Laws in the United States have regulated marijuana usage since Franklin Roosevelt enacted the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. The prohibition law forced users to acquire a tax stamp detailing when and how much they used, which implicated them legally. Eight decades later, the social acceptance of marijuana has come full circle as a Pew Research Center study found that more than six out of ten Americans support its legalization.
To date, 33 states have passed laws supporting medical marijuana use. Another 10 states and Washington, D.C., passed recreational statutes. Thanks to the widespread support for its legalization, it is improving the research now in the works nationwide, which will promote new services, techniques, guidelines and products.
Marijuana comes from either the Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa plants and contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds that alter the brain’s normal function. Most people traditionally consume marijuana in pipes, cigars, cigarettes or vaporizers. Thanks to its legalization, products like edibles, cannabis, concentrates, educational material and natural products like CBD Tincture are now widely available to millions of customers. As more consumers gain access, companies will invest in the research necessary to promote new products and services. Thanks to medical usage, it is also leading to research advancements that are improving patients’ quality of life.
How Has Legalization Affected Researchers?
Because of the change in the law, marijuana will no longer be an illegal drug, which has given researchers the freedom to proceed with a wide scope of studies including health, economics and social influence. State universities like those in Ohio, Washington and Vermont are adding cannabis courses to their medical, law and sociology departments that focus on treatment, legalities and social reforms. UCLA also has a cannabis department led by Dr. Jeff Chen and a 40-person team of researchers who want to focus on medical usage, industrial expansion, nonprofit and governance, which his research hopes to encourage national health initiatives.
There is also much research focused on the impairment and long-term usage, which the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has awarded more than a million dollars in Catalyst grants to study the newly passed legalization and health. Their universities have also promoted much research including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, which endorsed $135,000 in grants relating specifically to cannabis and psychosocial harm to chronic users. Many governments and legislators are also researching policy changes, second-hand smoke exposure and population procedure mirroring cigarette smoking several decades back.
There is also much interest in health and social research circles to study how legalization affects consumption. While some opposers of its legalization feel that it will drastically increase marijuana consumption, an article in Psychology Today found that it would most likely not affect the current addiction level of 9% even when a legitimate medical dependency is present. It was also far below the national average for other additional like alcohol (15%) and tobacco (32%). Other research predicts that legalization will not affect usage patterns for recreational usage.
As the research expands, the findings will promote clearer policy and procedure that enhance consumer usage. Government oversight will make ensure the industry is safer for consumers.