LEGALISATION OF MARIJUANA IN INDIA
Authored by: Parishkriti Atri
Cannabis, also known as marijuana (from the Mexican Spanish marijuana), and by other names such as weed, hemp, hashish, ganja etc. is a preparation of the cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug and as medicine. cannabis has more than two hundred street names amongst which hashish, ganja, weed, pot, grass etc are the popular ones.
Marijuana contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana and more than 400 other chemicals. Marijuana’s effects on the user depend on the strength or potency of the THC it contains. This active chemical changes the way the brain works by causing a mind altering effect.
HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN INDIA
The ancient Scriptures such as Atharva Veda mentions cannabis as one of the ‘five sacred plants’ which are used ritually to attain trance and perform other religious activities leading back to 2000-1400 B.C.
In the field of medicine,The first mention of the use of bhang occurs in the works of Susrata, believed to have been written in the sixth or seventh century where it is described as being anti-phlegmatic. In the tenth century the narcotic and pain-relieving properties of the plant seem already to have been recognized, and in the fourteenth century these were certainly well known, as they are frequently mentioned in the dramatic literature of that period. The occurrence of such names as “vijaya” (unconquered), “virapatia” (hero-leaved), “ganja “, “capta” (light-hearted), “ananda” (joy), “trilok kamaya” (desired in the three worlds), and “harshini” (the rejoicers) indicate amply that the intoxicating and pleasure-giving properties of the drug were well known. The other names for bhang occurring in the books of Hindu medicine are: ranjika, bhanga, tandra krit, bahuvidini, madini, madika and madu.
In Sarangadhara Samhita, a medical treatise believed to have been written during the Mohammedan period, the drug is mentioned as a general stimulant. cannabis is also considered to have an aphrodisiac action by the Hakims and Vaidyas and a number of preparations are mentioned in the books of these systems for this purpose.
- Bhang is the tip of the cannabis plant which is usually consumed as an infusion in beverage form and varies in strength according to how much cannabis is used in the preparation.
- Ganja consists of the leaves and the plant tops and is consumed through smoking.
- Charas or Hashish which consists of the resinous buds and/or extracted resin from the leaves of the marijuana plant.
THE NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES ACT, 1985-
According to section 2 (iii) Of the Act,
Charas, that is, the separated resin, in whatever form, whether crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant and also includes concentrated preparation and resin known as hashish oil or liquid hashish;
Ganja, that is, the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant (excluding the seeds and leaves when not accompanied by the tops), by whatever name they may be known or designated; and
Any mixture, with or without any neutral material, of any of the above forms of cannabis or any drink prepared from that place;
As per the above act, Bhang is not illegal in India on festive occasions. It is mostly sold in religious cities or ghats in Northern India by special vendors permitted by the state government. The state selling bhang has to keep an eye over the sellers as bhang can be used to prepare more potent intoxicants.
Marijuana, which is a Calendar 1 (Class 1) drug is illicit on the grounds that it has high manhandle potential, no medicinal utilize, and extreme security worries;
For example, Heroin, LSD, and cocaine.
Earlier Utilization of bhang and charas was lawful in India, however the US had been compelling India to put a prohibition on their generation of cannabis since 1961. At long last, in 1985, the Indian government under pressure passed the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and put a restriction on the creation and offer of cannabis gum and blooms.
EFFECTS OF CANNABIS
The UN has previously mentioned that cannabis is the most usually utilized illegal medication on the planet. Other than the short-term effects like shortness in breath, increased hunger, imbalance of body and coordination and increased heartbeat rate, the long-term impacts are less clear.
- Medical Use- cannabis used medically has several well-documented beneficial effects like the amelioration of nausea and vomiting, stimulation of hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowered intraocular eye pressure (shown to be effective for treating glaucoma), as well as general analgesic effects (pain reliever). Most recent studies indicate that cannabis helps in de-stressing and acts as an anti-depressant. As indicated by an investigation in the UK it has been discovered that pot can stop metastasis in some forceful tumor. Analysts likewise say that utilizing marijuana can murder growth cells in leukemia patients.
- Reduction in Obesity- According to a 2011 study, obesity is lower in those who use cannabis users than in non-users. In animal tests, the drug also had an impact on the level of fat in the body as well as its response to insulin. cannabis compounds were shown to raise metabolism in rats, leading to lower levels of fat in the liver and lower cholesterol.
- Memory, Learning, and intelligence- Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine failed to show substantial, systemic neurological effects from long-term recreational use of cannabis. The results showed long-term cannabis use was only marginally harmful (almost negligible) on the memory and learning. Other functions such as reaction time, attention, and language, reasoning ability, perceptual and motor skills were unaffected.
- Headaches – cannabis has mitigating properties which help in giving alleviation to the patient. Truth be told, the impacts are said to be a “thousand times more successful than that of ibuprofen.” Doctors in California have treated more than 3, 00,000 or more than that headache cases with the use of therapeutic marijuana.
- Addictiveness- National Institute of Drug Abuse conducted a study on the relative addictiveness of 6 substances –cannabis, caffeine, cocaine, alcohol, heroin and nicotine in which cannabis was ranked the least addictive and caffeine the second least addictive.
- Buildup of Tar– This happens once you breathe in the smoke from cannabis. This smoke contains many small plant particles who, on interaction with each other, settle and collect it. This creates a tar like natural compound and unsafe for lungs.
- Entryway to drugs- some researchers indicate that the utilization of cannabis can likely anticipate a noteworthy higher hazard for the following utilization of “harder” unlawful medications, though extraordinary examinations demonstrate that it can’t.
- Diminishment in REM rest – cannabis clients may get a great deal of profound rest; anyway they also invest less energy in REM rest. REM remains for Rapid Eye Movement. Once we’re in this rest stage, our body is busy’s closest to being alert. Obviously, REM is the last area of the hour and a half rest cycle. Fortuitously, REM rest is the time you’re equipped for having striking dreams and bad dreams. Specialists still don’t comprehend why this rest cycle is useful to our wellbeing.
- Effects on brain– A 35-year cohort study reported an association between long-term cannabis use and neuropsychological decline, even after controlling for education. It was found that the persistent use of marijuana before age 18 was associated with lasting harm to a person’s intelligence, attention and memory, and was suggestive of neurological harm from cannabis. However, Individuals who started cannabis use after the age of 18 did not show such decline. Existing research suggests that the 2012 study is likely to be over estimates, and that the True effect could be zero. Three more Research studies corroborate this finding.
- Safety to the body– Illegality of cannabis has acted as a hindrance in the field of research. However no study has proven that cannabis can Cause fatality, though occasional strokes and other cardiovascular effects are reported. A 2012 study conducted showed that there is no significant relationship between marijuana exposure and impairment of lung function. Even though cannabis contains the same noxious ingredients as tobacco, it causes no damage to the lung due to Anti-inflammatory effects of THC. A study published in a british Journal reported that as compared to Tobacco, cocaine, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, Consumption of cannabis is the least harmful to the body.
EFFECT ACROSS THE WORLD
Across the globe, most of the US, many EU nations, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Switzerland, South Africa and North Korea have legalized cannabis in some form or another. The results of such legalization include a stark increase in state revenue, a decrease in violent crimes and a decrease in the number of female prisoners. The legalization and commercialization of cannabis have been a win-win situation for both the government and the industry. U.S and Canadian stock exchange markets have boosted up several notches since the entry of the cannabis industry which is now a tax-paying, legal multi-billion dollar industry. The commercialization of this drug conjointly solves the issue of seasonal unemployment in a country. In Colorado alone, the legalization created more than 10000 jobs.
THE GREAT LEGALISATION MOVEMENT (GLM)
According to the website, The Great legalization Movement in India began with a vision to create an alternative solution that the world needs and the country can benefit from. Its visionary organizations are incomplete without the support of the public, upcoming entrepreneurs and the government. So far, the organization’s commitment to strive to educate is bearing great results in creating a dialogue in India which has forgotten the plant completely for over 34 years. With an attitude to free the plant for the benefits of patients and farmers, the mission and vision of the organization is a unique and a far stretched idea that will be a decade in action.
By 2019, after ten years of cannabis research, 5 years of patient research, 9 months of legal research, the organization stepped into the high court of DELHI to free the plant by questioning its prohibition. Sacred plants deserve no position in the Narcotics and Psychotropic substance list of lethal chemicals.
The organization is fully committed to deliver the best of legal understanding, educational drive, health solutions, industrial product designs and an economic projection that is simply hard to believe. So far, with many obstacles along the way, we have made it and survived. We will continue to do so until the mission and vision reach fruition.
GLM’s other organizations include –
- Rick Simpson foundation
- Indian hemp research Institute
- Indian hemp Industries
- GLM seed bank
- Medical cannabis community
- Global Canna news
Going through the different opinions on the aforementioned topic, it can be concluded that India is divided on the topic. However research indicates that the consumption of cannabis is not as hazardous to health as it is claimed.
There have been many positive results which have been listed in this article.Marijuana has been in our tradition for centuries. It is even mentioned in Hindu scriptures like the Atharva Veda. Ayurveda mentions the use of marijuana as a pain reliever. The disturbing fact today is that marijuana is still in the category of drugs like Heroin and Opium when it has all these medical benefits and is also relatively way less harmful than alcohol. cannabis was illegalized only due to the pressure of western countries. Now even the western countries have realized their mistake and have started legalizing cannabis. Therefore, India too should legalize marijuana and promote its culture.
Suggestions for regulations in laws of consumption –
- Fixing the age for recreational use.
- Selling only done through licensed shops.
- Limit on purchase.
Hence, we can conclude that legalizing marijuana will anyway save time and efforts of the government. If marijuana is provided in a limited quantity, it will help in lessening its consumption. Marijuana is comparatively less destructive than other serious drugs such as heroin, cocaine, LSD, ayahuasca, etc.
This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.
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