pills of some sort. Not to mention alcohol comes with a ton of empty calories and I wasn’t looking pretty doughy. My health just didn’t feel good and I was desperately trying to steer myself back onto a better path. I knew that I couldn’t keep using alcohol to cope with my issues and I was struggling to stay sober for more than a week at a time.

Then on a whim one day when I was about 28, I bought some weed off of a coworker at my workplace and made weed edibles at home. That was a whole new level of relaxation for me. My mind was entirely at ease. Everything I watched on TV was funnier or more interesting. Music seemed deeper than it had before. Food had more flavor and I rested more easily.  I gave up alcohol for 1 month straight away after with ease. It wasn’t the first time that I had used weed in my life, I had actually used it frequently back in high school for a while, but it was the first time that I had used it since my early 20’s.

Over time, my blood pressure dropped to normal healthy levels, my digestive issues improved especially with the absence of alcohol and after alcohol was reintroduced to my life I was able to moderate my consumption much better. Weed also never affected any of my ambitions or interfered with my goals. I was exercising more than ever, losing weight and able to save more money. Now, even though I’ll still binge on occasion with alcohol socially, I’m much more likely to just have a drink or two on my own if I’m feeling in the mood and it doesn’t happen every day. I could live without alcohol now, but I’d be pretty unhappy to have to live without weed. Not that I need it, but because I do feel that it improves my life. I’m completely grateful for what marijuana was able to do for my stress levels, health, and even my relationships thanks to weeds ability to greatly increase empathy in people as well.

At the end of the day, if you’re okay with having a drink to relax here and there but you judge others for unwinding with a joint at night, well you’re frankly just ignorant and uneducated.

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Traditional Stoner Food “I saw this donut on the internet and had to recreate it” by thisisfurious is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

I believe we are each able to decide how we lead our lives and that’s the beauty of living in a democratic society where we are largely free to make those decisions for ourselves. Science and time are pushing global communities around the world in progressive directions towards personal freedom and addressing addiction in users with rehabilitation rather than criminal punishment. As a people, we are becoming more enlightened, and although frequent all day marijuana binges are never recommended; the occasional joint isn’t going to hurt you. You’ll probably just laugh a lot, eat too much and fall asleep to cartoons playing on your TV in the background.

Featured Photo by Maria Badasian on Unsplash

3 thoughts on “The Legalization of Marijuana and Pervasive Social Stigmas

  1. I’ve always wondered if those against marijuana use have ever tried using it (though not for everyone, it helps me relax) or have at least informed themselves on it. It has less risk than alcohol use. Also, I’ve read where memory can be affected by frequent marijuana use- have you heard that? I don’t smoke often, but wish I could. It seems to be the best way I’ve ever found to help my anxiety and to help me just RELAX. I honestly feel more like myself when I smoke, and I hate that it was demonized by propaganda after the War on Drugs started. Anyway, I live in ILLINOIS and it will soon be recreationally legal come Jan 1 👏🏼👏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, most of them probably just havent tried, or they have tried it once – had a bad trip and wanted to throw it into the fires of hell. Haha… To be fair most people are changing their attitudes towards it because of legalization though.

      It’s also definitely my go to chill out choice at the end of a long day.

      Congrats on having it legalized down there. Will it be available recreationally too?

      Liked by 1 person

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