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Federal Prohibition Turns 80, What is the Science Behind Prohibition?

October 17, 2017

This October Marks the 80th Anniversary of US Federal Prohibition of Cannabis.

In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act became the first piece of federal legislation to prohibit Cannabis. Since then a lot has changed. In 1970, Cannabis was named a schedule 1 drug, placing it alongside Heroin, LSD and bath salts. (Cocaine is a Schedule II drug) One side effect of this long term prohibition has been a to create a research hole, preventing medical studies in light of new advances in science. To put it in perspective, in 1937, the first blood bank was started, paving the way for modern surgical procedures.

Since 1937, we have seen one of the most awe-inspiring eras of scientific and technological advancement. Let alone the first transistors and microchips, the same period saw MRIs and CAT scans developed. While countries such as Canada and Israel have started putting deeper efforts into studying Cannabis, we are still in the infancy of discovering the wide pharmacological benefits of the plant, it does not take much imagination to envision where we would be if Cannabis had been actively researched as each of these new technologies emerged. While there is no science behind prohibition, there has been plenty of science left behind because of it.

As we wish an un-happy anniversary to federal prohibition, here is a list of some scientific advances that have missed cannabis in the last 80 years:

Science of Prohibition1938: Magnetic resonance (MRIs) first created
1938: Nuclear fission discovered
1940: CBD discovered in Cannabis
1943: Proof that DNA is the genetic material inside chromosomes
1943: Discovery of Vitamin K
1944: Discovery of steptomycin, first antibiotic effective against tuberculosis
1945: Mass production of Penicillin
1945: First flu vaccine
1946: First paper on Chemotherapy published
1948: Nobel prize awarded for discovery of DDT as an insecticide.
1952: First polio vaccine
1952: Discovery that proteins are sequences of amino acids
1953: Discovery of the helical structure of DNA, the basis for molecular biology
1958: Nobel prize awarded for discovery that genes act though definite chemical events
1959: DNA and RNA mechanisms
1963: First electronic cigarette
1964 THC identified and synthesized for the first time
1965: Discovery that normal cells will only divide a certain number of times
1970: Cannabidiol (CBD) and most other Cannabinoids found to be non-psychoactive
1971: Place cells discovered in the brain
1976: Robert Randal becomes first American to legally receive marijuana for the treatment of a medical disorder.
1979: Cormack and Hounsfield win Nobel prize for developing computer assisted tomography (CAT Scans)
1980: Small pox eradicated
1980: Marinol, synthetic THC, first tested on humans
1985: FDA approves Marinol
1986: DEA approves Marinol for distribution
1996: Dolly the sheep cloned
1990: Cannabinoid receptors discovered
1992: First endocannabinoid discovered, identified as the cause of so-called “Runners high”
1996: California is the first state in the US to legalize medical marijuana
1999: Heath Canada starts funding medical marijuana research.
2000: Human genome map published
2002: FDA study finds medical marijuana improves quality of life
2007: Human skin cells used to create embryonic stem cells

Happy anniversary, prohibition, let’s end you sooner than later!