How Is Cannabis Legalization Benefiting The LGBT Community?
Did you know that your ability to legally use cannabis is partly attributed to the LGBT community? During the 80’s and 90’s, cannabis was one of the handful of medications that was able to help young men cope with AIDS.
It was this movement that helped propel Prop 215 in San Francisco, the very first law in the United States that legalized medical cannabis in 1996. Today, with over half the US states having legal cannabis laws in place, we have the LGBT community to thank.
So in light of 2018 Pride, let’s take a look at the role of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender) community and the benefits that cannabis legalization brings to this demographic.
The LGBT community is an important, often overlooked group among cannabis consumers. The Movement Advanced Project (MAP) says that 4.3% of Colorado adults are part of the LGBT constituency, while the demographic makes up for 8% of cannabis consumers in the past month. This data suggests that the LGBT community is a largely untapped constituency that not enough brands are focusing on, because there could potentially be lots of new products that can cater to them specifically.
Data also shows that the LGBT community is one of the biggest supporters of cannabis legalization, and they consume more cannabis compared to heterosexuals. The LGBT group and cannabis legalization also share one thing in common: they both are the fastest-growing public opinion issues in modern American society.
How Cannabis Legalization Helps The LGBT
There is no doubt that cannabis helps people from all walks of life, but legalization is particularly beneficial to the LGBT demographic. How exactly?
- Stress and anxiety: LGBT people are more inclined to suffer from anxiety, which is worsened by the accompany stress of coming out of the closet. Fears of violence, rejection, and discrimination are very real to anyone in the LGBT community after they come out. Cannabis can effectively treat stress and anxiety. When cannabis is legalized, it provides more access to anyone who needs it the most, especially the LGBT group.
- Depression: Individuals in the LGBT community are three times more likely than heterosexual people to suffer from major bouts of depression. Even the LGBT youths are four times more likely to attempt suicide or harm themselves. A shocking 32%-50% of transgender people attempt suicide around the world. These concerning statistics are mostly because of the violence and discrimination that they are vulnerable to, especially after coming out. The only way to prevent this would be to have nationwide rules in place that would protect the LGBT community. But cannabis is their ally in fighting depression naturally.
- Substance abuse: Substance abuse and addiction spares no one. But the LGBT community is extremely affected by this problem. To make matters worse, only a handful of treatment centers have actually support this demographic. Everyone’s road to recovery is different, but science tells us that cannabis legalization is the way forward.
- Physical wellbeing: The LGBT faces the same physical problems that heterosexuals are prone to, not just the mental problems. Statistics show that bisexual and lesbian women have a higher propensity to be obese or overweight, but this is a problem that affects the rest of the general population in the United States. Obesity leads to many other serious or chronic illnesses, but cannabis has been shown to help fight the battle of the bulge.
- HIV and AIDS: The LGBT is more at risk for contracting HIV or AIDS. But while cannabis isn’t a cure itself, legalization is necessary to help give HIV/AIDS patients access to medicine that has been proven helpful in alleviating the symptoms of this condition. Just some symptoms that it can treat include neuropathic pain, cognitive decline, insomnia, and a loss of appetite. And HIV/AIDS can affect anyone no matter what sexual orientation, the risk for LGBT is even higher because of the stigma, discrimination, and absence of adequate healthcare.
The LGBT community has its own unique concerns and problems to deal with. Cannabis alone is not the solution to these problems, the biggest of which are discrimination and violence.
However, legalizing cannabis is an important part of the journey because it can help individuals deal with the mental and physical problems that they are prone to, without having to resort to harmful and addictive substances.
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