Cannabis in the Biochemistry
Cannabis a flowering plant that can be manufactured into hemp and marijuana. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug used globally for medical and recreational uses. Hemp can be used for fibers and medical purposes as well. It is part of the Cannabaceae family in the Cannabis genus and has many species, but can be all grouped as C. Sativa. The structure of the plant has a basic layout. It has a tall, thin stem growing upwards out of the roots. Coming off the stem is its large fan leaves projecting out of the nodes. The cola is located on the top of the plant and contains the plant’s reproductive structure. In the cola are the stigma, pistil, bract, calyx, and trichome. The pistol has the reproductive structures, including the stigma. They are hair-like structures that collect pollen. The bract area encloses specifically the female reproductive parts. It also had the highest level of cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are what produces CBD or THC which is what makes consumers euphoric or relaxed. This is why marijuana producers strive for only female plants and often isolate them so more is produced. The calyx is the clear, protective layer over the ovule. Trichomes are located throughout the cola. They ooze resin out from their gland. It was evolved to ward off predators but is now harvested for medical and recreational uses.
Furthermore, the biochemistry of Cannabis is unique. It is a highly evolved plant with detailed chemical structures. It a diploid, but some polyploids have been artificially produced. Insite from Lillian Padgitt-Cobb of the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University displays how complex this plant is: “Marijuana contains more than 480 distinct chemical compounds, including both primary and secondary metabolites, which are the intermediate products of chemical reactions. While primary metabolites are required for basic cell functioning and found in all plants, secondary metabolites vary in structure and function across the plant kingdom. They are produced in variable quantities for optimal growth and survival in distinct environments” (Padgitt-Cobb, 2015.) By having so many compounds, it makes it difficult to research potential uses and properties. Also, consider there are so many species of the plant, the diversity has its effects too. Tetrahydrocannabinol, also know as THC is what determines whether something is hemp or not. It must have below .3% THC to prevent the user from getting ‘high.’ Due to its vast amount of cannabinoids produces, people who cultivate the plant can use it as a recreational drug. The psychoactive chemicals are activated by heat which is why some users bake or smoke the drug. The plant eventually became illegal throughout the world. This is a notion that is beginning to change due to the decriminalization of drug use and the medical breakthroughs.
Additionally, there is a lot of evidence to support the medical benefits of Cannabis. It can not cure anything, thus far, but can help to ease the symptoms of many diseases. It is widely popular for nausea, pain relief, appetite increase, dizziness, and mental disorders. By having such many possible uses, it helps to encourage its legalization. There are also industrial uses for hemp. The tall stems have fibers that can be used as textiles or paper. This makes Cannabis even more useful. Hemp is also found in cosmetics and skin care. Hemp oil not only aids in holding cosmetics together but can help skin retain moisture. I allegedly can help with acne, aging, and sun protection too. Cannabis has also been used in religious ceremonies to find clarity in the Buddist faith and the Hindu culture has referred to it as the ‘food of Gods.’ These are just a few examples displaying the many uses of Cannabis throughout the world.
Expanding on that, taking into account the many positive uses, I feel that it will eventually become federally legal throughout the united states. More and more states are putting this issue on the ballot, and every election season it seems at least one state legalizes a form of it. Just this year, Michigan legalized it, making it the first Midwestern state to do so. Citizens in Ohio are even making a push to get the option back on the ballot again in 2019 for recreational use. Once legalized, distribution centers can introduce jobs and taxes on the product can bring each state revenue. This can be used to build infrastructure, fund services, and restore schools. It will also decrease the number of prisoners incarcerated for distribution, use, and manufacturing of marijuana. This will decrease money spent toward their imprisonment, saving the money of the state. Marijuana use is also a major part of American pop culture. It has been depicted in film, television, and music for decades. By normalizing it in the media, the taboo around it is decreasing. Also, by legalizing it, there will be increased safety around the drug. It decreases the risk of people consuming synthetic marijuana, which can be harmful. By having licensed growers and organized distributors, people know what they are getting, unlike on the street. Especially amongst the younger population, the support for legalization is staggering. A survey in 2017 of a college campus showed staggering support: “A separate poll from Quinnipiac University in April of this year found support for legalizing medical cannabis at an overwhelming 94%, compared with 5% who opposed the idea” (Williams, 2017.) This is a sign that in years to come as more young people can vote, the legalization of marijuana will happen. It is just a matter of time.
All in all. There are numerous benefits of cannabis. The pros outweigh the cons, the youth support it, and the stigma around it is disappearing. Complex structures of the cannabis plant allow for many uses. Whether as a recreational drug or as textiles, Cannabis has a plethron of was to benefit society. Once people get over the negative reputation, so much good can come. Medical innovations will be achieved, tax revenue will be obtained, and new jobs will be created. Politician and former Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin reveals her insight on the issue: “If somebody’s gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody else any harm, then perhaps there are other things that our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems that we have in society that are appropriate for law enforcement to do and not concentrate on such a, relatively speaking, minimal problem that we have in the country” (Lee, 2012.)