For years, citizens have had this negative connotation of marijuana as the first step to a destructive life. This all started with the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, which is a list of the most dangerous drugs, along with heroin. Despite this, studies have suggested that marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin or cocaine, a Schedule II drug. Actually, it is innocuous when compared to tobacco, two legal substances.

Now, the question is why is marijuana still considered a Schedule I substance. On August 14, 1970, Dr. Roger O. Egeberg, the Assistant Secretary of Health, wrote a letter which was sent to Congress regarding the classification of cannabis in the Controlled Substance Act.

Here is what the letter read: “Since there is still a considerable void in our knowledge of the plant and effects of the active drug contained in it, our recommendation is that marijuana is retained within Schedule I, at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue.”

Consequently, the destiny of marijuana was set in stone. Out of fear of what the people did not know, along with a lack of research, the use of marijuana was prohibited. However, this may not be the case today.

“Marijuana leads to dependence in around nine to 10 percent of its adult users. By comparison, cocaine hooks 20 percent of those who use it. Around 25 percent of heroin users become addicted,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. He added that he “could not find a documented case of death from marijuana overdose.”

This makes it clear that since marijuana can result in neither addictions nor overdoses, marijuana could not be considered under the same category as Schedule I drugs like LSD and heroin. Also, studies have found that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, actually kills sundry brain cancer cell lines.

In addition, it has also been found that the THC of marijuana, the same element that enables the user to feel high, induces the death of various brain cancer cell lines. Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary, Weed, reports that the use of marijuana might be the best option to treat mental illnesses such as epilepsy or Alzheimers.

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