The Facts On Wacky Tabbacky Essay, Research Paper
Indigenous to Asia, the hemp plant, source of marijuana, has been a multi-purpose herb for centuries. Its narcotic use is generally believed to have originated in the Far Eastern portion of the world, with its earliest recorded use in China, more than 5000 years ago. It never really attained widespread use however, probably because the Chinese had more powerful psychoactive substances at their disposal. Marijuana’s first use as a drug is generally attributed to Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor and pharmacist. He advocated the use of the plant as a sedative and an all-purpose medication.  
Documentation of its first use by large numbers of people, for its mind-altering effects rather than for medicinal purposes, is in the historical records of the Indian subcontinent. Cannabis was considered a holy plant in about 2000 B.C., and was cultivated by the priests in temple gardens. They harvested the leaves, stems and flowering tops, and brewed them into a highly potent liquid called “bhang.” Recreational use soon began, among the general population, despite the strict guarding of the secretive bhang formula by the priests. It then spread to the Middle East, with religion playing a prominent role in its introduction. 
From the ninth through the twelfth centuries, cannabis was introduced into North Africa during the Arab invasions of those lands. It went from Egypt, in the east, to Tunisia, then Algeria, then Morocco. Being extolled by the poets of the time, its use caught on quickly there as well. Marijuana’s reaching England has been attributed to a physician serving in the Bengal Medical Service of Britain’s East India Company, Sir William O’Shaughnessy Brooke. Again, its use was predominantly medicinal, and once other, more specific medications such as barbiturates, aspirin and anesthetic agents came along, its popularity soon waned. 
In America, hemp was grown as a major cash crop as early as 1720. Oil from the seeds was used in the manufacture of soap, paints, and similar products. The stem fibers were used for multiple manufacturing purposes, including the production of cloth and ropes. George Washington was among the earliest colonial planters who grew a major hemp crop, however there is documentation
that hemp was cultivated for fiber in 1611, in Jamestown, Virginia, and 1632 in Massachusetts. By the mid-1800’s, the hemp industry had reached its apex in America. By 1890, hemp grew wild everywhere in the United States: along roadsides and in meadows and abandoned fields. For the most part, it was ignored.   
 Keep Off The Grass  Focus on Marijuana
 The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs  The Marijuana Conviction
Medicinally, cannabis was used much as it had been in England. Usually, an imported olive-brown paste called Tilden’s Extract of Cannabis Sativa Indica, was prescribed. Otherwise, records of early cannabis use indicate its limitation to Fitz Hugh Ludlow, a bright, young scholar and writer. Many times, he took ten times the usual dose of one to six grams, and went into hallucinatory daydreams. Afterward, he would write of his experiences:
“Ha! what means this sudden thrill? A shock, as of some unimagined vital force, shoots without warning throughout my entire frame, leaping to my fingers’ ends, piercing my brain, startling me till I almost spring from my chair. I could not doubt it. I was in the power of the hasheesh influence. My first emotion was one of uncontrollable terror – a sense of getting something which I had not bargained for. That moment I would have given all I had or hoped to have to be as I was three hours before. No pain anywhere not a twinge in any fibre – yet a cloud of unmutterable strangeness was settling upon me, and wrapping me impenetrably in from all that was natural or familiar. Endeared faces, well known to me of old, surrounded me, yet they were not with me in my loneliness. I had entered upon a tremendous life which they could not share.”   
Then, in about 1910, marijuana began to be imported into the United States from Mexico and the Caribbean. It was widely used, in cigarette form, among poor black and Mexican workers and Latin stevedores, predominately in Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana. Next, it found its way into the world of the New Orleans jazz musicians, and became associated with the mystique of the rhythms
of this newly-emerging music form. Before long, it’s use spread up the Mississippi River and into the large northern cities, into a larger segment of the population.   
Hemp is a moraceous plant; that is belonging to the Moraceae family of plants, which also includes the mulberry, breadfruit, fig, hop, Osage orange and others. The usual lay-terminology for the plant used to obtain marijuana and hashish and other drug products is “Indian hemp.” This is not to be confused with the Indian hemp originating in North America, which is a dogbane, Apocynum cannabinum. The later however, is a distant relative of the first, evidenced by its Latin name. 
Marijuana’s scientific name is L. cannabis sativa, with the initial psychotropic strain having originated in India, thus its being referred to as cannabis indica. Cannabis means “hemp,” in Latin, and denotes the hemp family of plants’ genus. Sativa denotes the species and the nature of the plant’s growth. It means “planted,” or “sown.” The other adjectives which are added into the Latin name(s) denote the variety according to geographic location; thus, cannabis sativa indica is the specific strain which grows in, or originated in India. The origination of the label cannabis sativa is attributed to Linneaus, in 1753, and the English word canvas comes directly from the Latin, cannabis.  
Cannabis plants grow wild in one form or another, in most countries of the world, including the United States. Today, the most significant producers of marijuana crops are Mexico, Egypt, Columbia, Bolivia, Peru and Morocco, but production in the United States has been escalating in recent years. There is also a high-grade variety called “Thai stick,” which is grown in Thailand.
Mountainous regions within dry, equatorial climates are the prime locals for the growth of cannabis for marijuana purposes.
 Keep Off The Grass  The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs; Marijuana: Its Effects On Mind And Body  Reefer Madness  The Marijuana Conviction
 Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language
Various forms of the drug are known by many different names throughout the world, such as “kif” in Morocco, “dagga” in South Africa, and “ganja” in India. Hashish, or “hash,” refers to the dried, resinous substance which exudes from the flowering tops of the plant and is much higher in THC
content* than ordinary marijuana, which is taken from the lower, less potent leaves of the plant. In our Western culture, the various cannabis preparations have acquired many different nicknames, including “grass, pot, tea, reefer, weed, bush, smoke” and “Mary Jane” or “Mary Warner.”
Over the centuries, marijuana has been smoked, eaten in cakes and drunk in beverages, but in Western culture, it is most often a tobacco-like mixture which is either smoked in a pipe or rolled into cigarettes: “joints, bones,” and in earlier times, “reefers”.
Marijuana is grouped in with the government legislation-controlled drugs known as narcotics. Generally, these drugs dull the mind’s perception of pain, and in medicine, the authorized ones are used as painkillers, or analgesics. Being such greatly explains their potential for abuse, especially among the disenfranchised and those with deep-seated emotional pain, or even those with
psychosomatic ills stemming from emotional problems. The more dangerous ones produce a strong high and are intensely dependency-producing. 
Today, the sale of marijuana in the United States is an $8.5 billion per year industry. The cultivation, distribution and sale totals about $6.3 billion yearly. 
The chief psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Psychoactive drugs are those which influence or alter the workings of the mind. They affect moods, emotions, feelings and thinking processes. This major psychoactive component was not identified until the mid-1960s. Other cannabinoids have also been isolated, and at present their biochemical
possibilities are being carefully studied. 
As of 1985, over 400 different chemicals in 18 different classes have been identified in the marijuana plant. When it is smoked, some of its chemicals are further changed into different compounds. One hundred and fifty compounds have been identified in marijuana smoke, including benzopyrene. Benzopyrene is 70% more abundant in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke. It is known to
cause cancer. Marijuana also contains 50% more tar than tobacco. User critics point out that most of the tar and impurities are removed when it is smoked through a water pipe. This is a device which filters the smoke through a volume of water, enabling the user to take larger amounts into the lungs, due to the cooling effect of the water on the smoke. 
The use of marijuana and other sedatives or hypnotic drugs may result in a state of physiological and psychological craving. Discontinuance creates withdrawal states of varying degrees within some users. In all fairness, it should be noted that the figures for dependence and withdrawal symptoms
ameliorate when comparing marijuana use against the withdrawal and dependence statistics on any of the much more dangerous drugs with which it is legally grouped; i.e. heroin and LSD. It should also be noted that alcohol is at least as habit forming as marijuana, and is legal; and that the Surgeon General of the United States in recent years stated that nicotine, also legal in the United States within age restrictions, was akin in habit-forming potential to heroin.
* The THC content in a given amount of marijuana directly determines its drug potency.
 Academic American Encyclopedia
 The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs; Marijuana: Its Effects On Mind And Body
Some of the physical signs and symptoms of marijuana use are: increased heart rate, reddening of the eyes, and mouth and throat dryness. It temporarily impairs short-term memory, alters sense of time, and therefore reduces the ability of its user to perform tasks requiring concentration, swift reactions,
How users think it makes them feel is an entirely different story. Many feel that their hearing, vision and skin sensitivity are enhanced by marijuana, but to date there have been no conclusive studies to ascertain, nor negate these claims. In addition, euphoria, relaxation, altered sense of body image, and bouts of exaggerated laughter are common. A loss of balance can accompany the marijuana “high.” Difficulty in completing thought processes is common – particularly with larger doses of the drug. 
Of course, the larger the dose, the greater the chance of more adverse symptoms. Because marijuana causes both a sedative and a hallucinogenic effect, loss of insight, delusions and paranoia can result from its use.
Marijuana and THC are sometimes used, medicinally, to treat glaucoma. They help to reduce pressure within the eye. Synthetic THC, dronabinol, was also approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1985 for treating nausea and vomiting – a problem side-effect which accompanies cancer chemotherapy. It is believed that the dronabinol binds with opium receptors within the medulla of the brain. Cannabis was listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1870 through 1941, as a medication. Over one hundred articles were published in medical journals between 1840 and 1900, recommending cannabis use.   
Hemp (cannabis sativa) fibers were once used extensively for ropes, hammocks, and cables. They resist water better than any other natural vegetable fiber. Today, hemp fiber has been largely replaced by synthetic fibers (still another way for the petrochemical industries to profit). As a control measure within the US, legislation prohibits the possession of the hemp plant or any of its products, except for hemp seed and hemp oil. Close relatives of the cannabis sativa or Indian hemp (marijuana) strain are abaca, or Manila hemp, which is used for making cordage, hats, hammocks, and curtain fabrics. Other relatives, Sisal, used in the manufacture of cordage, summer rugs and brushes, and Sunn, which is made into stout twine, rope, rug yarns, coarse cloth, and paper are beneficial to mankind.  
The underlying reason that people decide to use marijuana is always the same: because they want to feel different. Milder than some drugs or not, it is a drug: it changes the way that the user thinks, feels and behaves. Marijuana changes the way that the brain functions – and that is always dangerous. 
 The World Almanac and Book of Facts: 1992
 Academic American Encyclopedia  The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive
Drugs: Marijuana  The Marijuana Conviction
 The Emperor Wears No Clothes  Focus On Marijuana
“I like the way it made me feel older.” “It made me feel like I had a lot of friends.” “If you have a lot of problems, you forget them.” “It was fun. I laughed a lot.” These statements were made by junior high and high school students, ranging in age from 12 to 14. Believing these statements is an example of how children are sometimes setting themselves up for further, continuing drug abuse. They might also be setting themselves up for a dim future of problems with the law and society in general. Drugs like marijuana have found their way into even the elementary schools, these days. 
“Traditionally, the term drug abuse referred to the use of any drug prohibited by law, regardless of whether it was actually harmful or not. This meant that the use of marijuana, for example, even if it occurred only once in a while, would constitute abuse, while the same level of alcohol would not. In 1973, the National Commission of Marijuana and Drug Abuse declared that this definition was illogical. “The term abuse, the commission stated, ‘has no functional utility and has become no more than an arbitrary code word for that drug which is presently considered wrong.’ As a result, this definition fell into disuse.” 
Marijuana is by far the most commonly used illegal drug. About half of all instances of illegal drug use are with marijuana alone. Government-sponsored studies indicate a decline in its use throughout the 80’s, however. For example, in 1985 roughly 75% of all Americans under the age of 26 had at least
tried marijuana, but that proportion had shrunk to 56 percent by 1988.
Most people who have tried drugs have done so on an experimental basis. They take the drug from one to a dozen times and then stop. Marijuana is the one illegal drug that users are most likely to continue using. Typically, the regular marijuana smoker is a once-in-a-while user. Nevertheless, a sizable minority does use the drug frequently. 
On December 18, 1990, the National Institute on Drug Abuse released its survey, showing drug abuse to be declining within the United States. President George Bush called this finding “very encouraging news.” The survey had found that the number of people using marijuana once a month or more often declined by 12 percent, to about 10.2 million. 
In a study conducted by the University of Michigan, the percentage of students who had ever used marijuana or hashish, between the years of 1975 and 1990, ranged from a low of 40.7% by the Class of 1990, to a high of 60.3% by the Class of 1980. The study uses a sample of roughly 17,000 seniors from 135 public and private schools across America. 
The most commonly reported negative reaction to marijuana use is the “acute panic anxiety reaction.” This is an exaggeration of normal marijuana effects in which intense fears of losing control couple with severe anxiety. The symptoms disappear after a few hours when the acute drug effects have worn
 Focus On Marijuana  Academic American Encyclopedia
 World Almanac and Book of Facts: 1992
Because it can increase heart rate by as much as 50%, marijuana can prove to be very dangerous for anyone with heart ailments. Smoked in excess, it could potentially bring on a heart attack in such individuals. Also, laboratory studies performed in 1973 indicated that three out of every four smokers studied had some lymphocytes with a lower rate of cell division than typical non-users would have. Lymphocytes of marijuana smokers which were cultured for three days showed abnormally high numbers of chromosome breaks. Chromosomes carry the hereditary characteristics of our cells; they are strands of DNA. When strands are broken, one of three things can occur: the cell can repair
itself; the cell can die; or the cell can continue on with the abnormality, which it transmits to other cells. Moreover, it was found that when normal lymphocytes of healthy volunteers who did not smoke marijuana were exposed to very small amounts of THC (a few millionths of a gram), they didn’t divide normally and their growth was markedly decreased. 
THC is attracted to fat cells within the body. It ends up in the brain, liver, lungs, kidneys and glands, and it remains there for up to a month from the smoking of just one joint. And, as delineated in the above paragraph, cells don’t like pot. Even in small quantities, marijuana prevents the proper
formation of DNA, RNA, and proteins – which are the building blocks of cells. Other studies indicate, however, no chromosomal damage, even when THC was added to the lymphocytes in vitro.  
Marijuana harbors more carcinogens than tobacco smoke, and also presents a greater potential for lung disease than tobacco – per cigarette/ “joint” – because it is smoked unfiltered, is inhaled more deeply, and is usually held in the lungs longer. It should be noted, however, that in general marijuana
would not be smoked as frequently or in the same quantity as cigarettes normally would be, among habitual users of either.
Marijuana crosses the placental barrier, and may have a toxic effect on embryos and fetuses. It should therefore be avoided by pregnant women. Following radiolabeled cannabinoid administration, the placenta contained more than anywhere else in the subject’s body. 
It should be noted that during my course of research, I could not find reference to one single documented instance of death related solely to marijuana use. Conversely, almost three times as many people die each year from alcohol-related diseases than lost their lives in the entire Vietnam War. This figure represents over 150,000 per year. In addition, alcohol is involved in 50% of all highway deaths and 65% of all murders.
However, it is believed that heavy marijuana use can lead to amotivational syndrome. The user loses interest in almost everything except using more and more pot. Some studies have found that over one-third of all accident victims have been found to have marijuana in their blood, while others have indicated that “marijuana users have the same or lower incidence of murders and highway deaths and accidents than the general non-marijuana using population as a whole.”  
 Keep Off The Grass  Marijuana: Time For A Closer Look  Marijuana,
Tobacco, Alcohol and Reproduction  Focus On Marijuana
 The Emperor Wears No Clothes
Tolerance – the need to take more and more over a period of time in order to achieve the original effect – has been demonstrated in both humans and animals. Physical dependence has been demonstrated in subjects who ingested an amount of marijuana equaling 10-20 joints per day. When discontinued, subjects experienced various withdrawal symptoms – loss of appetite, weight
loss, sleep disturbances, irritability, sweating and stomach upset.
Users often take extraordinary measures, sometimes harmful, to continue using drugs. However this has not been unarguably proven in the case of occasional marijuana use. With other drugs, users will often drop out of school, steal, leave their families, go to jail, and lose their jobs in order to keep using their drug. If forced to quit using, they will undergo painful physical or mental distress. Again, in the case of marijuana, this has not been adequately proven. Thus, the argument has developed from the occasional, recreational user, that it is unjust to have drugs as harmful as alcohol and tobacco have been proven to be, legal to purchase for adult Americans, while at the same time continuing to keep marijuana illegal, by keeping it grouped within the same classification as the much more dangerous narcotics.
MARIJUANA AND THE LAW:
The use of marijuana in the United States initially became a matter of public concern in the 1930’s. Regulatory laws were passed and criminal penalties were instituted for possession or sale of the botanical drug in 1937.
By far, one of the strongest advocates for marijuana criminalization was Harry Anslinger. He wrote many extremist anti-marijuana articles and had many gory photos of ax murder victims and the like, published for all America to see that these were the things which marijuana caused people to do under its influence.
As Secretary of the Federal Narcotics Control Board’s Prohibition Unit, Anslinger had looked somewhat into the cannabis problem. He became the first Commissioner of the Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, an appointment which some commentators feel was made through connections to his uncle-in-law, Andrew Mellon, the Secretary of Treasury and Anslinger’s immediate superior. 
Anslinger passed the original hempball, but newspapers all over the country began damning marijuana, as well. William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers played a large role, perhaps the most vital, in disseminating much of this adverse propaganda. They finally succeeded, in 1937, in getting marijuana prohibition laws passed. 
However, American soldiers were regularly smoking marijuana in the Panama Canal Zone in 1925, and a report issued at that time by the Army stated that no action should be taken to prevent its use or sale. It went on to state that the drug was not habit-forming or dangerous. These findings were reaffirmed eight years later, in a second United States Army report. 
Throughout the 1980’s, marijuana use declined among college and high school students. Conversely, marijuana cultivation has been on the rise in America in recent years. New growing practices have increased the potency by five fold or more. It’s a matter of concern among drug abuse experts as to how these higher doses of THC might adversely affect users.
 Reefer Madness  The Encyclopedia Of Psychoactive Drugs: Marijuana
In the sample year of 1990, out of all drug arrests within the United States, 6.1% of those arrests involved the sale of marijuana, and 23.9% involved its possession. Here, in the Northeast, a total of 4.7% of all drug arrests were for the sale of marijuana, and 21.4% were for the possession of it. This represents the lowest figure in the nation for distribution, and only the West ranked lower in arrests for possession. 
In 1968, the possession of THC, other than for research, was made illegal. Then, in 1970, the US Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, after which most states followed suit with their own variation of the Act’s contents. The Control Substances Act, as it is also known, distinguishes between different classifications of drugs. Mostly, these categories are based upon the drugs’ potential for abuse and their potential for medical use. Drugs which have a supposedly high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use are grouped together as Schedule 1 drugs. Said drugs may be used legally only in a federally-approved scientific research experiment. Drugs grouped into this category currently include marijuana, heroin, and LSD and the other hallucinogens. These drugs are tightly controlled by state laws, and the sale of them can result in a maximum prison sentence of up to 15 years and a $25,000 fine.  
At this same time, in 1970, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (or, NORML) was founded, with the express purpose of lobbying for the decriminalization of marijuana, the destruction of criminal records of marijuana law offenders, the recognition of the medical uses of marijuana, and for research on the effects of marijuana on persons of childbearing age. It should be noted that NORML is against the irresponsible use of marijuana or any other drug. 
Ironically, in 1972, President Nixon’s National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommended the decriminalization of marijuana in its report, entitled: “Marijuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding.” 
In spite of law enforcement efforts, the demand for illegal drugs remains high. As an example, the number of arrests on marijuana charges alone for the period between 1970 and 1977, in the United States, more than doubled, from 188,000 to 457,000. Critics argue that we shouldn’t be cluttering up our jails and prisons, nor using the exorbitant amount of taxpayer money necessary to support those incarcerated, for such a trivial abuse. For this same period, arrest did not appear to deter marijuana use, because the number of people who had tried marijuana also doubled for most age categories.
President Reagan’s Commission on Organized Crime recommended, in 1986, that all US companies begin routine testing of their employees for drug use. Liberal critics are up in arms about this, mostly because it violates the 4th Amendment (unreasonable search), but secondly because the tests are not
completely accurate or reliable. Critics also assert that drugs can stay in the body for literally weeks, and that it is an invasion of privacy also, to judge what types of behavior an employee can or cannot engage in during their free time.
 World Almanac and Book of Facts: 1992  Academic American Encyclopedia
 The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs: Marijuana
Aside from some of the situations already cited herein, the arguments for marijuana’s re-legalization seem founded moreso on the theme that the government had no justifiable purpose to illegalize it to begin with. Much evidence points to the fact that marijuana possession was made a criminal offense for the appeasement and profit of a few, select private interest groups – most notably the petrochemical and paper industries.
As far as the taxpayers go, we’ve lost out. About 85% of marijuana arrests are for possession – usually for less than one ounce. Oregon was the first state to repeal the marijuana use prohibition laws, in 1973. California followed suit, in 1976. In Oregon, there was a 4% jump in marijuana use between 1974 and 1977, but this was no different than in other states, where the law had remained the same. California had estimated that it spent between $35 and $100 million per year enforcing the marijuana laws. Criminal custody, booking, and pretrial jailing were eliminated when possession of one ounce or less was reduced to a citable misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $100. A
savings of 74% resulted from these changes. Even in states where the marijuana laws remain the same, enforcement has become more relaxed. No significant change in the amount of users has taken place due to this relaxation of the laws. 
The main argument for legalization is that prohibiting its use has not proven effective. Legalization would eliminate the black-market flow, and the cost of law enforcement against it. Government regulation would generate a tax revenue, and permit better control over the safety and quality of the product.
“The major disadvantage of legalizing marijuana is that its use would undoubtedly increase and with that, the possible harm to health, development, behavior, and public safety would also increase. This liability must be weighed against the problems of continuing to prohibit the supply. One should
remember, however, that reductions for penalties in the use of marijuana have not caused more people to believe that the drug is safe.” 
If I had children, I wouldn’t want them smoking marijuana. But, neither would I want them drinking alcoholic beverages, nor smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products. Once an adult, the choice should be up to the individual, I feel. My feelings are based predominantly on the fact that
alcohol and tobacco are both as lethal as they are legal. There is an inconsistency in the law, and that’s what I don’t like about it. I feel that too many of our tax dollars are going to this so-called “war on drugs,” and that the police and the courts have more pressing issues to deal with and straighten out than who’s smoking marijuana. I feel that most of the anti-marijuana propaganda is all just so much hype, just a smokescreen to divert the average person’s attention away from the real problems facing
American society today. And, I believe also that it is a ploy, more than anything, to benefit a select few private interests which are profiting from keeping it illegal. I see no overly-convincing evidence of harm to society from an individual’s personal use of marijuana.
In the final analysis, in debating the base issue of whether or not marijuana should be re-legalized, I am reminded of a line in the book “In Touch,” by John Steinbeck IV: “The image arises of a mother getting so excited while warning her son against the evils of marijuana – the oldest of relaxants –
that she has to take a tranquilizer to calm down.” Each to their own medicine, I say. Virtually every substance is poisonous to the human body – even water – if taken in excess.
Perhaps marijuana should be re-legalized for use among adults. Should they decide to partake of it, recreationally, it could be regulated. Under the same measures of control which are reasonably expected of alcohol use – i.e. no sales to minors, no driving under its influence – I can’t see where it would become any more of a problem than substances which are readily available in the marketplace. I feel that there is a distinct possibility that its legalization may even curtail the use of alcohol and tobacco among some Americans. And that, I feel, would be worth a change in the current legislation.
Like so many other issues in today’s America, the choice is personal. It should be a matter of personal preference, provided it does not interfere with the rights of others. It should never have been made a matter of government control, of law. Only the future will reveal what is to become of this issue.
 The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs: Marijuana
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