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The Stigmatization Of Cannabis

Disclaimer: Our Goal is to educate. Not persuade anyone to use products.

Updated on August 9, 2022

As children, growing up in America, we were constantly told that drugs were bad for us, specifically non-prescription drugs. Constantly being told the ugly truths and long lasting side effects of various street drugs, most of us strayed away from it, while others weren’t so lucky.

Some of the most addictive non-prescription drugs are; Cocaine, Ecstasy, Heroin, LSD, and Meth.

Dangerous Side Effects Of Using Non-Prescription Drugs


  • Highly addictive

  • Increases chances of a heart attack & stroke

  • Affects the way the brain processes dopamine


  • Has the same risks as cocaine

  • Sleep disruption

  • Severe anxiety

  • Nausea

  • Blurred vision

  • Increased heart rate & high blood pressure


  • The most addictive drug in the opioid family

  • Causes withdrawal after the first use

  • It is the most dangerous in how it is used

  • Users often share needles to inject themselves, which can lead to other serious health issues such as, but not limited to, Hepatitis, HIV, Aids and more.

  • Destroys the white matter in the brain which helps with brain various functions


  • Paranoia

  • Server anxiety

  • Panic attacks

  • which is why some people call it a “bad trip”


  • Skin sores

  • Extreme weight loss

  • Rotting teeth

  • Burns on the hands

  • Agitation

  • Mood swings

  • Twitching

  • Dilated pupils

The side effects of non-prescription drugs are scary and dangerous. Warning people about how dangerous these drugs are is the responsible thing to do. But, what about prescription drugs?

The Dangers Of Using Prescription Drugs

Yes, non-prescription drugs are bad, but wouldn’t that include prescription drugs as well? According to the CDC, for the first time in the U.S. Prescription drugs, especially

opioid analgesics, have been increasingly involved in drug overdose deaths. In 1999 opioid overdoses were involved in 30% of deaths in the U.S. In 2010 it doubled to 60% of deaths in the U.S.

There is evidence that prescription drugs are just as addictive as non-prescription drugs. Why are people not warned about the dangerous side effects that comes with taking prescription drugs? Did you know the most addictive prescription drugs are; Xanax, Ambein, Adderall, Oxycontin, Codeine, and Vicodin?

Dangerous Side Effects Of Using Prescription Drugs

Xanax - Used to treat panic disorders.

  • Side effects

  • Severe anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Mixed with alcohol or any other drugs can cause respiratory distress and death

Ambien - Used to treat insomnia.

  • Side effects

  • Produces a calming, almost tranquilizing, effect on its user

  • Making it highly addictive

  • Body builds up tolerance causing the user to increase the dosage

  • Irritability

  • Fever

  • Life-threatening withdrawal process when used in extreme dosages over an extended period of time

Adderall - Used to treat ADHD

  • Side effects

  • Gives the user more energy & confidence.

  • Which makes it so popular amongst college students, giving them energy to complete projects and assignments

  • Causes weight-loss

  • Addiction

  • Hallucinations

  • Tremors

  • Dizziness

  • Heart palpitations

  • Depression

  • Anxiety & headaches

OxyContin is an opioid-based prescription painkiller.

  • Side effects

  • Does not reduce pain, but gives the user a euphoric feeling

  • Releases dopamine

  • Increases chances of addiction

  • Coma

  • Respiratory distress

  • Overdose

  • Death

Codeine is a narcotic pain reliever found in cough medicine to soothe uncomfortable symptoms of upper respiratory infections and severe colds.

  • Side effects

  • Addictive cough syrup gives the user the feeling of euphoria and other blissful elements

  • When mixed with alcohol or taken in large doses it can lead to...

  • Coma and death

  • When mixed with alcohol it is referred to as drinking lean

Vicodin is also an opioid-painkiller just like OxyContin. It is used to treat chronic pain. Unlike Oxycontin, it contains acetaminophen to reduce swelling.

  • Side effects

  • Sedation

  • Impaired coordination

  • Slow heart rate

  • Respiratory distress

  • Paranoia

  • Brain fog

  • Depression

According to Healthy Life Recovery, every year, 16.3 million Americans 12 years and older misuse prescription medications. Consuming medicine any other way your doctor has prescribed is considered drug misuse. Drug misuse is taking medicine that was prescribed for somebody else, taking larger doses than what was prescribed by your doctor, taking medication in a different way than it was prescribed or consuming it to get high are all examples of drug misuse. The most commonly misused medications are opioids, depressants, and stimulants.

Head over to Healthy Life Recovery and take the, Prescription Drug Addiction Quiz.

"The results of this quiz will give you insights into signs and symptoms to look out for and if this substance may be causing harm to your health. With Prescription Medication it’s common to see addictive behaviors go unnoticed so it’s good to take a self-test to see if you may be abusing prescription drugs."

To learn more information on drug misuse and the Opioid Epidemic head over to Healthy Life Recovery.

We say all of this to inform you that there are no “good” drugs. All drugs affect people differently, some are more addictive than others, and can have lasting effects on its users. It is important that people understand to seriousness of drug misuse, how highly addictive some drugs are, and the damage it could do to your health.

Over the years cannabis has gained a reputation as a bad drug, but more people are starting to acknowledge it as a potential medicinal herb. Which leads us to our next question. If prescription drugs aren’t stigmatized as harmful drugs, then why is cannabis? Why is cannabis criminalized?

What is cannabis?

Before we get into the stigmatization, and criminalization of cannabis. First, you should know what cannabis is. According to Healthline, cannabis refers to a group of three plants with psychoactive properties, known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Both hemp and marijuana derive from the cannabis plant. Hemp has a lower level of THC, meaning it will not produce psychedelic effects. You can find hemp in CBD products. Marijuana has a higher level of THC which is found in weed, which can cause the psychedelic and hallucinogenic effects.

The History Of Cannabis In The U.S

Did you know that hemp was in the United States since the 1600’s? Hemp was used to make certain products such as cloths, ropes, and paper. According to History, in 1619, Virginia passed a law requiring hemp to be grown on every farm in the colony. At the time, the crop was also considered a proper form of currency in Virginia, as well as Pennsylvania and Maryland.

As time went on hemp was being replaced by cotton, and the demand for the product was slowing down. That’s when its counterpart, weed, was starting to become popular.

In the early 1900’s people in the U.S were using weed, or as some called it “refer”. In 1910 Mexican Refugees came over to the U.S to flee the Mexican Revolutionary War, and weed was in their possession. In the 1930’s weed became popular amongst the black jazz community. In the late 1930’s weed caught a “bad rap”. This was the beginning of the stigmatization on cannabis.

Criminalization of Cannabis

During The Great Depression and the Prohibition era. Bureaucrats were looking to target marijuana because it was mostly being used in the Black and Mexican communities. According to History, They painted the drug—and the communities using it—as a threat to the already crippled country and began the process of banning it. Between 1931-1937 marijuana was banned in 29 states. Then the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, making the plant illegal in the U.S.

So, when cannabis was no longer in demand in the U.S it became less popular. Its counterpart, weed, became more and more popular. But, since minorities were the main users, it was seen as a problem in the community. A problem that had to be stopped to help keep the country, and non-minorities in the U.S safe.

Cannabis vs. Prescription Drugs

Till this day cannabis is still stigmatized as a bad drug. Studies have shown that some people become dependent on marijuana. According to The National Drug Abuse Institute, 30% of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder. And only 9% will become dependent on it. Besides some people developing a disorder with cannabis, there are benefits to using cannabis.

Benefits of Cannabis

  • Treats chronic pain

  • Can slow the growth of cancer or kill certain types of cancer

  • Effective in fighting nauseous from chemo therapy side-effect

  • Helps treat chronic pain

There is still no concrete evidence that marijuana is a gateway drug. But, there is evidence that prescription drugs are a gateway drug. Many people turned to non-prescription drugs to receive the same high they had from prescription drugs. Or to increase the dosage they had from prescription drugs.

According to The National Drug Abuse Institute

  • In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses

  • Prescription drugs are a national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misused them

  • Between 8 and 12 percent of people using an opioid for chronic pain develop an opioid use disorder

  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin

  • About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids

  • CDC states, it’s an "economic burden" of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement

The point that we are trying to make is that all drugs can be dangerous. Some more dangerous than others. Just because something is legal does not mean it is good for you. There is a stigma that cannabis is bad for you and causes bad side-effects, but that's not true for everyone that uses it. Cannabis has many health benefits, and can be used in multiple ways. Do your research before you stigmatize cannabis. And, also do your research on prescription drugs before you agree to take it. Although prescription drugs are legal, it is also known to cause addiction and overdose. Be safe and always do your research.

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