What If Everyone In The World Consumed Cannabis At The Same Time?
Imagine, for a moment, that marijuana was legal everywhere around the world and treated just the same way as a common over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen: That there were edible and inhalable doses for adults and milder child-safe formulations for young people, such as cannabis oil droplets. What if, in this ideal situation, everyone on Earth decided to ingest marijuana at the same time? What kind of changes would occur as a result of this monumental global decision?
While we can only speculate, of course, current research into the effects of marijuana forms the basis for some interesting theories. If everyone consumed marijuana at the same time, it’s likely that:
• Violent crimes, acts of war, and domestic violence rates would plummet. Back in 1972, a report from the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse entitled “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding” identified a significant difference between marijuana use and alcohol use: Marijuana users were incredibly unlikely to commit acts of violence whereas alcohol users were more prone to aggression after ingesting alcohol. According to the report, “Rather than inducing violent or aggressive behaviour… marihuana was usually found to inhibit the expression of aggressive impulses by pacifying the user.”
Today, thanks to the efforts of researchers in Spain, we know why this is; according to their findings, which were published online in the journal Neuropharmacology, aggression is one of the emotional behaviours which are effectively regulated by cannabinoid receptors (CB1 receptors, specifically). This is why users report feeling a mild “high” from marijuana; it’s not so much a true “high” (it doesn’t cloud perception in the same way that potent drugs like alcohol and cocaine do) as it is an absence of negative emotions like anger and stress which allows the user to more clearly experience his or her positive emotions.
• Rates of depression would decrease and many suicides would be prevented. Research has proven that cannabis is an effective treatment option for a number of different mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. According to research conducted by neuroscientists from the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions, the THC present in marijuana acts on stress receptors in the brain in such a way that depression resulting from chronic stress is greatly reduced.
• Economic conditions would improve. Were the whole world to smoke marijuana on the same day, the amount of money lost to alcohol-related accidents would decrease and consumer debt would be reduced thanks to the above-mentioned decrease in depression (many people spend money they don’t have to cope with feelings of sadness and emptiness). Additionally, it’s likely that world poverty would decrease as a whole thanks to marijuana’s ability to increase feelings of empathy and human fellowship. (This effect is so powerful that some researchers, like Sebastian Marincolo, are pioneering the use of marijuana for treating severe autism and other disorders which affect the ability to empathize.) It is possible, and perhaps even likely, that many wealthy individuals would be able to detach themselves from their high-stress, “self first” lifestyles long enough to consider the good they could do if they decided to share their wealth with the world’s less fortunate.
• Health would improve. Finally, we come to the benefits that marijuana is most famous for: this plant has many medicinal properties which work to enhance physical health, without the risk of severe side-effects associated with many chemical medications. Worldwide rates of insomnia would decrease dramatically, chronic pain due to arthritis, cancer, and other illnesses would be lessened, stomach ailments would be cured, etc. For one whole day, the world would feel better.
While it’s important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as the “perfect” drug and not every person on Earth is likely to respond the same way to marijuana, the above points should at least cause us to step back and consider just how powerful an effect this under-appreciated plant could have on global society if governments changed their attitudes toward it.
Cerrone Crowder is the CEO of The D.O.P.E (Delivering Opportunities for People Everywhere) House Inc., a nonprofit based in the Chicago-land area whose mission is aimed at providing equal Medical Marijuana access to low-income patients. As an emergency medical professional for over a decade, “The Weed Professor” has dedicated himself to educating the masses on the numerous health benefits of the cannabis plant. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org