The use of recreational drugs is nothing new in human history. Drug abuse and addiction have been a global issue for nearly a century. Needless to say that many of these illegal drugs were first introduced by doctors as legal over the counter (OTC) and prescription medicines.

There is a common misconception that hemp and marijuana are two different species of plant. In fact, they’re just two different names for the cannabis plant that belongs to the Cannabaceae family. As far as origin is concerned, science doesn’t differentiate between ‘hemp’ and ‘marijuana', but the law does. Legally, the key difference between the two is the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. THC is one of many chemicals found in cannabis that’s primarily responsible for the ‘high’. The term ‘hemp’ is used to mean cannabis that contains 0.3 percent or less THC content by dry weight and ‘marijuana’ refers to the cannabis that has a THC content above 0.3 percent. Hemp is the medical marijuana which is federally legal. Usually, when people refer to ‘marijuana’, they actually mean the cannabis that can get you ‘high’.

Marijuana is perhaps one of the oldest drugs in human history. Before the Civil War, marijuana was a major source of revenue for the U.S. It was widely used as a medicinal agent from 1850 to 1937 and was available over the counter in pharmacies and general stores. After the price of alcohol was raised in 1920 Marijuana became an attractive alternative to alcohol. Studies demonstrated that marijuana use was mostly confined in lower class communities where violence is more common.

Chemical substances taken for enjoyment, or leisure purposes, rather than for medical reasons can be broadly termed as recreational drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, etc. Their use at the beginning is usually to provide pleasure or improve life in some way, but they can lead to addiction, social problems and even crime. Marijuana contains a psychoactive compound called THC that produces a ‘high’ when ingested. It is an illegal drug and classified at the federal level as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which means that the government believes it to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has evaluated the hemp seed-derived food ingredients such as hulled hemp seed (GRN765), hemp seed protein powder (GRN771), and hemp seed oil (GRN778) as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe). Hemp seeds are the seeds of the plant, Cannabis sativa. Although hemp is from the same species as marijuana, the seeds themselves do not naturally contain THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Consumption of these hemp seed-derived ingredients is not capable of causing a high. Recent studies demonstrated that marijuana could be beneficial for pain relief, appetite stimulation, and nausea and vomiting control. In more recent years, the medical use of cannabinoids has been linked to the management of neuropathic pain, hypertension, post-stroke neuroprotection, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and cancer.

The pre-legalization era of medical marijuana was a lucrative market for drug-dealers, smugglers, and growers alike. Ever since the first legalization of marijuana in Colorado, the market for marijuana has been shifting heavily towards big legal corporations rather than criminal gangs, or at least that is what you would think. The legalized marijuana is legal to a certain extent: the individual must be over the age of 21, and only allowed to grow 6 plants each. And while dispensaries are lucrative from a business standpoint, from a buyer’s standpoint not so much, in part due to the high tax rates. The phrase “the dealers will live on” is a post-legalization phrase, denoting the somewhat impractical logistics of the marijuana dispensing pharmacies. In general, the big cities and crowded suburbs, in legalized states, have dispensaries that cater to weed buyers. While the isolated suburbs and rural areas are ‘weed-starved’. This can be attributed to the fact that there are simply fewer buyers in rural areas, and there are often cultural differences and demographic shifts ranging from racial and religious to age and ethnicities, that inevitably contribute to a corporation’s interests in opening a dispensary. Dispensaries follow the urbanization trend, whereas dealers are legion. They are a type of everywhere ‘entrepreneurs’.

Some recreational users are often under the age limit. According to the National Institute of Health, 1 in 6 teens use marijuana. That number I’m sure still applies to Colorado and other legalized marijuana States. And these teenagers are still getting it from their dealers. Whereas some are simply legally unable to do so, others simply don’t identify with marijuana as the solution to their mental health problems due to ethnic or even religious connotations. Drugs are not the drug user’s main problem.

Drug consumption is merely a deceptive answer to the lack of a positive meaning of life. A correlation has to be recognized between the deadly pathology caused by drug abuse and a pathology of the spirit which leads a person to flee from self and to seek illusory pleasures. These statements connote in whole the perspective of the Pontifical Council, an organization representing the agenda of the foremost Christian leaders at the time. These statements, although old, show us the religious side of things: they seek to label recreational and even medical marijuana use as immoral, and may have even been the cause for the republican lobbying pushback on medical marijuana usage in America. While all these factors undoubtedly contribute to the downfall of medical marijuana dispensaries, the corporate economy is still successful, as the current medical marijuana industry is rated as a $32 billion dollar industry with the American government earning a total of $3.7 billion dollars in reported tax from 2019 alone.

Overall, the market for marijuana is split, where the gentrified areas of legalized states have, beyond a shadow of doubt, the highest concentrations of medical marijuana dispensaries; while the rural areas and poor suburbs have the lowest concentrations of medical marijuana dispensaries, with the populations of the illegal states still relying on dealers for their marijuana needs. And these are simply observations affected by the inner economics of things.