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Cannabis Roots: How North American Healthcare Led to Sickcare and the Current Cannabis Quagmire

Parts of this article were created in partnership with the Association for Cannabis Health Equity in Medicine. For more information about ACHEM, please visit the ACHEM website at

Whether it is called weed, ganja, hemp, or marihuana, and whether we realize it or not, they are all genetically the same plant. For the intents and purposes of this publication, we will refer to the plant at large as cannabis.

The cannabis plant has been utilized as medicine for thousands of years. Yet, under current federal United States law, cannabis still remains an illegal substance today (federally illegal, no matter what we may hear people, investors, and companies claiming). However, the cannabis industry does reserve varying levels of legality across the United States and its territories, whose often-named “marijuana” programs are able to operate via statements made through the Department of Justice and their specific instructions to not prosecute states that have such laws – creating an unstable and complicated ground for the industry and its advocates on multiple counts, to say the least.

The million-dollar question: How did a globally-utilized therapeutic plant traverse from being used as mainstream, first-line therapy and medical treatment for a myriad of ailments to a being a substance with not only ‘no approved medical use’, but one that developed such bloated social stigma and vitriol – all without a single death or disease documented from its application?