21 century Mass Incarceration of African Americans
The prison system in the United States has now become a system that oppresses a particular race: black Americans.
It all started with the Attica Prison rebellion in 1971, when prisoners took over the facility for four days, giving the media footage of how life was like and how a majority of those incarcerated were black.
On live TV, police took back control, killing 43 inmates, according to Prison Policy.
Dartmouth University put it best: “the mass incarceration of black men is the result of a historically embedded racial caste system in America’s political, cultural, and social institutions that can be traced back to slavery”.
Whites in society relied on the free labor of blacks in order to have their own economic opportunity and prosperity, and although laws have put an end to de jure slavery, the incarceration system has institutionalized racism, which gives whites the chance to continue profiting from this advantage.
In other words, not only did imprisoning blacks became a way for society to enforce labor, but it also took out the chance for black Americans to rise up in society, stay employed, and have access to the same resources as white people.
But how did imprisoning more blacks became a reality?
Dartmouth outlines how it started with the “War on Drugs” under Nixon, where he “increased the power of federal drug control agencies, approved no-knock warrants, and magnified punishments for marijuana possession”.
Inner-city communities were policed much more heavily — the very communities where more blacks resided than whites.
It might have appeared like a war against drugs on paper, but the fighting was all happening where black Americans lived — just take a look at imprisonments for crack cocaine.
Dartmouth shares, “the penalties for crack cocaine were 100 times more severe than powder cocaine — more commonly associated with whites — even though their chemical effects are the same. This difference put disproportionate numbers of black men in prison”.
When Reagan took office, the measures became stricter and the number of black Americans behind bars rose and rose.
America began to fear that the country was full of communities with gangs, violence, and drugs, further allowing police to throw blacks behind bars without so much a thought as to the stems behind, not only why those communities were susceptible to certain drugs, but also why whites, who were using drugs, were left alone.
Then came President Clinton’s 1994 Violent Crime Control Act, a legislation that “increased federal spending on policemen and investigative lawyers, imposed tougher prison sentences, and opened new prisons”.
This directly lead to the reality of today, where “around half of all federal inmates are in prison for drug convictions, attributed to the anti-drug policies of the 70s, 80s, and 90s”, according to The Sentencing Project.
To this day, mass incarceration continues, due to the foundation set by government policies of the past.
Today, the US has the highest rate of incarcerations in the entire world, with scary statistics that prove there is prominent systemic racism influencing who is being thrown behind bars.
American Progress reports that black Americans are “five times more likely to be imprisoned than white Americans”, and “twice as likely as their white counterparts to have a family member imprisoned at some point during their childhood”.
The normalized culture of incarceration is arguably what makes it so scary, as generation after generation sits with lingering racism in the fabric of society — racism that gets people shoved behind bars and is not talked about.
A new CAP analysis found that “1 in 4 black Millennials had an incarcerated loved one before they even turned 18, and for “those born in the early 1990s, the rate is almost 1 in 3”.
And it gets scarier.
The NAACP reports, “a criminal record can reduce the likelihood of a callback or job offer by nearly 50%” and the “negative impact of a criminal record is twice as large for African American applicants” — ultimately showing that mass incarceration contributes to the further cycle of economic oppression of black Americans.
The statistics are right here — perhaps it is time we read them, understand them, empathize with them and take action.
Is Marijuana a CNS Depressant?
Marijuana is a drug that people often use recreationally and also call it to weed. However, some even use it for medicinal purposes to cope with symptoms of chronic conditions. It can have depressant effects, but it is not a depressant. Also, it can act as a hallucinogen or stimulant.
It contains delta-9- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical that alters the mental state of the person who uses marijuana. Consuming, vaping, or smoking weed or marijuana can affect each person differently. It can have a strong depressant effect for many and may not on others. Different strains and types of plants can have a different effect on the mind and body.
When a person uses marijuana, his stomach and lungs absorb THC in the bloodstream. This absorbed THC moves to the brain and other parts of the body. When it reaches the brain, it acts on brain cell receptors causing stimulant, hallucinogenic, and depressant effects.
Marijuana or hemp is similar to alcohol as it contains both depressant and stimulant properties, as suggested by the National Institutes of Health in a publication. The side effects of marijuana begin quickly and also last longer than alcohol.
Many of the cannabinoids present in marijuana can cause side effects, just like depressants. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has categorized marijuana as a psychoactive drug, with hallucinogen effects. Hence, marijuana is used widely across the globe as a powerful hallucinogen, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
What are Psychoactive Drugs?
A psychoactive drug is a substance that has the potential to change the brain functions of a person. This type of mind-altering or recreational drug can lead to shifts in mood, perception, level of awareness, consciousness, and cognitive behavior or functioning.
Regular marijuana consumption, especially higher doses, can cause unpleasant thoughts, disorientation, feelings of paranoia, or anxiety. It can affect emotions, attention, learning ability, coordination, decision-making, memory, and reaction time of a person.
Excessive usage can also interfere with work, daily functioning, relationship, and other regular activities. As these psychoactive substances are rewarding and have potential drug abuse, they can reinforce drug-seeking behaviors in the consumers, which can lead to addiction and dependence on these products.
What are CNS Depressants?
CNS Depressants are substances that can slow or depress the central nervous system of a person. The Central Nervous system consists of the spinal cord and brain. The system is a complex network of nerves and neurons, which send messages or signals to all the parts of the body.
CNS Depressants slow down the rate of regular activities occurring in the spinal cord and brain by slowing or depressing the rate at which the nerves of the body sends the signal. Depressants increase the amount of neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the body, which hampers the transmission of signals in the nervous system.
Sleep medications, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates are three common types of CNS depressant drugs. Prescription drugs like Valium and Xanax are used for the treatment of medical conditions like insomnia, anxiety, and seizures. Generally, these medications are safe and effective only when used as per prescription and for appropriate medical conditions.
Even though marijuana can cause effects similar to CNS depressants, it cannot be considered as a CNS depressant. The main reason for the sedative effect of marijuana is its ability to increase the level of dopamine in the body. However, marijuana doesn’t affect the level of neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid in the body.
A study conducted in the year 2016 has clearly indicated that the initial use of marijuana can increase the levels of dopamine in the body. However, long-term use of the drug can affect the level of neurotransmitter release. When the level of dopamine in the body goes down to normal, the user may experience low energy and lethargy. On the other hand, consistent use of the drug can cause the effects of CNS depressants.
Risks associated with CNS Depressants
Risks of CNS depressants include addiction and dependence. When depressant is misused or taken for long-term, the risks associated are even higher. Consuming CNS depressants to achieve a high can cause dangerous and severe side effects.
When consumers combine these drugs with other substances, it can lead to CNS depression or sleepiness. Overdose can result in a significant slowdown of breathing and heart rate of a person, which in turn can lead to deadly consequences that need emergency medical attention.
Depression and Marijuana
Specific evidence for the role of marijuana in causing depression is lacking. There is only limited research on the drug due to its classification into the Schedule I category. However, some studies have shown that marijuana’s high dose can aggravate depression. People who are suffering from depression may use weed or marijuana to numb or lighten the negative feelings. Similarly, people who use marijuana may feel depressed due to the CNS depressant effects of marijuana.
The CNS depressant effect of marijuana includes:
- The lesser feeling of anxiousness
- Aiding sleep
- Reducing insomnia
However, with long term use and overdose of marijuana, a person can experience side effects like:
- Slurred speech
- Memory problems
- Slow breathing
- Poor concentration levels
- Loss of interest
- Dependency and addiction to marijuana
It needs to be noted that the classification of a drug as a CNS depressant is different from the potential effect of the drug on depression. A drug that can depress the central nervous system of your body doesn’t cause depression symptoms like insomnia, loss of interest, or sadness unless the drug is used chronically for an extended duration.
Marijuana to treat Depression
Recent studies have shown that controlled use of marijuana or medicinal products derived from marijuana can help relieve symptoms of depression. The studies have shown the correlation between marijuana and depression depends directly on the amount and duration of use.
In 2014, the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs had published clinical research that showed the use of marijuana is associated with reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The research showed that, on average, 75 percent of symptoms of PTSD were reduced with effective use of marijuana. However, scientists feel that there is a need for more research to account for variables.
Cannabis Universities Research: How does it help?
Cannabis is an important subject to initiate a strong debate among researchers, policymakers, scientists, doctors, and the public. There is a consistent debate on the safety and legal status of medical marijuana. Researchers, government, and users have different questions about their uses.
Marijuana is legal in almost 29 states of the USA, along with Washington, DC. From the perspective of the federal government, this drug is illegal. In the landscape of research, cannabis is a complicated drug.
Research on cannabis shows its benefits for patients with chronic pain, cancer, and anxiety. The U.S. research may remain bottlenecked because of the restrictions on the Sativa plant. To find out the effects of cannabis, research is continued in different universities. Here are some significant research findings.
Least Controversial Extract
CBD aka cannabidiol is the least controversial extract from the hemp plant. This component has limited intoxicating properties. Remember, marijuana has over 100 active compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Keep it in mind that THC chemicals can make you high. Strains with CBD dominance may have no THC or little THC. For this reason, patients may report minor alternation in consciousness. Patients may report several advantages of CBD, such as relieving anxiety, spasticity, insomnia, and treating life-threatening conditions.
Remember, epilepsy is a dangerous condition, but marijuana strain with CBD can dramatically improve this disease. The cannabis research universities investigate the possible impacts of CBD for smoking cessation.
Beckley Foundation is analyzing the terpene, flavonoid, and cannabinoid content on cannabis strains. They are trying to produce new medicines to optimize particular health conditions. University College London is using advanced brain-imaging technology.
With this technology, they are comparing the effects of cannabis strains, such as low CBD and high THC content. Research of London King College revealed anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety properties of CBD.
Proven Health Benefits of Cannabidiol
CBD is famous for different health issues but has strong scientific evidence for its efficiency in the treatment of cruelest epilepsy childhood syndromes. These syndromes include LGS (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome) and Dravet Syndrome. Patients of these syndromes may not respond to anti-seizure drugs.
Several studies prove that CBD can decrease seizures and stop them. Epidiolex is an FDA approved medicine containing CBD. Remember, the use of cannabis is common to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other diseases. No doubt, CBD has properties to improve your sleep.
The uses of CBD are common for the treatment of chronic pain. After applying CBD on your skin, you can decrease inflammation and pain of arthritis. With a special mechanism, CBD can inhibit neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Keep it in mind that these two pains are tough to treat.
Research on the Safety of Cannabidiol
The benefits of cannabidiol don’t mean it is free from side effects. The common harmful effects of this herb are irritability, fatigue, and nausea. CBD may increase the Coumadin (blood thinner) in your body. It may increase the level of a particular medicine in your blood.
The major safety concern about CBD is its sale as a supplement. It is not available as an FDA-approved medicine. Unfortunately, FDA is not regulating the purity and safety of the dietary supplement. In this situation, it is difficult to find out if your product has active ingredients.
Medical Cannabis Research and Education Course
The University of Colorado has launched a cannabis education program in the supervision of Professor Kent Hutchison. Interested people can take this course through their official website. Fortunately, the education and research center of C.U. is a multidisciplinary and rigorous center.
They are famous for developing evidence-based knowledge for cannabis. This research will offer empirical data to improve the lives of people suffering from different diseases. Their diverse center faculty examines the impacts of cannabis at the behavioral, dynamic social system, neutral, molecular, and genetic levels.
These types of courses focus on pain management approaches and the role of cannabis on the opiate epidemic. It is crucial to study the impact of hemp use on PTSD individuals or several other psychological disorders.
In short, a few manufacturers of CBD face government scrutiny for indefensible wild claims. They claim that CBD can completely cure cancer. This claim is invalid because researchers are working on the properties of this plant.
If you want to use CBD for any underlying condition, make sure to consult your doctor. It can save you from possible troubles.
What You Need To Know About Hemp Extraction
Did you know that Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the fastest-growing industries around the world? Many companies are engaged in the production, manufacture, and distribution of CBD. As such, it is not a surprise why there is also an increasing number of lands dedicated to growing cannabis plants. It is essential to note that most CBD products are primarily sourced from hemp.
In this article, we are going to talk about the basic things that you need to know about hemp extraction. Take note that there is a need to understand the different processes involved in extracting CBD oil, which has become an in-demand product in various marketplaces. As a consumer, it is crucial to know more about hemp extraction so that you will become better when it comes to selecting the right product for you based on the compliance on certain procedures.
Hemp: CBD Oil Extractions
Before anything else, you must first learn that hemp is different from marijuana. As such, these terms must not be used interchangeably to avoid confusion from the public. The importance of this distinction is with respect to the classification of hemp as excluded from the prohibited substances under the law. It means that hemp extraction is absolutely legal and does not violate any substantive law. Hemp has less THC, making it an ideal source for CBD oil extraction.
Nonetheless, there is a necessity to emphasize that for hemp to be considered as legal under the existing laws, it must contain less than 0.3% THC. Otherwise, its extraction may be punishable under the law. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that hemp products come in different forms. You can buy hemp seed and hemp seed oil in various supermarkets or stores anywhere in the states. However, these items are way different from hemp oil extract, which contains cannabidiol.
Benefits of Hemp Extract
As you probably know by now, hemp extract is taken from the part of the hemp plant that has a high level of cannabidiol considerably. There are several known benefits for the hemp extract. Take note that hemp extract is synonymous with CBD oil. It must not also be confused with hemp seed oil.
Many athletes prefer to use CBD oil due to its anti-inflammatory benefits. For people who are constantly engaged in sports and other physical tendencies, they tend to feel exhausted most of the time and may suffer from sore muscles. They may also be exposed to the risk of experiencing joint pains. With the help of CBD oil, all these medical complications are minimized or eliminated.
Chronic pain, which may last not only for more than six months to one year but even for a longer period, can also be reduced with the use of CBD oil. This fact has already been proven in recent medical case studies conducted as early as 2012 by the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
There is also a growing number of CBD oil or hemp extract users who claim that they have experienced low levels of anxiety since they started using the product. This only goes to show that the product is also effective in treating multiple anxiety disorders. However, it must be noted that just like any form of medications available, the CBD oil or hemp extract must be used moderately.
Understanding Hemp Extraction
There are three essential things that you need to consider when it comes to hemp extraction.
First of all, the equipment used must be designed primarily for the process of extracting CBD oil from the hemp plant. Second, the facility where the equipment is placed must also be capable of processing and handling the extraction solvent. Take note that the solvent may be exposed to contamination. Third, the final product must be safe for human consumption.
Because of all these, it is crucial to choose the best supplier or manufacturer of CBD oil products in the market. Make a conscious effort to verify the details as to how the end product was extracted. Be a responsible user of CBD oil products to ensure that you will not experience any inconvenience or problem along the way. It is also best to consult with a medical professional.