I recently found some notebooks from high school years- circa 1989-1992. Most notably there were notes (and doodles) from my health class. Having been fortunate to have received a private school education, this was one of three times I was taught “health”- fifth, seventh and tenth grades. This ensured that my parents never had to have a “bird and bees” conversation with me, and that I knew what substances might come along with peer pressure.
Now looking at this notebook, all I want to do is laugh. The class covered sex, drugs and rock n’ roll- well my doodles brought the rock n’ roll. In those days I enjoyed songs like:
- Green Day’s “Longview”
- Salt-n-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex”
- Prince’s “Cream”
- Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Under the Bridge”
- Stone Temple Pilot’s “Interstate Love Song”
- Tom Petty’s “Last Dance with Mary Jane”
Not to mention all the songs from my father’s record collection. It kind of seems like I might have gotten a better education about sex and drugs from the rock n’ roll I was listening to. I say this specifically because of my notes on cannabis:
Marijuana- weed, reefer, grass
It gets you stoned- out of it- lazy
GATEWAY DRUG – if you use this you’ll definitely get hooked on other drugs
Nope. My private school education didn’t even buy me correct information about cannabis. But that was the 1990s and that was the common conception about cannabis. This information scared me. I didn’t want to become one of the addicts I saw on after school specials. I pretty much stayed away from it.
Since then there’s been more research and understanding about the benefits of cannabis. Attitudes about cannabis started to change around the late 70s.
In 1988, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Administrative Law Judge Francis Young ordered cannabis be removed as a Schedule I drug. “Marijuana in it’s natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” (SOURCE) That order was ignored.
The Institute of Medicine conducted research that concluded that “Marijuana is not a completely benign substance. It is a powerful drug with a variety of effects. However, except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications.” (SOURCE)
These days, Drug Enforcement Administration has noted that there have been “no deaths from overdose of marijuana.” (SOURCE) Cannabis is now considered one of the safest drugs. There is some information about people experiencing difficulty with toxicity, allergic reactions and adverse reaction when taken with other medications.
Since then, research on long-term effects, physical addiction, and much more have been further developed and managed.
Cannabis is no longer being considered a “gateway drug” but moreso an “exit drug.” I wonder how it’s being taught in my school now. And what kids are learning about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll these days…
PIN FOR LATER!