TED Conversations

Benjamin Pope

This conversation is closed.

Do the benefits of the Hemp plant and its derivatives outweigh the dangers involved? or is the prohibition simply something else entirely?

My curiosity stems from a recent study that was done where cannabinoids were used effectively to treat MRSA, (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which has proven resistant to most antibiotics. MRSA kills around 20,000 people in the U.S annually, which is more than AIDS related deaths. I feel like it is time to revisit our current policies regarding this plant.

Share:
  • Aug 29 2011: Hemp is one of the most versatile plants known to man, and it is an outrage for it to be illegal to grow, I fully support all movements to legalize.
    • thumb
      Aug 29 2011: yes. there's just too much you can do with the plant that we aren't doing, and can't do, since it's illegal to grow. it doesn't make any sense at all. definitely with you on this. if people could grow their own hemp on their own property, in their backyard, or whatever... everyone could be so much more self sufficient and make their own things instead of spending money to buy things that could easily be made themselves. there's a lot of examples.
  • thumb
    Aug 29 2011: What dangers do you think of?
    It is simply because it is prohibit that it is dangerous. Otherwise it wouldn't make much profit to sell it and no one would push it or grow it. Think of all the victims with smuggling and dealing and abuse. When free it would be grown in the backyard of the few that prefer to use it if it was the case for centuries.
    • Aug 30 2011: It is probably harmful to some extent. I agree smuggling and dealing of illicit substances is very problematic - trade is fuelling organized crime and use itself is spawning crime, and it will, in my opinion never get erradicated completely. Unless some form of action is taken (maybe providing addicts with free pure pharmaceutical grade substances, sterile needles and controlled dosage - while they would need to preform some sort community work in exchange) it will not change.
  • thumb
    Sep 7 2011: I'm a bit confused. What is the danger of hemp other than it can cross pollinate and weaken near by canabis plants.
  • thumb
    Sep 2 2011: Well, I use it to incraese my conentration-. Also I have pretty bad social anxiety and it really helps with that.Although I am not even close to a stoner - I have smoked moderatley for years and other than the possible danger of the smoke wich can be eliminated with a good vaporizer I really only see positive benefits if its used responsibly. Ha- Its the big pharmecutical companies and big tobacco that I worry about . ;)
  • Sep 7 2011: I have yet to see a logical argument againt the legalization of cannabis.It makes no sense to me how harmful drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are perfectly legal, but cannabis is not. A drug that is impossible to overdose on, and has medical benefits.Could anyone give me a reason why it is not legal?
    • thumb
      Sep 7 2011: Well much of the reasons were orchestrated by William Hearst who felt his timber industry was threatened by hemp grower. As an owner of a paper he was in prime position to fabricate all sorts of stories about the dangers of marijuana. Often he used the racist fears of the day to sensationalize the stories as it was enjoyed more by Mexicans at the time (Hence the change from cannabis to marijuana a more Mexican sounding name.) At the same time the DuPont company learned to synthesized nylon so they felt threatened by hemp as well and were more than willing to join the efforts to ban this plant. And this is all happening at the time that prohibition ended so there were all sorts of law agents who needed to find way to make a living so what would be better than to just find another product to ban.

      Flash forward a few years and the Vietnam war happens and becomes unpopular. Well you can't arrest people for protesting so you find something they are doing that you can arrest them for. Hence the second generation of demonizing this plant.

      And of course now we as a nation have turned crime into an growth industry. If we change the laws now our prisons industry will lose many of it's nonviolent clientele. When prop 19 sort to legalize cannabis use in California last year one of the biggest detractors was the prison guard lobby.


      If you knew this already sorry, but it is good to get this info out. It's not really a good reason, but to my understanding it is the real reason.
      • Sep 8 2011: Thank you for that, I weas actually not aware of those reasons, that has given me something to think about.
        I knew corporate greed was to blame somehow!
  • Aug 30 2011: Maybe, yes. I think I know which documentary you have watched :) For system to be more consistent I believe alcohol and tobacco should get banned too, because they cause much more deaths. Strictly logically speaking laws are inconsistent/in contradiction. Or else marijuana/other drugs laws should get loosened.
  • thumb
    Aug 29 2011: politicians make more money off its illegality than its legality. if iot was legalized the war on drugs wouold end which means the kickbacks and payoffs would end for many govt officials. this is their "bread and butter". i am a gardenerr at heart. i studied green house tech and management in vocation school. i would rather grow dope and get high than work for someone else and make "money" to buy dope. than i could use all my free time to study nature, raise my kid, instead of trusting a public school. our current economic formula makes parents dependant on public schools as babysitters so the adult can work. this is wrong. i smoke and i figured this out. am i stupid? no. i dont know anyone my age who has read ayn rand or rob roy. yet dope makes you stupid? maybe im what you call a singularity? maybe im just crazy. either way to make it illegal to grow a plant yet profitable to drill oil. when the latter is UNDENIABLY LETHAL. is assinine.
    • Aug 29 2011: Marijuana doesn't make you stupid. Stupid people are already stupid, and some of them smoke, and it doesn't make them more intelligent. I also smoke(d) until this week actually – I have temporarily given it up as I have discovered a fertility issue that might be resolved, and there is some evidence to suggest that it can have this kind of effect, but I refuse to believe it makes people stupid. Thats propaganda, and it's weak at that. It is so ubiquitous, and so few ill effects are felt, that in my opinion it undermines some of the more sensible drug policies in existence because people just don't believe the harm is real.

      The hemp plant has more uses than any other, as far as I am aware. William Randolf Hearst is the culprit. He was a newspaper man, and owned a logging company too, and used his newspapers to spread lies about the dangers of hemp to secure his own business interests in poor quality paper, thereby denying mankind a powerful fuel, medicine, fibre and god knows what else. It is criminal, in my opinion, to deny these things to people, and thats before we get down to the benefits of smoking it. We could erase our econimic problem in the UK if they legalised and taxed it for example, saving money policing it (thats laughable) and prosecuting into the bargain.

      It has opened your mind Joseph, not made it dull. Bill Hicks said, “They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you're high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well. You just realize that it's not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference.” Amen, I say. They want you out there paying taxes, my friend. The last thing that a government needs is open minded, questioning people in the ranks. They cause too many problems.
    • Aug 30 2011: The cost of the war on drugs (a battle several times admitted as a loosing one) has been compared to the entire american deficit. (this was before the war on terror) I have no idea of the validity, but realize the majority of people in prison are there on drug related charges... each one costs the system x$ per day and at least in the case of marijuana never hurt anyone but the tax man. Even once out, they now have a criminal record and can not work in the high paying and therefore tax generating jobs, potentially leading to hopelessness and thus actual crime and at least costing the system in the end through tax refunds.
      • Aug 30 2011: In the UK, like in the US, we are starting to build privately owned prisons too. This is appalling in my opinion, but they are doing it. These businesses will need a steady stream of 'criminals' to remain profitable, so no doubt drug laws will be enforced harder and harder to keep them flowing.

        And the crazy thing is? The public are practically begging for it. The police arrested 1000+ people in the riots, and our prison service is at almost max capacity with around 80k prisoners. 1/80th of your prison population in one go, so where do you put them? The government will be paying these private prisons huge amounts of money to keep people locked up, and our drug policy is a major part of the problem. If we could be forward thinking enough to properly address it, we could solve literally all of our financial problems, and we wouldn't be jeapordising the future of people who just want to experiment and to open their minds. And marijuana is just one.

        You might want to check out Ibogaine, which is looking like the best cure - and I mean cure - for addiction. 80% success rate for treating Heroin addiction, that pharmaceuticals can't even come close to. Psylocibin, to be found in any number of psychoactive mushrooms around the world, brings instant and long lasting relief to sufferers of cluster headaches and migraines.

        The public are scared because they have been repeatedly lied to about these substances so that we demand expensive alternatives. And this allows not only poor quality medicines, but any number of other benefits have been lost. Hemp paper is the strongest and toughest and most environmentally sustainable there is. Bio fuels made from hemp will not need us to make a choice between food and fuel like we do currently. And we are missing out personally. All great civilisations have had mind altering and enhancing substances at the root of their culture, except this one. I can't see alcohol, tobacco and prozac driving us into anything except an early grave.
        • thumb
          Aug 30 2011: well, as plato said. those who are too smart to engage in politics, are usually punished by being governed by those who are not. in my state of kansas, no politician or official would ever read this comment strand without clinging to his "values". the older generation, babyboomers in america, have been stigmatized. some have not. the ones that have felt the need to run for political office. we are just now in the past 10 years seeing loosening of drug laws, but only on a local govt basis, it is illegal with the dea and federal government. which arises another question. How can we have two masters and remain loyal to both?