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Cannabis is not about Drugs

by : Bud Hayes
Wednesday April 5, 2006 - 12:52

Today is the day, as promised when we will take the time out to have a little look at the benefits that cannabis could bring to a society willing to embrace its possibilities.

But first, and perhaps most importantly, it may be necessary to address one or two of the issues raised by previous posts under this banner.

Many, many are supportive but others raise issues and debating points that we will not duck.

We are not sure at which point the Cannabis Man’s views have ever expressed a universal belief in the efficacy of the plant. Indeed one of the things that, perhaps, separates him from many other advocates (websites and individuals) is a firm belief that cannabis brings both good and bad to the table. The problem is that prohibition has prevented either the good or bad scenario being explored in any sort of honest or serious fashion.

Maybe we should take a moment to look at the current debate which seems centred on mental health. There have, indeed, been recent scare stories linking consumption of the plant with aspects of impaired mental health.

However, these are not in any way conclusive and many researchers and therapists have countered with the fact that it may be the very efficacy of cannabis that leads people with existing mental health problems to seek it out as an answer. This leaves the ‘cause and effect’ argument seriously under-represented. Although, as an aside it might be interesting to consider the Schizophrenia argument.... Suddenly we are told that cannabis leads to psychosis. So why when cannabis use is universally acknowledged to be increasing has the occurrence of psychosis or schizophrenia remained the same? As the Americans might say - ‘You do the math’. These are the kinds of issues that the Cannabis Man is seeking to confront.

He has spent thirteen years of his life split between three things: his family, his work (seven days a week) and his plants. He has dedicated his time and effort not to selling drugs (he has never - I repeat NEVER sold so much as a leaf to anyone), but to researching it in various aspects from pain relief, injury recovery, relaxation and diet to cross-breeding, winemaking and tea drinking.

He has explored (using himself as a guinea pig) as many aspects of the plant and its uses as time would allow and his conclusions are not - as so many seem to believe - 100% positive. As in all other aspects of life he has established through personal experience that cannabis is like everything else on this planet - it’s fine as long as it isn’t abused. In fact, he would suggest that it goes way beyond ‘fine’ as long as care is taken with use.

So please remember - the Cannabis Man is NOT promoting drug abuse. (More on this later).

But, back to the plot... We ask you to think for one moment about the effects of prohibition. Basically it means handing the means of production and distribution to criminals. This is a pretty dumb thing for any society to do but when you use the same rules to criminalise individuals simply because of their life choices then you’re in Alice in Wonderland territory.

Sadly politicians are cowards. They cower before the self-righteous who proclaim themselves from the sidelines with ill-informed (or often totally uninformed) opinions based not on knowledge but prejudice. The concept of cannabis as a ‘dirty drug’ is widespread simply because of such ignorance. You might also realise that politicians are fickle creatures... The worldwide restrictions on substances coming from a nation that originally passed laws forcing farmers to set aside a portion of their land for cannabis cultivation whether they wanted to or not. That’s how evil we used to think it was...

Closer to home we might consider how well we would have done at the battle of Trafalgar had we not had access to the hemp that was the crucial ingredient in every rope and piece of rigging used... or how might the world look now if Henry Ford’s hemp car had made it into production as intended with hemp panels and hemp fuel. Perhaps we wouldn’t be charging around the world scrabbling about for more oil to destroy the very planet we’re trying to live on.

So what could a government do?

Apart from ‘where do we start’ they could consider retaking the streets by making dealers redundant. Think for a moment about the possibilities afforded by that one action. Instead of a black economy based on crime you would have a white economy based on taxes... The sheer cost of drug related crime in Britain alone should be enough to make such a course the natural choice of any political party.

Forget the nay-sayers and do something for the country. Look back over a century or so of drug policy and tell me that things are better now. The fact that they’re not would surely indicate that the time has come for change. If, rather than producing a headache cure, banging your head against a wall was only making it worse you would probably stop. So what on earth is going on in drug policy?

And what of the health benefits? That’s an interesting one: There are many published research papers you can find online that will tell you of the efficacy of cannabis (and a few that take an opposing view) but how can any of these be truly comprehensive when they are forced to deal with a substance that, by the very nature of prohibition, is not itself fully understood?

Please remember that we’re talking about a plant here, not a drug. As a plant it has one or two curiosities that really should be explored. As a basic example we might want to know why it seems that all living creatures have receptors for cannabis. This doesn’t look like a mistake... We might want to explore the links to the production of brain cells (look, it’s the anti alcohol!!!) or maybe we might even want to explore why it makes people feel better and we might try and form a serious argument as to why that’s perceived as such a bad thing!

Stop setting aside great swathes of farmland in order to fall in line with EU farming policy and grow the damned stuff. Turn it into clothes, rope, medicine, fuel, cars... whatever, but stop being so mealy mouthed and pathetic about it. Animals fed on this stuff are known to be better adjusted, happier and more productive.

We all want to know exactly what a substance like cannabis might do in detrimental terms but until we face up to the basic facts and allow proper research by those who know then we may be turning our noses up at the cure for cancer for all we know.

If there is one thing that appears certain in this debate it is that we will reach a stage in our development when we will look back at the ludicrous treatment of this pant and weep at our own crass stupidity.

The Cannabis Man is about to stand up and try to bring this day closer... and, no, it’s not about drug abuse.

http://www.cambo.org.uk



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