I would like to address two major arguments made by those in opposition of legalisation, and those are; 1) psychosis/schizophrenia development, and 2) addiction.
Regarding the first point, it is generally accepted by the scientific community that there is a lack of evidence which points to a ‘cannabis psychosis’, meaning psychosis, induced solely by the use of cannabis. It is instead argued that genetic, social and environmental factors are the prerequisites through which it is more likely that a person may develop psychosis after its excessive use, but these numbers are practically miniscule.
Further to this, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD, is known to have neuroprotective and anxiolytic properties which could ease some symptoms of psychosis, and there have also been many trials conducted over the calming effect this cannabinoid has on neural pathways in the brain, making it a prime treatment for people suffering from autoimmune disorders, such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s, M.S. and many others.
In the U.S., this is now widely accepted as the drug of choice for those suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions. A simple search online will visually show you how effective it is.
Furthermore, there is a clear ill-informed conflation of medically evaluated psychosis, and short term anxiety and/or sensory perception inhibition, which is sometimes erroneously described as a ‘cannabis psychosis’. Cannabis receptors in the brain are responsible for the regulation of a wide array of feelings. When these receptors are activated by the consumption of THC and other cannabinoids, they may either produce a positive or negative response, depending on many factors, but it is usually a positive one.
On the second point, there is a clear conflation of habit and chemical dependency.
Behaviour, regardless of its manifestation, is habitual. This can range from the use of hard drugs, to collecting stamps. It is true that individuals do sometimes develop a chemical dependency to substances, but it is very unlikely to happen with cannabis. Correlation does not necessarily equal causation. It is more to do with human behaviour, and the fact that people should try to be more responsible, instead of blaming the substance itself as a scapegoat.
In the same way as the majority of the population enjoy alcohol and don’t become alcoholics (even though the evidence linking it to extensive brain damage is irrefutable, and it has a higher dependency/addiction rate than cannabis), cannabis can be regarded in the same light, but with one major distinction; it actually possesses medicinal properties, rather than destroying your physiology.
I would like to add that I find it extremely hypocritical that many of the anti-cannabis campaigners are not lobbying against harmful legal drugs like alcohol, tobacco and sugar, which are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths per year, and also cause a multitude of diseases. In fact, many of them use these legal drugs without batting an eyelid, and either can’t, or don’t want to see the inconsistency in their perspective. Furthermore, none of them would recommend prison or a criminal record as a rehabilitative measure for tobacco or alcohol addiction – so why do they think it’ll solve other addictions
We have to understand that our beliefs and morals have (or should have) no bearing on other people’s reality, and vice-versa. We find that, to this day, many people tend to dismiss scientific evidence, in favour on their own sensationalist and misguided views, which is why the younger generations sometimes find it so hard to relate to a system which is reliant on personal opinions, rather than facts.