What is Cannabis
Cannabis – also known by its common name Marijuana – is a mixture of leaves, seeds, flowers and stems of the hemp plant.
It is used as a mind altering agent mostly for recreational purpose. It also has a few medical uses.
It is the most widely used drug in the US where it has been legalized in many states for medical and recreational use.
How Cannabis Works
The main component of Cannabis / Marijuana is the THC which is a psycho-active agent. Its highest levels are present in the flowers of the plant. When a person smokes cannabis, the THC makes its way into the bloodstream through the lungs. The blood carries it all the way to the brain, where a chemical reaction occurs and results in a ‘high’ state or euphoria.
As discussed earlier, Cannabis is the most widely used drug in America, Europe, North Africa, and Oceania.
Legal Status of Cannabis
In most countries, its use is illegal, however, over the last few years, there have been changes in law that have legalized / decriminalized medicinal and recreational usage of Cannabis.
While most people think that legalization and decriminalization mean the same thing, in reality they have a completely different meaning.
Legalization means allowing to use the drug.
Effect on usage of Cannabis after changes in law
There is a wide spread support for legalization of Cannabis in America and Europe since a liberalized approach would reduce the risk of criminal allegations on users.
Governments are also taking into account the fact that legalization of the drug will bring in additional revenues in the form of tax collections. It will also improve the quality of the product, and reduce government’s costs of drug-related law enforcement.
A liberalized approach towards the use of Cannabis can affect the levels of its usage. In fact, such a policy or legality of CBD in Europe will also effect the usage of other products like cigarettes and alcohol.
In the US states that follow a liberalized approach towards Cannabis use, it has been observed that there has been an increase in the drug’s usage in adults.
The reasons for this increase may have been the result of several factors including easy access to the product, decrease in street price, and lesser risk of being caught using it.
However, the effect on usage level among adolescents is less marked. Several studies have been conducted in America, Europe, and Australia in order to gauge the effect of liberalization in policy towards the use of this drug.
Most of these studies sough to gauge the pattern of Cannabis usage young adults due to a relaxation in government policy.
Effects of Policy change towards Medical use
A review of many studies carried out on Cannabis usage patterns among the youth, have revealed that statistically, the liberalized policy towards the medical use of this drug did not affect its usage in this specific age group.
The area that was extensively researched was legalization of medical marijuana. Even in this scenario, no significant change in behavior was observed among the youth.
This means that the policy changes towards medical use of Cannabis will have no effect on the usage of this drug among the youth.
However, legalization of recreational use of this drug could lead to increased usage in among the youth, or even younger people who could be initiated.
The Effect of Price of Cannabis due to policy change, and its impact on usage
One of the things that can hinder a young person from smoking marijuana is the price of the product, and its affordability.
If the product is costly, no matter how good it is, a young person with less money will not consume it. On the other hand, if the product is low-cost, there are more chances that younger people will be lured towards it.
One of the perceived impacts of legalization / decriminalization of Cannabis is that it will become less costly, and easily available.
Once it becomes affordable, youngsters may get the urge to try it.
Moreover, a liberal policy will also decrease the chances of negative legal implication for kids. There will be no fear of law enforcement officials hounding the outlets.
The Final Word
Apart from the studies conducted about the possible changes in the usage of Cannabis due to price changes, easy availability and relaxation of government laws, there is another factor that will lead to its increased consumption: perception.
Being illegal, Cannabis is perceived negatively. When there will be no legal restrictions on the substance, peoples’ wider perception about its usage will change. It will be regarded as something which is, if not good, is at least tolerated.
This will have an impact on its usage among the wider public. Its consumption will definitely increase manifolds.