Friday, June 18, 2010

Why Marijuana Is Central to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness


Inspired by the founders' Federalist Papers, a group of reformers have penned a series of essays exploring the role of cannabinoids in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
 "Cannabinoids are good." you heard that truth before? – It's something you will understand if you read any further.  You see, science is a truth conspiracy. It's a testing of reality and standing your ground when you find evidence.

In some ways, being American means confronting untruths. To voice "our" truth through language, to create a new set and setting, we turned to the founders and a collection of essays known as The Federalist Papers.

During 1787 and 1788, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote 85 essays in support of the US Constitution. They used the pen name "Publius" in honor of a famed Roman republican – someone they saw as a defender of liberty.

We became "Publius" for the same purpose: to make our sum greater than our individual parts. In doing so, we have created a series of 36 essays to detail the role of cannabinoids in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. We began releasing the essays online in 2009 and will conclude this fall. The essays will then be available in book form as The Cannabis Papers: a citizen's guide to cannabinoids.  

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness 

The so-called drug war is becoming better known as a war on citizens – a civil war. It has been a war with two distinct federal laws. The first was the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, which was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1966. Into this vacuum was sucked Nixon's contribution to 21st century drug policy: the 1970 Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. This law contains the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the law making herbal cannabinoids Schedule 1. This means in Bizarro World that herbal cannabinoids have no medical value.

Here we are in 2010 still living under Nixon's law. That is our history: our tomorrow is much different. That's because the tide has turned – and it's a scientific tide. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the science surrounding this remarkable biological modulator, have transformed the battlefield and the logic of the CSA. This is no longer a civil war: it has morphed into a war between science and ignorance.

Science is the language of Publius. As Madison, Hamilton and Jay detailed the workings of the US Constitution, piece-by-piece and Article-by-Article, we have given the same care and effort to describing the role of cannabinoids and the ECS in our bodies. We found that cannabinoids shared a strong characteristic from the founding period: the similarity is found in the famous phrase summing up the basic rights of free people – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It is no secret that many people think that there is a Life-giving quality to cannabis use. That is where we began – the anecdotal and lived cannabinoid experience. Since the 1970s, cannabis use has been defined by practice – some combination of the medical/patient model and the recreational/liberty model. We are describing something new – the idea that cannabinoids are necessary to life. The cannabis war will no longer be about use and ideology – about who is sick enough or free enough or responsible enough. What is new today is the science of cannabinoids – and you'll find it more than compelling and often mind-blowing.

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