Marijuana: Nature’s Medicine
In 1937, the U.S. passed the Marijuana Tax Act. The bill outlawed farming, using, possessing and selling any part of the marijuana plant. From that moment on, marijuana had a stigma attached to it; it was illegal and became a shady topic when it came to possession and usage. The reasons for this are as complex as the plant itself and is better discussed at length at another time.
Prior to 1937, marijuana was commonly referred to as hemp, and was a popular and easy-to-grow crop that had a plethora of uses. To name just a few, it was used as twine, rope, canvas, fabrics, linen, paper, stucco, cement, ink, soap, balm and animal feed. Many farmers, and a number of politicians, including some of our Founding Fathers, had acres of marijuana on their homesteads as early as before the colonization of our country. In fact, George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate grew hemp prior to its illegalization. Today, Mount Vernon is again planting hemp, and the taboo status of marijuana has dramatically changed.
For decades, opponents of marijuana legalization expressed concern that marijuana was a gateway drug into harder and scarier substances. While these concerns remain, there are research studies supporting both sides of that argument. Some of that same research is showing that marijuana has medicinal benefits without side effects. More discoveries are being made daily regarding the medical value of marijuana. It is a natural drug that can lead patients away from addicting opioids and narcotics and give them a natural alternative for treatment.
It will be a slow process for many Americans to come to grips with the understanding that marijuana is not the enemy or some shady, back-alley drug that needs to be hidden. With the state of health care and medical insurance, it is reassuring to know that on the horizon lies a simple plant that can help in so many ways. It’s time for marijuana to shine as the star that it is—nature’s medicine.
Jeffrey Green, M.A., is an educator and freelance writer. Green’s studies have led him to the world of plant medicine and its many benefits. His work is centered on educating the public on alternative medicine. Green can be reached at 520-437-8855 or JGreenphduoa@gmail.com.