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Weed is not what it used to be

How did a plant as amazing as marijuana ever get to be known by a name like weed?  The answer to that question, as well as so much else to do with the history of marijuana will probably stay forever lost in the mists of time, but it’s clear that these days, weed definitely isn’t what it used to be.

How has weed changed?

The legalization of cannabis gave seed banks breathing space to work on the development of better strains of marijuana without the fear of their work being sabotaged by government interference.  Initially the word “better” was generally interpreted as meaning “stronger”, or, more specifically, “having more THC”, which is why we now see Indicas and even some autoflowering strains with the sort of levels of THC which were previously only seen in Sativas.  Fortunately, however, breeders quickly grasped that creating stronger and stronger strains was not going to please everyone and that people with milder medical conditions often placed more value on taste and ease of growth, hence we are now seeing strains developed for flavour and simplicity.

Policy makers are now less sceptical about the wonders of weed.

It is often said that social views on weed are more favourable than they used to be and that this change is making itself felt in politics, since politicians have to answer to the electorate every few years.  An alternative point of view is that the “war on drugs” in general and the “war on weed” in particular were never actually about drugs and their impact on people but about trade and the influence of wealthy capitalists in the U.S.

Marijuana was singled out because of its connections with hemp, which has a variety of commercial uses, which threatened the dominance of U.S.-based businesses.  For example, hemp can be used to make paper, making it a competitor to the U.S. timber industry.  The “war on drugs” also provided a convenient political tool for various U.S. presidents, notably Nixon and Reagan, who used it to bolster their image as being focused on law and order and “family values”.


The arrival of the internet, however, made it much easier for the weed community not only to support each other but also to educate the public as a whole, thus starting the process of loosening the grip of those who had a vested interest in producing anti-marijuana propaganda.

The legal status of marijuana made it very difficult to conduct meaningful studies on its medical benefits.  Now, finally, these studies are starting to happen and are providing scientific validation for what weed users have appreciated for many years, name that marijuana provides effective treatment for a wide range of medical conditions.  There has also been significantly greater focus on the importance of CBD as well as increased interest in what were previously niche areas in weed such as cannabis edibles and cannabis topicals.

Possibly the single, biggest reason why marijuana is now going mainstream with political acquiescence if not outright approval is because society as a whole now has a much greater understanding of the importance of mental health as well as physical health.  As a result of this, the mood-influencing effects of both CBD and THC are no longer seen as purely negative.  THC in particular is now being recognized as a valid treatment for common mental conditions such as anxiety, stress and depression rather than just the “party chemical”.

Marijuana is finally getting the recognition it deserves

There are still some policy makers out there, such as Donald Trump, who are utterly opposed to the “wicked weed” but their numbers are dwindling.  The majority of politicians across the world seem to be grasping the fact that the public at large has long stopped buying into the idea of the “war on drugs” as a crusade of the forces of good against the forces of evil and that there is a lot of truth in the common joke that marijuana is more popular than many politicians, even amongst voters with conservative leanings.  Politicians tend to pay attention to what the media is saying and these days media hostility to marijuana is typically limited to certain, very right-wing channels, with mainstream publications being neutral to positive about it, in line with their readers’ opinions.


Is it time to rebrand “weed”?

The weed community has typically been made up of enthusiasts rather than professional scientists and even though marijuana has long been used for medical purposes, there has always been a sense of fun about it.  It is the medicine which is actually enjoyable to take.  Perhaps, however, if it is to go truly mainstream, weed needs to grow up a little and become somewhat more serious.  Maybe it’s at least a little unfair to blame politicians for not seeing the amazing benefits of cannabis when it’s talked about in the same way as crabgrass and bindweed.  While it may be a little sad to see marijuana lose a little of its edginess, it could be a small price to pay for seeing the (medical and other) wonders of weed spread throughout the world.

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MSNL Team MSNL Team / 3rd April 2018

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