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History of Marijuana Use

history of marijuana use

History of Marijuana Use

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, weed, and Mary Jane, is a greenish-gray mixture of dried leaves from the Cannabis sativa plant. It can be rolled into blunts and smoked as joints, smoked with water pipes or vape pens, used to brew tea, or cooked into food. Stronger forms of marijuana such as sinsemilla (from female plants) and dabs (concentrations of weed) are growing more popular among recreational users. Although marijuana can cause dependence, in addition to other health problems, the legalization of it in certain states has made it even more popular. Our drug rehab center in Philadelphia is sharing the history of marijuana use and its dangers.

History of Marijuana Use in The United States

The history of marijuana in the U.S. dates back to the Colonial Era, which began in the 17th century. The Virginia Assembly passed legislation in 1619 requiring farmers to grow hemp to contribute to the production of ropes, sails, and clothing.1 It even became a form of currency in states like Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. As cotton became a more popular choice for clothing versus itchy hemp products, the latter started to lose its popularity. It wasn’t until the Civil War that marijuana became a popular ingredient in many medications and began being sold in pharmacies. Marijuana wasn’t outlawed until the early 1900s after the Mexican Revolution of 1910 when Mexican immigrants brought over recreational marijuana to the U.S. “Marijuana Menace” became a popular term used by anti-drug activists at the time. Despite the opposition, weed became popular among the black jazz community that was made of hep cats like Cab Calloway. The Beat Generation eventually emerged, which referred to a group of young people who began to embrace a bohemian lifestyle. This lifestyle included experimentation with drug use. In 1930, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was created with Harry J. Anslinger as its first Commissioner. Prejudice and fear regarding this wave of immigrants and studies linking marijuana use to crime eventually caused the outlawing of cannabis in 29 states by 1931.1 The increasing fury behind marijuana use in the U.S. led to the Uniform State Narcotic Act of 1932. This act aimed to create a uniform law regarding the sale and use of narcotics across all states. Five years later, the Marijuana Tax Act was implemented, criminalizing weed and restricting its possession to people who paid a tax for certain medical and industrial uses.1 Despite the growing opposition against cannabis use, a "Hemp for Victory" program was launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during World War II to encourage farmers to grow weed by giving them seeds and offering tax incentives. The program was launched because hemp was needed at the time for the production of tools like marine cordage and parachutes. Throughout the 1950s, federal laws were created that set sentences for marijuana-related drug crimes; however, the 1960s brought a change in political and social climate, creating a more relaxed and lenient attitude towards weed. Although the early 1970s saw decriminalization of marijuana and reduced penalties regarding its use in certain states, the nationwide parents’ movement against its use in 1976 was a game-changer. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 was passed in tandem with the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 to implement mandatory sentences for drug-related crimes. In combination with these new acts, the parents' movement ignited a regrowth in a fury against cannabis that was instrumental in the 1980s War on Drugs.1 As of 2021, over 10 states have legalized marijuana.

Dangers of Marijuana

The history of cannabis use is a long and bumpy one. At Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia, we do not encourage marijuana use or any form of substance abuse. Although many people believe marijuana is safe, that’s not entirely true. As time progresses, newer versions of drugs are released. Not only can marijuana range in the amount of THC (its psychoactive ingredient) that it contains, but man-made versions of it are being produced and sold on the streets. This product, also known as synthetic weed or “spice,” contains additional chemicals that can cause further health complications and increase the likelihood of dependence. Cannabis use often opens the door to further experimentation with drugs or alcohol, as well. Polydrug use in the U.S. is a growing problem. Polydrug use is when people mix drugs like marijuana with alcohol or other substances. Addictions to harder drugs like cocaine, meth, or heroin can be even more difficult to recover from, especially without professional help. Our Philadelphia addiction center offers medically monitored detox programs that help flush various substances, drugs, and alcohol from the body. These treatments are led by medical staff who are equipped to manage any emergencies and administer any medications as needed. Withdrawing from drugs can be difficult, but a medically supervised detox can ensure the patient’s health and safety.

Both first-hand and second-hand marijuana smoke can cause various health problems, specifically affecting the lungs and respiratory system. If you or someone you know has become dependent on weed or any other substance of abuse, call Banyan Philadelphia now at 888-280-4763 for more information about our substance abuse programs.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.