News By/Courtesy: Ritwik Guha Mustafi | 04 Apr 2020 11:47am IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Some reforms have been made for easing the restrictions on cannabis use
  • Much debate has taken place over the pros and cons of marijuana
  • Various experts have advised to focus on alternatives and consider all the risks

'Addiction is a disesase that makes you care less about the havoc you have created' Cannabis reform at the international level refers to efforts to ease restrictions on cannabis use under international treaties. Presently, the drug is in Schedule IV, the most restrictive category, of the Single Convention of Narcotics Drugs, 1961 [1]. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs makes a distinction between recreational, medical and scientific uses of drugs; nations are allowed to permit medical use of drugs, but recreational use is prohibited [2].

Recently legalised in  Washington and Colorado, marijuana has medical and recreational uses but can also be damaging to our bodies and minds.The high you get from marijuana comes from a chemical called Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. The active ingredient in marijuana acts in the part of the brain called the hippocampus to alter the way information is processed and how memories are formed. This blockage of memory formation can cause cognitive impairment in adulthood. THC messes with brain areas called the cerebellum and basal ganglia, which regulate balance, posture, coordination, and reaction time [3].

The arguments for legalizing cannabis/marijuana are based on the fact that even if marijuana turns out to be harmful, the person who chooses to do it will face the brunt. These arguments often implore upon the fact that cannabis has health benefits and that it is less intoxicating than alchohol and tobacco. In addition, legalization of marijuana will take the business away from the criminal gangs.

The arguments against legalizing marijuana focus on the fact that its immediate effects include impairments in memory and in mental processes, including ones that are critical for driving. Long-term use of cannabis may lead to the development of addiction of the substance, persistent cognitive deficits, and of mental health problems like schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. Also, a second myth is that if cannabis is legalised and regulated, its harms can be minimised. With legalisation comes commercialisation. Legalizing cannabis won’t stop the drug gangs, they’ll just see profits boosted as it leads to more users and more addicts. Commercial entities also understand that targeting the young assures them lifelong customers [4].

Before legalizing marijuana, all the nations, especially those who are a part of Single Convention of Narcotic Drugs 1961, have to go thorugh a long process of bureaucratic and political barriers. Also, all the risks and alternatives are to be considered. Commercialisation of marijuana may be forbidden. Adequate protections are to be provided for the target group i.e. the young people, and treatment is to be provided for the marijuana addicts.

References:-

1.) Russ Belville, Thirteen states have Marijuana per se DUID statutes, THE NORML STASH BLOG (April 4, 2020, 12:21 P.M.), https://web.archive.org/web/20120311200810/http://stash.norml.org/thirteen-states-have-marijuana-per-se-duid-statutes

2.) Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, Art. 4

3.) Jennifer Welsh et al. , The positives and negatives: How marijuana affects your brain and body, THE JOURNAL (April 4, 2020, 12:26 P.M.), https://www.thejournal.ie/marijauan-health-effects-legalised-medical-negative-positve-1256236-Jan2014/

4.) Deepak Cyril D'Souza & Jatinder Singh, The risks of legalising cannabis, THE HINDU (April 4, 2020, 12:29 P.M.), https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-risks-of-legalising-cannabis/article29216035.ece

 

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 04 Apr 2020 17:12pm IST


Tags : Marijuana, reforms, debate, alternatives, risks

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