Why “Cannabis is a Plant, not a Drug” Just Doesn’t Cut It
One of the memes or mantras of the pro-cannabis crowd is that cannabis is not a drug, it is a plant. A similar meme or saying says “I don’t do drugs, I use Cannabis”. Unfortunately, although we are as pro-cannabis as you can get here at Cannabis.net, cannabis is a drug as it’s compounds can pass through the blood-brain barrier and impair cognitive skills, slow response time, and alter your sense of reality. The idea that cannabis CAN’T be a drug because it is just a plant is way off base as well unfortunate. Many Big Pharma drugs get their origins in plants discovered in jungles and forests around the world but let’s take it one step at a time.
What is a drug?
“A medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.” – Google
Would cannabis qualify as a medicine or other substance that when ingested creates a physiological effect in the body? Yes, 100%, both THC and CBD create physiological effects in the body with THC creating psychoactive effects in the brain.
At the time this article is being written, the US Government has cananbis listed as a Schedule 1 drug with the FDA and DEA. That is complete horsecrap but you get the point, it is a drug, where is should be scheduled is up for debate.
Can drugs also come from or be plants?
Yes, let’s take a look at a few common drugs that are used by millions of people every day and their plant-based roots:
- Caffeine – a common drug used by millions each morning to stimulate the brain and increase the heart rate, commonly found in coffee and chocolate. The average coffee bean grows on a bush like plant with dark, oval leaves. The plants produce fruits, or cherries as they are called, that have two seeds in them, these are the coffee beans. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the dried fermented seeds of the cocoa tree. Both contain the drug caffeine, and both come from organic trees and plants.
- Nicotine – a commonly used drug from the tobacco plant that is used to calm the mind and reduce stress, most commonly consumed by smoking the tobacco plant or vaping the compound in a pod or cartridge. Nicotine, a highly addictive drug that has caused millions of deaths worldwide through smoking, is a legal drug that comes directly from a plant and is sold throughout the world to people over the legal age limit.
- Opium – A highly addictive gum or ooze that comes directly from the poppy flower. It is then dried into a powder and sold as a small rounded bag. There is very little done to the direct plant extract (a flower) to create a highly addictive and psychoactive experience. Hence, the idea that “cannabis isn’t a drug, it’s a plant” is ludicrous. In fact, most drugs trace their origins back to a plant or come directly from plants.
- Cocaine – this drug comes directly from the coco plant leaves, but because it is alkaline and can’t pass through stomach acid, it is usually mixed or “cut” with other agents so the human body can absorb it correctly and efficiently. The leaf in its natural state can be balled up and stuck between the check and gum like chewing tobacco and be sucked on for absorption under the tongue. Yes, cocaine as we see it in movies and cop shows is mixed with harmful chemicals as well, but just another example of a highly addictive drug that comes directly from a plant.
The idea that cannabis can’t be a drug because it is a plant, as the meme’s and mantra’s like to pontificate is just plain wrong. Of course the cannabis which contains CBD and THC is a drug, and it is a drug by definition as TCH can pass through the blood-brain barrier and create physiological effects in the human body. Claiming that because it comes from a plant it can’t be a drug is just ignorant. If that argument holds water than cocaine and opium users can say the exact same thing, as well as coffee drinkers and cigarette smokers.
“This caffeine in my coffee isn’t a drug because coffee beans come from plants.”
“This nicotine in my cigarettes isn’t a drug because tobacco leaves are all-natural plants.”
Again, this is nothing wrong with saying cannabis is a drug, in the same way caffeine in coffee is a drug. We use drug daily across the entire plant. From a cup of coffee, to a morning cigarette, to taking your high blood pressure pills, they are all, by definition, drugs. Do you take an aspirin a day to ward off heart attack risk? I am sure we can all agree that aspirin is in OTC drug, made by Big Pharma. Sugar, which we didn’t list above, comes directly from the sugar cane plant, is addictive and destroys the human body.
“No, my Snickers bar is not a drug because the sugar and chocolate in it come from plants!”
Do you drink coffee? You do drugs. Do you smoke cigarettes? You do drugs? Do you eat chocolate? You are doing drugs. Do you drink Coke, loaded with sugar and caffeine? You get the point.
It’s okay that cannabis is a drug, it has multiple effects on people and can pass through the blood-brain barrier to influence our brain function for a period of time. Caffeine speeds up the heart rate, nicotine slows it down while calming the mind. They all pass through the blood-brain barrier and effect our feelings and emotions at the time of drinking that cup of coffee or toking on a cigarette, so relax, fire up that joint and enjoy the cannabis plants for the drug that it is.
This article is causing a massive amount of comments and anger on Facebook as we guessed it would and you can imagine, even though it is a well thought-out article that brings up good points. Here is one new twist for the "cannabis isn't a drug, it's a plant" crowd.
What should the age limit be on buying cannabis? 18? 21? Nothing?
A 5-year-old can walk into a store with $10 and buy a rose bush, a tomato plant, or a pound of kale with no age check or ID needed.
Should a 5-year-old be able to walk into a recreational dispensary and buy a $10 pre-rolled blunt?
Here is where the "cannabis is plant, not a drug" people run into a moral dilemma.
If it is just a plant, then how can you support an age restriction? Why is there no age restriction on tomato plants, yet there is an age restriction on cannabis, and I assume 99.99% of the people reading this agree that a 5-year-old should not be able to buy cannabis.
If it is just a plant, why do we need an age restriction?
It is because it is more than a plant, and we all know it. The plant has properties that can pass through the blood-brain barrier and cause physiological changes to the body, as well as THC causing psychoactive effects to the brain. The plant is a drug, proper ID required.