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The drug has become a new norm in society. It is apparent we may become the generation responsible for tearing down the stigma associated with marijuana. Apart from becoming quite popular amongst young adults, the media portrayal of the drug has created an all-new perception of users. No longer is a heavy negative stigma depicted in movies. A mere twenty years ago any drug use was viewed as barbaric and dealers and users were demonized.

Recent films and television shows such as Pineapple Express and Workaholics often praise marijuana and comical activities associated with its usage. As a result of the great influence of media, the stigma is slowly fading and the image of marijuana has undergone a degree turn.

With public perception continually changing, laws prohibiting marijuana use have evolved as well and have become significantly less stringent. Politics are highly influenced by public perception and thus, a shift in the way respected individuals handle issues associated with marijuana use has occurred.

Currently, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana and 4 states have legalized recreational use of the drug, yet, marijuana use is much higher in states where such laws do not exist Hasin et al. This alludes back to the earlier question posed. Although it is only a small sample size in terms of time, it appears as though having stricter laws and a negative stigma actually promotes increased deviance and drug use.

Despite strict laws that prohibit marijuana, its use continues to grow and become more normalized Levine, Laws are not stopping individuals from using marijuana. Even though they are designed to instill fear and promote the well being of society as a whole, these laws are not doing what they intended to do.

Laws in the United States are far less strict today than in recent years and many believe this has lead to the increase in marijuana use by the public. The possibility exists that new laws are not what is leading to the rise in marijuana use.

Instead, it may be that the attitudes of society have changed immensely and become more supportive of marijuana legalization Ghose, Because of changing attitudes, political campaigns have shifted focus elsewhere.

The growing popularity and acceptance of marijuana can no longer be overlooked.


Campaigns are far less focused on preventing cannabis use and instead some are even promoting its use both recreationally and medicinally. It is important to note that eliminating the stigma is complex just as with every issue in society. The opposition primarily focuses on the adverse health effects of cannabis on children and adults.

While those in favor of marijuana promote the potential benefits it can have in the field of medicine as well as that the risks far outweigh the negatives. Scientific research on marijuana is now more popular than ever before and extensive results have come about to help support the push for decriminalization of the drug.

However, some of the science remains inconclusive. Both sides tend to focus on the positive extremes or negative extremes when in reality, the truth about marijuana is somewhere in between Nelson, With majority of public support leaning towards its legalization, the opposition continues to lose ground.

A time will have to come in which the two sides will be forced to compromise on the issue. Lack of a consensus has further heated debates between the two sides and both continue to focus on the extremes. Currently, the supporting side is attempting to lessen the stigma and decriminalize the drug. Perhaps the most common topic approached when showcasing support for legalization is how difficult it is to overdose on marijuana.

The point to be taken is that a federally approved and popular prescription medication has been a leading contributor in significantly more deaths than marijuana. Though negative health effects exist, it is not a drug that kills individuals directly. Typically, comorbidities are present that are exaggerated by drug usage.

On the other hand, the opposition continues to take advantage of the previous stigma associated with marijuana to help aid their campaigns Levine, Because of reversion to the previous notion on marijuana, it remains difficult to fully eliminate the stigma associated with it. This is quite a brash and bold claim, however, it has gained acceptance.

Yet, as the majority of the public continues to change its perception about the drug, more people are realizing that this likely would not be the case.

Backing of more scientific research will eventually put an end to such claims but until then, the stigma will persist. The legalization of marijuana is inevitable. Reasons for my opinion are both social and medicinal. It is evident that society is evolving and attitudes are changing. Though these changes are slowly occurring, they are necessary. Furthermore many potential benefits exist in terms of its therapeutic uses.

Currently, opioids are one of the more heavily abused prescription drugs available. Marijuana is a potential alternative for use as a pain medication instead of many of the addictive opioid substances commonly used today Carter, Scientific advancements continue to advocate for the legalization of marijuana. Today, we are able to safely derive the effectiveness of cannabis in medicine Borgelt et al. Risk factors still exist but much of the knowledge we have will help alleviate health problems plaguing millions of individuals.

Often times, the drug is compared to tobacco and alcohol. These are two of the more widely used legal substances in society for which science has shown a more extensive amount of adverse health effects. Yet, despite this, both tobacco and alcohol are far less stigmatized. It is becoming difficult to numerous therapeutic benefits marijuana and that it is far less harmful than substances not prohibited to the public. In spite of a long history of being stigmatized, marijuana has made progress in altering its image.

No longer does it carry the stigma of being a demonized and deviant substance. Racial tensions and political agendas were the primary driving forces behind the construction of the stigma on marijuana. The evolution of public attitudes towards social issues is evolving and we have become more accepting in allowing change to occur.

Scientific research is aiding the push towards a less intense stigma on marijuana. Research continues to be carried out and soon society will realize the heaping benefits stemming from such a powerful, naturally occurring plant. Further down the road, decriminalization of marijuana will no longer be necessary for debate. Instead, focus will shift into further advancing medicine and how we can more often use the plant to promote the well being of society as a whole.

High Times – February 2019

Note: Eukaryon is published by students at Lake Forest College, who are solely responsible for its content. The views expressed in Eukaryon do not necessarily reflect those of the College. Articles published within Eukaryon should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author. References Armijos, C.

Traditional medicine applied by the Saraguro yachakkuna: a preliminary approach to the use of sacred and psychoactive plant species in the southern region of Ecuador.

Ethnobotany Bennett, W. What happened to the marijuana stigma? Los Angeles Times 12 June. Live Science 17 October. The pharmacological and clinical effects of medical cannabis. Pharmacotherapy 33 2 Bottorff, J.

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Perceptions of cannabis as a stigmatized medicine: a qualitative descriptive study. Harm Reduction Journal Carter, G. Re-branding cannabis: the next generation of chronic pain medicine? Pain Management 5 1 : Denning, B.

Vertical federalism, horizontal federalism, and legal obstacles to state marijuana legalization efforts. Volume Ghose, T. US marijuana use has more than doubled in a decade. Live Science 21 October.

What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use? Addiction Hasin, D.

Prevalence of marijuana use disorders in the United States between and JAMA Psychiatry 72 12 : Levine, H. Global drug prohibition: its uses and crises. International Journal of Drug Policy Levitan, D. Fiorina shortchanges marijuana research. Fact Check 2 July. Cannabis Conundrum: Evidence of Harm? Cancer Cytopathology Palamar, J. A pilot study examining perceived rejection and secrecy in relation to illicit drug use and associated stigma.


Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs Potter, G. The globalization of cannabis cultivation, Pages in World wide weed: Global trends in cannabis cultivation and its control.We got Dark Side of the Moon. GW Pharmaceuticals. Of online with little interference from the fed.

To this day. The Marijuana Processing Association.

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