Psychology

Legalization of cannabis: what are the arguments?

According to a recent study by the OFDT (French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction), nearly 17 million French people have smoked cannabis in their lifetime. It seems counterintuitive to work in the field of addictions and to pronounce for the legalization of cannabis. Yet the voices of addictologist doctors, specialists of the issue, are increasingly heard in this direction.

What would be the objectives of such a measure and how could this be positive? Some notions on one of the questions raised recently during the last presidential elections by certain candidates.

Ineffective repressive policy

We are in France, after Iceland, the largest cannabis users in Europe [1], more than 50% of French 17 year old tried it at least once in their lifetime. France is nevertheless one of the countries with the most repressive legislation concerning these products. It is clear that this repression has so far not proved effective, given the steady increase in the number of consumers. [2]

The status quo is therefore not desirable. It should also be noted that countries that have applied a greater tolerance towards this product (the Netherlands, Portugal) have not experienced an epidemic or explosion of cannabis use, yet one of the main arguments opponents of legalization.

More than 50% of French 17 year olds have already used cannabis at least once.

More and more dangerous products

One of the main arguments in favor of legalization lies in the actual composition of the products in circulation.

Cannabidoids are the substances that bind to the cannabidoid receptors of our body. The first discovered (in 1964), and the best known, is THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol). The second is CBD (cannabidiol ) .

For several years, the concentration of THC found in cannabis resins has exploded, to the detriment of CBD [3]. The reason is simple: THC has a very strong affinity for cannabinoid receptors, and is therefore very addictogenic.

The major problem is that THC is a potent psychoactive substance, and its effects are normally counterbalanced by CBD. When THC is present at a much higher rate than CBD, there is a major risk of psychotic shift.

In countries where therapeutic cannabis exists, the ratio of THC to CBD is 1/1. While the legalization of cannabis and the provision of therapeutic cannabis have mechanically led to a slight increase in the number of consumers, the number of psychiatric complications related to consumption has, on the contrary, decreased at the same time.

Legalization would thus make it possible to control the quality of the products put on sale, and to avoid at least partially many complications related to a product of poor quality. (acute delirious puffs, entry into schizophrenia, etc.)

No, cannabis does not make you creative ...

... On the contrary: cannabis would make LESS creative and less intelligent. This is what comes out of a study conducted by a psychologist. Learn more ...

Not insignificant revenue for the state?

A key argument for the legalization of cannabis is the economic question: a legalization controlled by the authorities could like tobacco bring Pharaonic tax revenues, (up to 1.7 billion euros according to the scenarios envisaged according to some economists) [4], and in particular to finance the development of a real effective prevention policy, in addition to drying up the black market and depriving organized crime of its largest source of income.

In addition, major savings would be realized in terms of money but also time concerning the police activity around the traffic of cannabis, which, again, is unfortunately not effective (about 20% of the activity of the police this traffic). This would also relieve the courts, since in 2014 nearly 60000 convictions were pronounced for drug-related offenses, 91% of which related to cannabis.

The outstanding issues.

Dissenting voices on the issue of controlled legalization point to the risk of transferring consumption to another product. If cannabis is consumed very young, often in adolescence, this is partly linked to the "attractive" image of the product: illegal, having a subversive character.

Some people imagine, but this is not confirmed by the studies, that making legal and controlled cannabis, like alcohol and tobacco, would make it less attractive for the youngest, who might want to to move towards products that remain illegal and therefore potentially significantly more dangerous.

In any case, cannabis use has undeniable cognitive consequences, especially when the product is consumed young. Legalization could provide a strict framework for the quality of products but also for the population of authorized consumers, as is currently the case for tobacco and alcohol.

To remain in an ideological position in relation to cannabis and to demand a strict prohibition is totally counterproductive, unfortunately the debate still seems complicated.

Cannabis: Are you addicted?

Cannabis is a soft drug ... but not without danger. Are you addict? Take the test to find out!

Author: Dr. Romain Boutonné

Want to react, share your experience or ask a question? See you in our FORUM Dependencies: alcohol, cannabis, etc. or A doctor answers you !

Read also :
> Cannabis addiction
> Cannabis: a real danger or not?
> No, cannabis does not make you creative!
> Drugs, alcohol ... the concerns of teens
> Addictions: how to get out?
> Smoking: assess your level of dependence

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