No doubt every weed lover has wondered this before. Is cannabis considered a drug? For some, weed is purely medicinal. For others, it’s a spiritual tool. And for most, it’s something fun that can help with a variety of ailments as an added bonus. But is cannabis really a “drug?”
How Cannabis Effects the Body
Forget whatever you learned during health class at school. How weed effects the brain and body is actually pretty amazing. First, understand that we all have a natural endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a group of chemicals found in the brain, nervous system, and throughout the body. It controls everything from sleep to digestion. It also controls pain, memory, appetite, and mood, among other things. It’s extremely important to maintaining good health.
When we enjoy weed, the ECS is activated. This is part of why cannabis helps with problems like chronic pain and insomnia. In addition to getting us “high,” it allows the body to naturally heal itself. With all of that being said, yes, weed is indeed a drug. When we take drugs, they have a physiological effect on the body. Cannabis also has mental and psychological effects.
Cannabis is Considered a Schedule 1 Drug
Under U.S. law, cannabis is indeed considered a drug. In fact, it’s listed in the same category as heroin and cocaine, under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule 1 drugs are considered drugs with “high potential for abuse.” While research shows that weed is safe and generally non-addictive, many still falsely believe that it’s harmful. And because it’s listed this way, punishments for possessing it illegally are severe. Advocates and lawmakers have been trying to fight this since the 1970s.
Not All Drugs are Bad
If you remember the “D.A.R.E” program that began in the 1980s, you probably remember the slogan: “Dare to keep kids off drugs.” While the program aimed to help youth, it also backfired by creating a lot of paranoia around recreational drug use.
Many kids graduated thinking that weed is a dangerous substance that can seriously hurt them. Harmful stereotypes around weed and smokers only intensified. This was good for the War on Drugs, but not good for ending what we call the Second Prohibition.
The program also put “drugs” in the “bad” category, even though we know that not all drugs are bad. We use many drugs daily, from caffeine to aspirin. Even though many prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Xanax are abused at insanely high rates, and can be deadly, they are still legal, while weed is not in most of the country.
Cannabis in Other Cultures
Cannabis use has a long and fascinating history, and not just as a drug. Many famous politicians, writers, and even doctors have used and enjoyed it for centuries. While it may be widely considered a “bad drug” right here and right now, it wasn’t always. Researchers have discovered countless instances of people using cannabis as medicine and for recreation.
Cannabis seeds have been used throughout the world for cooking, medicine, and as offerings at royal tombs. Plutarch even mentions Thracians using weed to get high. In the year 300, it was noted that a young woman is Jerusalem used medical cannabis to help her during childbirth. Hemp rope and paper was widely traded for hundreds of years.
So yes, cannabis is a drug. We use drugs all of the time, and without them, we would not be able to do things like perform surgery, cure and prevent disease, or make modern medical breakthroughs. Drugs are an essential part of human life. And hopefully, someday, cannabis will not be widely considered a “bad” one.