The legalization of medical cannabis in many states across the country is one of the primary reasons behind the shift in people’s attitude towards drug use.
As more and more people rally behind the legalization of cannabis use, the restrictions on the drug are likely to be relaxed in the coming years.
It seems the world is increasingly warming up to cannabis use.
A new report from the United Nations shows that over 180 million people used cannabis in 2014, which makes it the most commonly used drug in the world today.
And the number is steadily increasing by the year.
The report also states that people’s attitude towards cannabis has been changing gradually, and there has been a sharp increase in the acceptance of the drug across the globe.
The Prevalence of Cannabis Use
Cannabis has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes by people all over the world for centuries.
From the classical Greeks, Romans and the Hindu saints in the Himalayas to the Rastafarians of the current age, cannabis use has been common among people from different parts of the world.
Given this fact, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the drug is considered illegal today, and the people who use it are stigmatized to a great extent.
The Stigma of Cannabis Use
The stigmatization of cannabis use is very much a 20th-century phenomenon.
The various legal restrictions imposed on marijuana use have led many people to believe that it is a highly addictive drug.
However, it is not true. Unlike heroin, meth, or cocaine, cannabis is not a hard drug that can lead to physical addiction.
It is a soft drug that is not nearly as addictive as alcohol or nicotine. It has fewer withdrawal symptoms than most other illegal drugs as well.
People’s attitude towards the drug have been changing gradually. A report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that the percentage of marijuana users in the U.S.A. more than doubled in a decade – from 2001-02 to 2012-13. Surveys also show that 9.5% of the adult population in the country uses marijuana.
A nationwide survey conducted between 2002 and 2014, the results of which have been published in The Lancet Psychiatry, shows that the number of people who perceive marijuana as a harmful drug has gone down significantly.
Similarly, in 2002, 50.4% of the adults thought that smoking marijuana once or twice a week was harmful. In 2014, only 33.3% thought so.
Statistics also show that despite the sharp increase in the number of marijuana users between 2002 and 2014, the prevalence of disorders related to marijuana use among the adult population remained stable during that period.
Potential Reasons behind Changing Attitudes
One of the key reasons behind the change in people’s attitude is the legalization of medical marijuana across the country.
State laws have changed to a great extent with regard to cannabis use in the past two decades, which has changed the way people perceive the use of the drug for medicinal and recreational purposes.
As of now, medical marijuana use is legal in 25 states and the District of Columbia as well.
On top of that, non-medical marijuana use has also been legalized in a number of jurisdictions.
The change in laws seems to have brought about a change in the overall attitude of people across the country.
With the drug already being legal in several states across the country, the clamor to legalize cannabis will only get louder in the future.
It is undoubtedly good news for the proponents of cannabis legalization.
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