Years of misinformation and negative stigmas connected to the plant we know as Cannabis has left us with an overinflated prison population due to the DEA’s classification of Cannabis as a schedule one drug. As it stands, Schedule 1 drugs are labeled as substances or chemicals with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. This leaves Cannabis in the same category as heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote. Due to this classification, government funding towards studies to prove any medical value involving Cannabis and its extracts has been halted. The objective of this paper is to provide an educational basis on the Cannabis plant itself, examine existing studies on the medical value of cannabis, and bring to light the contradiction of beliefs on the matter of Cannabis as a medial substance within the government between the DEA and the Department of Health and Human Service. By presenting this information, we can determine Cannabis to not be worthy of its distinction as a Schedule 1 drug in order to provide federal funding for further studies on the subject of its medical value.

Educational Background
To establish a modern dialogue for the conversation over Cannabis, we must begin with a basic understanding of the plant and the terminology revolving around it’s active compounds. Subsequently, we’ll uncover the effects of such compounds on the human body in respect to the Endocannabinoid System in which higher concentrations of particular compounds can determine your state of being while medicated. In effect, becoming self-aware of the pseudo stigmas and forming an educated outlook on the plant we know as Cannabis. The distinction between different sub-species of Cannabis are as follows:

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• Cannabis Sativa – Both Medical and Recreational Use/Industrial Hemp – Sativa plants are taller than either indica or ruderalis. They are thinner with more space between branches, which makes them seem less full. Some sativa strains can be tall, wide and spindly. Sativa dominant strains are known to have a lighter, headier feeling, an effect that feels more brain-dominant than body-dominant.
• Cannabis Indica – Both Medical and Recreational – Indica dominant plants are shorter and bushier than sativa plants with wider, shorter leaves. They can be quite branchy forming thick, squat bushes. Indica forms smaller flowering clusters that are often dense and tightly formed. The effect of indica varieties includes a much deeper body effect than sativa.
• Cannabis Ruderalis -Low Medical Value of Cannabinoids and weak fibers – For years ruderalis was considered undesirable for either medical or recreational purposes because of its inherently low levels of THC. Its redeeming quality, however, is the fact that its flowering phase is more dependent on time than light, unlike indica or sativa varieties.
• Cannabis Hybrids – After years of selective breeding, very few pure sativa or pure indica landrace strains exist in the marketplace. Most available strains are some hybrid mixture of indica and sativa genetics.

Cannabis is an annual flowering herb. It is dioecious, meaning that it is has distinct male and female organisms, with male plants providing pollen to produce seeds in the females; however, even female plants may produce male flowers under stressful growing conditions. Like most dioecious plants, cannabis plants will also occasionally produce hermaphrodites, or plants with both male and female reproductive organs.

Terminology:
• Decarboxylation: Removal of a carboxyl group from a chemical compound, usually with hydrogen replacing it. {Usually by imposing heat to the initial substance}
• Anandamide: N-arachidonoylethanolamine or AEA, is an endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter
• Cannabinoid: a class of terpene-phenolic compounds found in the Cannabis plant

The most active cannabinoid compounds within Cannabis are as follows:
• THC: THC, or Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol is the best-known cannabinoid, and is the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. Medicinal properties of THC include appetite stimulation, anti-emesis (anti-nausea and vomiting), pain relief, and suppression of muscle spasms. While many patients prefer the medical effects of high-THC medical cannabis, patients with anxiety and patients who dislike feeling “high” may prefer strains or preparations with lower THC levels
• CBD: Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, is seeing a new prominence in the medical cannabis field, especially for its anti-seizure properties. Scientists now know that CBD counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC, which explains why CBD was virtually bred out of strains cultivated by recreational growers. In addition to its anti-epileptic effects, medicinal properties of CBD include anti-proliferation (anti-cancer), neuroprotection, bone growth stimulation, anti-inflammation, anti-emesis, anti-anxiety, muscle spasm suppression, and tranquilizing effects (sleep aid).While it may seem astounding that CBD has so many medicinal uses, it is critical to remember that these properties appear to be most effective in conjunction with THC and other cannabinoids; early research shows that CBD does not as appear to be as medically effective when isolated
• CBN: Cannabinol, a mildly psychoactive metabolite of THC, is generally found only in trace amounts in cannabis plants, and its presence often indicates improper storage or curing. While CBN may have some desired medical effects including heart rate reduction and sleep aid properties, it is generally considered undesirable in medical cannabis. Some researchers believe CBN causes the dizziness and disorientation occasionally reported as a side effect by patient
• CBG: Cannabigerol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is a precursor to THCA and CBDA as the plant develops. Although it is generally found only in low levels in mature cannabis plants, it has valuable medical properties including pain relief, anti-inflammation, antibiotic, and reduction of the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma
• THCV: Tetrahyrocannabivarin is a psychoactive cannabinoid present in varying levels in different cannabis strains, with higher levels found in African landraces. Although structurally similar to THC, THCV works medicinally as an appetite suppressant rather than a stimulant. THCV also has anti-seizure properties and stimulates bone growth
• CBDV: Cannabidivarin is a non-psychoactive homolog (similar structure) of CBD that is most prevalent in landrace strains from Northwest India and Nepal. Some researchers believe that CBDV is the most effective cannabinoid in the treatment of epilepsy
• THCA: Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) is the biosynthetic precursor to THC, meaning that a higher concentration of THCA is present in growing or freshly harvested plants, and is converted to THC during both the curing process and the heating process used in smoking, vaporizing, or cooking. Medicinal properties of THCA include anti-proliferation, muscle spasm suppression, and sleep aid.

The Endocannabinoid System
The word endocannabinoid means “endogenous cannabinoid,” and refers to cannabis-like compounds that are created naturally within the human body. Anandamide, the first endocannabinoid identified by researchers, is very similar to the cannabinoid THC in the cannabis plant, which binds to the same receptors in the body and causes similar effects. Essentially, anandamide can be thought of as our “inner cannabis.” Anandamide and other endocannabinoids bind to receptors located throughout the body to maintain a healthy internal balance. Two main receptors have been identified: CB1 receptors, which are located primarily in the central and peripheral nervous system, and CB2 receptors, which are prevalent in the immune system and internal organs.
The cannabis plant is non-toxic to humans, and is incapable of causing a fatal overdose. In 1988, DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young ruled that cannabis did not meet the classification of a Schedule I narcotic and that it was one of the safest substances on the planet. In his ruling he stated, “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.” In truth, there are no known serious physical consequences of cannabis use. In fact, marijuana is less toxic than tap water and safer than most foods than we eat. Compared to other medicines, the safety profile of cannabis is unparalleled.
Although there is no true physical dependency associated with cannabis use, cannabis can be abused like any other substance. According to a 1999 Federal Institute of Medicine study, fewer than ten percent of people who try marijuana will meet the criteria for psychological dependence. If cannabis use negatively affects a patient’s life for any reason, it may not be a good option for that patient. It is up to individual people to decide whether cannabis is a good choice for them. Cannabis does alter consciousness, and when used can inhibit a person’s ability to perform certain tasks. Like any mind-altering substance, it should be used responsibly.
Effects of over indulgence will subside in a few hours. Staying hydrated and comfortable helps. Cannabis should always be used in a responsible and controlled setting. Improperly grown cannabis can contain impurities such as mold, pesticides, and biological contaminants. Any of these impurities can be detrimental to the health of patients. Attention to safe growing, processing, and storage methods can minimize or eliminate potential problems. Individual users will experience differing effects, and it should be understood that the effects for one patient will not necessarily be the same as for another. It is wise for a new patient to take small doses until they understand, and become comfortable with, the effects cannabis has on their body and mind. The practice of limiting your intake to find proper dosage levels is called “titration.”
Industrial hemp is commonly cultivated for its fiber and seed, which are used to create a wide variety of products, including food, rope, cloth, paper, fuel, building materials, and hygiene products, such as soaps and lotions. Unlike marijuana, which is cultivated for medicinal, and recreational use, hemp is not psychoactive. Hemp differs from marijuana in growth structure and farming practice. While marijuana is cultivated primarily for its flowers, hemp is cultivated for its fibers and seeds, which are used for a wide variety of non-drug applications. Because of the way it grows, it produces much lower cannabinoid content than cannabis grown for euphoric or medicinal purposes. What we refer to as “hemp” or “industrial hemp” is a type of Cannabis sativa that contains a low concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp is cultivated in dense patches for quantity of plants and fibrous material, whereas psychoactive cannabis is grown in individual fruit bearing tree-like bushes. Industrial hemp contains only about 0.3% – 1.5% THC, the ingredient in marijuana that causes a “high,” while medical or recreational marijuana plants generally produce flowers containing 5% – 30% THC. Some countries that cultivate hemp limit THC content to 0.3% in order to create crops with “zero tolerance” in terms of THC. Hemp also contains high levels of the cannabinoid CBD. While hemp technically belongs to the same species as marijuana, hemp cultivars are considered a separate variety or subspecies with significantly different properties and uses. Hemp is hemp. Not weed.
Industrial hemp is grown for two major purposes, seeds and fiber, and cultivation methods vary according to intended purpose. Industrial hemp is a very hardy crop and is well-suited for a variety of climates and altitudes, much like corn. It can tolerate low temperatures better than many other food or fiber crops, and is considered a “low maintenance crop” because it naturally suppresses weeds and is naturally pest-resistant. Industrial hemp has a much shorter growing cycle than marijuana, averaging about 100 days from seed to harvest.
Hemp is an excellent fiber source for additional textile applications including upholstery, canvas, and shoes. Hemp fabrics can be created with 100% pure hemp fiber, or blended with other fibers such as cotton or silk. Pure hemp fabrics have a texture similar to linen. Much of the linen made in China is derived from hemp fiber. Hemp seed hurds are used to create building materials such as “hempcrete.” An alternative to traditional concrete, hempcrete is lighter, easier to work with, and acts as a natural insulator and moisture regulator. Hemp is extremely nutritious, as they are rich in essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. Researchers at the University of Connecticut created hemp oil with an impressive 97% conversion frequency to viable biofuel. Industrial hemp is widely considered the ultimate eco-friendly crop. Unlike most other food and fiber crops, hemp cultivation requires little to no chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides. In addition to be ing very hardy and easily grown in a wide range of climates, hemp actually conditions soil where it is planted, acting as a natural weed control crop, and “sopping” up existing impurities in soil and groundwater. Additionally, the plant’s extensive root systems secure unstable areas by anchoring deeply to prevent soil runoff and preserve topsoil layers. Hemp is completely sustainable when grown in rotation with other crops such as corn. Hemp crops can reduce timber impact for paper and other tree products. Hemp produces more fiber per acre than any other source, producing about 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more fiber than flax grown under the same conditions. Its recyclability is far superior to the tree products that are commonly used in the manufacture of paper. Currently Hemp is Illegal Due to its Relation to the Cannabis Species. The United States is one of the few industrial countries not currently producing hemp.

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