Marijuana. Pot. Weed. Grass. Dope. Most of us can think of a few names for it, and most of us probably have an opinion on it too. Across the world, the cannabis plant is both loved and hated, lauded and denigrated. Advocates of the herb claim it’s harmless and can cure all manner of ailments. And critics say it’s a gateway drug with a plethora of dangerous and irreversible side effects, both psychologically and physically.
It hasn’t always been this way. Humans have been using the humble Cannabis sativaplant for millennia, both medicinally and recreationally — burnt cannabis seeds have been found in burial trenches dating back to 3,000 BC. The “War on Drugs” and Reefer Madness changed all that, though. The public was told marijuana is a dangerous drug that can destroy a user’s mental and physical wellbeing, encourage reckless behavior, and breed contempt for traditional American values.