Many of the youth today probably don’t know about the film Reefer Madness. Originally titled as Tell Your Children and sometimes called The Burning Question among others is a 1936 American propaganda movie about exaggerated events that follow after high school students are lured by pushers to try marijuana.
The melodramatic incidents in the movie range from a hit-and-run accident to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, hallucinations, and descent into madness due to marijuana addiction.
Little wonder that the Los Angeles Times has claimed that it was one of the first films that a generation associate as “the worst.”
Las Vegas CityLife dubbed it as the “worst ever”, while AMC described it as “one of the worst movies ever made.”
It was even mentioned in Leonard Maltin’s Movie and Video Guide 2004 book as “the granddaddy of all ‘Worst’ movies.”
It was originally funded by a church group and was intended to be shown to parents in an attempt to teach them about the risk of the use of marijuana. Although, the film was absurd and nonsensical at best, the propaganda worked.
And it was only a start of the War on Drugs campaign that was taken to the next level by the former president, Nixon in the early 70’s. These misinformation campaigns created an unfair stigma about cannabis for generations to come.
Thankfully, the marijuana scare caused by the propaganda is slowly but surely dwindling as shown in the data of Wall Street Journal and NBC News poll.
The survey found out that 49 percent of respondents claimed that tobacco was the most dangerous followed by alcohol drinks that came in at 24 percent, then by sugar at 15 percent, and only 8 percent of those surveyed said marijuana poses the most danger.
Tobacco has been known to have adverse effects on the users and the people around them. The packaging even has warnings to their consumers these days. Some of the recorded adverse effects on the health of tobacco use are asthma, heart attack, and several cancers from the mouth to the lungs to name a few. It also causes an average death toll of 480,000 Americans yearly.
On the other hand, excessive alcohol consumption was attributed to nearly 88,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Alcohol is associated with a lot of grave health problems like liver and heart disease, a weak immune system, and a very alarming risk for cancers to develop to the heavy drinkers.
Now, probably the odd one out of the group- sugar.
It’s remarkable and stimulating that more people who took the survey believe that it poses a greater danger than marijuana, a drug that the federal government classifies as one of “the most dangerous” substances alongside LSD and heroin.
This is a very encouraging sign that the American public is getting more and more educated about their health and do not rely on information from the government.
Health risks associated with, for example, regular drinking of carbonated drinks often lead to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, heart disease, stroke, and can eventually death. Speaking of which, excessive sugary beverage intake was linked to 25,000 deaths annually in the U.S.
Let’s get to the point.
There was never a case of death related to marijuana overdose. As a matter fact, one would need to consume 20,000-40,000 times an average dosage in order for marijuana to potentially kill someone.
That would be about 680 kgs of marijuana in 15 minutes. This is according to a ruling from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 1988.
There are still some controversies regarding the legalization and medical studies of marijuana.
Luckily, there has been an increase in people who are starting to recognize that cannabis is one of the safest therapeutic substances known to humans.
Former President Obama even said, “As has been well-documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”, in one of his interviews with The New Yorker.
Smoking kills, drinking is dangerous for your health, marijuana is dangerous for you, sweet as sugar- ever since we were young, we have probably had heard some of these phrases and clichés from our elders.
Four substances that are associated with addictive properties. Only that one is not the same as the other. One of them has no reported death due to overdose. One of them is still illegal in some parts of the U.S. and many parts of the world.
Surprisingly, it is not the one with the sweetened ring to it.
Yes, the fight for medical marijuana awareness in America is undoubtedly changing. While we had taken long strides away from the Reefer Madness propaganda from the 1930s, we still have more or less 9 percent of Americans to work on. These people who up till this Age of Information refuse to accept that marijuana is not bad for the health might just need a joint session and discussion with those have studied the topic and aware of the modern science on cannabis.