Now Is The Time To Legalise Cannabis. Discuss

1364 words - 6 pages

In July of last year the debate on whether cannabis should be legalised was rekindled by the Home Secretary, David Blunkett. He announced the reclassification of cannabis from a class B drug to a class C which is the lowest classification for an illegal drug and puts it on par with anti-depressants and steroids.The chronology of cannabis is thought to go back to 2737 BC where it was referred to as a "superior" herb in the world's first medical text, or pharmacopoeia, Shen Nung's Pen Ts'ao, in China and in c600 BC Zend-Avesta, an Indian scripture, speaks of hemps "intoxicating resin". Others have followed and in 1788 when the New Edinburgh Dispensatory was produced they omitted many exotic ...view middle of the document...

Research groups around the world are testing cannabis based product but the only UK holder of a licence to cultivate and supply it for medical research, GW Pharmaceuticals, has carried out the most advanced large scale trials. The trials on about 350 people showed a significant reduction in spacticity and pain and improvements in sleep in people with multiple sclerosis, and those with other types of nerve damage also reported a reduction in pain. Other research has been carried out including its effectiveness as an anti-emetic, to treat the nausea arising from chemotherapy or the drugs used to control AIDS, and for the treatment of anorexia, epilepsy, glaucoma and bronchial asthma.There is little argument against a change in the law that will allow medical trials on cannabis products, but this alters when it is debated as a recreational drug.Research into recreational use has always been difficult for obvious legal reasons, but it has been argued that there is a link between the use of cannabis and mental illness, in particular, depression and schizophrenia.A team from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Australia followed a group of school children aged 13-14 for seven years. In November 2002 they reported that daily use was associated with a five-fold increased risk of depression at the age of 20, while weekly use was linked to a two-fold increase. They also claimed that if cannabis use in the UK was eliminated the cases of schizophrenia would be reduced by 13 per cent. This study contradicts the UK governments Select Committee on Science and Technology which states, "In some instances cannabis use may lead to a longer-lasting toxic psychosis involving delusions and hallucinations that can be misdiagnosed as schizophrenic illness. This is transient and clears up within a few days on termination of the drug. There is little evidence that cannabis use can precipitate schizophrenia or other mental illness in those not already predisposed to it."Other research has been carried out concerning the addictive qualities of cannabis and the concern that it encourages the use of other illegal drugs, but there is no evidence to support this.Buying cannabis on the black-market opens the buyer up to a world where anything is available. Dealers have no conscience and care little about who buys their "stuff", if you are aged 6 or 60 they just want your money. How many times have you been shopping for one thing and ended up with half a dozen items you didn't know you wanted. Add to this the hard-sell tactics of an unscrupulous salesman and you can understand how easy it could be to move from cannabis to Ecstasy, cocaine or heroin.If you take cannabis out of the hands of the dealers and put it in a chemist or with licensed...

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