An open-minded outlook on cannabis

Whether it’s for medical or recreational purposes, the notoriety of the cannabis industry has grown higher than its customers.

The legalization of marijuana in California has led to an increase of marijuana dispensaries all over the state. According to the City of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation, there are over 180 legal shops in the Los Angeles County and 87 of them are located in the San Fernando Valley.

With the business booming, Pierce College should inform faculty and students about the health and financial benefits of cannabis.

Pierce should hold a town hall or plan an event that shows people the positives of the cannabis plant and breaks the negative stereotypes that come along with it.

To educate the public, the town hall will cover the negatives of cannabis but focus on the positive aspects.

Los Angeles Southwest College held a cannabis town hall in early May that discussed ­­how the school was getting more involved with the emerging industry. They went over the health and wellness benefits of the plant itself and the economic development and career opportunities that the industry has to offer.  

The town hall also informed what the community can do to be involved with cannabis while staying within the legal borders and even had a Q & A session with cannabis industry experts.

The two main chemicals in the marijuana plant that are of medical interest are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).

According to the NIDA, THC can increase appetite and reduce nausea. It may also decrease pain, inflammation (swelling and redness), and muscle control problems.

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t make people “high,” according to the NIDA. These drugs aren’t popular for recreational use because they aren’t intoxicating. It may be useful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and possibly even treating mental illness and addictions.

Many researchers, including those funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are continuing to explore the possible uses of THC, CBD, and other parts of the cannabis plant for medical treatment.

Another plant that is part of the cannabis family that is often overlooked is industrial hemp. According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, hemp is different from the marijuana plant because it is high in fiber and low in THC so it does not have any psychoactive effect to it.

Pierce has a Hemp Club on campus that focuses on the many uses of industrial hemp. The focal point of the club is to differentiate between the marijuana and hemp plant despite both being part of the cannabis family.

According to an article by Logan Yonavjak for Forbes Magazine, this hardy and renewable resource was refined for various industrial applications, including paper, textiles and cordage.

Over time, the use of industrial hemp has evolved into an even greater variety of products, including health foods, organic body care, clothing, construction materials, biofuels and plastic composites.

Sustainable hemp seed, fiber and oil are still used in raw materials by major companies, including Ford Motors, Patagonia, and The Body Shop, to make a wide variety of products, according to Yonavjak.