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The 101 on Cannabis Activism | Guest Post by CannaLoneSun


@cappuccinothezine


Hey, coffee lovers! I am @cannalonesun and today, I am going to share information that has led me to become a cannabis activist. First things first, let me give you some background.


We each have an endocannabinoid system for our body to absorb cannabinoids. It works just like any other system in our bodies, and we have more receptors for cannabinoids than any other substance. 600 million years ago, sea squirts developed an endocannabinoid system for the adaptogenic effect which helps achieve optimum conditions in your body that are needed for optimal health (homeostasis) by going reversely in the synapsis, interrupting the uptake of neurotransmitters that make you sick. Thanks to sea squirts, all animals have an endocannabinoid system. Thank you evolution! Our human body even produces endocannabinoids naturally, the two main are anandamide and 2-AG. We also find dietary-cannabinoids in black pepper and cloves!


You may have heard of THC and CBD before - these are phytocannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant which came 25 million years ago. However, science discovered THC in 1964, but the endocannabinoid was discovered in the 1990s! Let’s not blame them, because the plant was not used in the western world until the mid-nineteenth century. However, that does not mean indigenous cultures weren't using it. In China, ganja was cultivated as early as 4000 BC, treating menstrual cramps and constipation, Africans used it for many fevers including malaria, and East Indians used it for sleep disorders, headaches, and digestion problems.

 

Scientific research is hugely important because it has given us more detailed information about its ailments. For instance, CBD is often praised for its medicinal benefits, and THC is seen as the psychoactive substance that gets you high. This is not entirely wrong, because CBD receptors are largely in the immune system improving its function, but THC has important benefits too! Many pharmaceutical cannabis products contain a synthetic form of THC, because THC receptors can substitute opiates, which can cause overdoses and deaths, yet weed does not. This is because the THC receptors that are located in the brain are not in critical areas that affect heartbeat and breathing but rather located in areas that affect movement, processing trauma, cognitive function, appetite, memory, stress, peripheral sensations such as pain, and nausea. THC is mainly derived from the plant’s trichomes, which are sticky white hairs on the flower of the bud. This is the plant’s protection mechanism against bugs because it is toxic to them.

‘So, why is weed illegal in so many places?’ I asked myself. The Netherlands, where I am from, is celebrated as the weed country. Yet, the Opium law makes a distinction between users, dealers, and transporters. Its recreational use is condoned by the police, which is not legality. However, according to Article 11a OW or article 140 of criminal law (SR): 


“He who prepares, cultivates, processes, sells, delivers, strengthens, transports or manufacturers or is strongly thought to commit a crime listed in article 11 will be punished to at most 3 years imprisonment or will be charged with a fine from the fifth category (€ 76.000).” 


In the United States (US), the government waged a war against all uses of the plant, placing psychoactive substances in one of five schedules. Schedule 1 substances signify no medical use and there is restricted use even with the supervision of a doctor.

Think about GHB, heroin, and cannabis. Does that sound strange to you? If it does, I highly recommend you watch the Netflix documentary: Grass is Greener. But for now, here is a summary. Essentially, the War on Drugs was against the advice of the American Medical Association because cannabis had been associated with African Americans and Mexicans. Harry Anslinger started the prohibition of ganja with the following speech:

“It is the duty of the Treasury Department to damn the harmful and malignant stream of narcotic drugs, intends to pursue relentless warfare against the despicable dope-peddling vulture who preys on the weakness of his fellow man.” 


The narrative here is that weed was used by Black men to seduce young white teenagers in Jazz clubs. In segregated America, Jazz clubs were one of the few places where whites and Blacks mixed. Many people did not know about the herb's effects, so they were easily influenced by propaganda. Anslinger related weed to murder and even movies were created to further indoctrination. The banning of cannabis significantly halted scientific research. However, Mayor Laguardia of New York City (NYC) commissioned a report which found that there was no proof of weed linking to addiction or crime. However, the federal government ignored this and chose racism. As a result, people of color make up 78% of all marijuana arrests in NYC  alone and without enough scientific evidence for its benefits, students of medicine do not learn about the endocannabinoid system. It is due to misinformation and politicization of weed that colors the taboo of cannabis benefits outside the US and even recurring internationally. 


Much love,


Lone Sun 





About the author:


I am a 20-year-old Dutch student, who lives in Spain and has strong ties to the US. In my life, I have been confronted with a lot of stigmas and the politicization of weed both in the Netherlands and the US. When I came out of the weed closet to my parents, my mother was heartbroken and she accused me of not knowing enough about the effects and how dangerous this drug was. This fueled me to do extensive research on the drug, regarding its pros, cons, and history. The information that I have found and continue to discover really opened a new world for me. As a student of international politics, I am especially interested in the political arena surrounding this drug and particularly in its controversial policies. I questioned where this controversy, stigma, and fear stemmed from and once I found out, I knew the world had to hear. I started CannaLoneSun, as a platform for my activism where I could open the discussion and share my research for the world to see.





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