Until fairly recently, it was illegal to cultivate, sell, possess, or use marijuana throughout the United States. Over the last decade, however, state after state has passed legislation legalizing the medical, and even recreational, use of marijuana. Instead of viewing marijuana as a dangerous “gateway” drug, a significant percentage of the population is now turning to marijuana and a component of marijuana (CBD) to treat everything from cancer to PTSD. Is marijuana the new miracle medicine now? Can it really help with so many conditions and diseases? A Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby sheds some light on the purported benefits of using medical marijuana and CBD.
A Brief History of the Legal Status of Marijuana
Most people do not realize that marijuana was once legal in the United States. In fact, it was widely used in tinctures and medicines until the 1930s. At that time, a campaign was waged to demonize marijuana as part of the larger anti-Mexican sentiment that was pervasive in some parts of the country. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively made possession or transfer of marihuana illegal throughout the United States under federal law through the imposition of an excise tax on hemp. The Supreme Court later declared the Act unconstitutional; however, it was quickly replaced with the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 which classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug. A Schedule I drug is defined as one with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Marijuana was considered to be as dangerous as heroin. Marijuana remained illegal under federal law and state laws until the end of the 20th Century when a movement to legalize medical marijuana started gaining traction. California was the first state to actually pass a medical marijuana law in 1996 with 31 more states and the District of Columbia following suit in the years since then. In addition, 11 states have now legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
What Is the Difference between CBD and Marijuana?
People often use the terms “hemp plant” and “marijuana plant” interchangeably; however, there is a slight difference. You cannot see the difference with your naked eye – but there is one nevertheless. The primary difference between hemp and marijuana is that marijuana plants have high levels of the mind-altering drug tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as “THC.” Both CBD and THC are members of a chemical family called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids, in turn, are plants oils that are produced by the marijuana and hemp plant. In short, hemp plants produce CBD while marijuana plants produce both CBD and THC.
You have likely noticed a virtual invasion of CBD products in grocery stores, specialty boutiques, and even the corner gas station of late. CBD products are legal because they are derived from the hemp plant and, therefore, do not contain more than a trace amount of THC.
What Are the Medicinal Benefits of Marijuana and CBD?
A cannabinoid is a chemical compound that reacts with receptors in the brain, affecting and altering neurotransmitter releases. These cannabinoids work on the brain to provide relief from all types of conditions. THC and CBD are the cannabinoids that are active in cannabis plants. The ratio of THC to other cannabinoids, including CBD, differs from one strain to the other which is why certain types of cannabis plants are better for certain ailments. CBD does not produce psychoactive effects. CBD is used most often to relieve convulsions, inflammation, anxiety, and nausea. CBD is also known for helping those who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Plants that are higher in THC content have more of a direct affect on thought and feelings. High THC strains are known for helping with things such as managing depression and providing energy, relief of chronic pain, restoring appetite, and insomnia.
Testing the efficacy of THC strains has been challenging, even for scientists and physicians, because marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Nevertheless, numerous small-scale studies, studies done overseas, and an abundance of anecdotal evidence point to the numerous and varied medicinal benefits that can be found in marijuana. The National Institutes of Health has even stated that “Peripheral nerves that detect pain sensations contain abundant receptors for cannabinoids, and cannabinoids appear to block peripheral nerve pain in experimental animals.”
Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns about marijuana laws in Tennessee, consult with a Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.