For more than 10,000 years, humans have cultivated and harvested the cannabis plant, and it has had a wide number of applications throughout history. These range from making textiles to treating medical conditions. In recent years, it has attracted increasing global interest due to its potential health benefits – and this is especially true of one of the primary cannabinoids: cannabidiol (CBD). More and more scientists, researchers, and medical practitioners are recommending CBD to help relieve various conditions, including, but not limited to, epilepsy, chronic pain, inflammation-related diseases, skin problems, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
As a result, in many parts of the world, the legality of cannabis has come under scrutiny recently. In some areas, such as the majority of the states in the US, it is legal for controlled medical use, and a few states have even legalized it for recreational use. Even so, despite the relaxation of regulations and overall increased awareness of the possible benefits of the plant itself as well as its derivatives, many cultural taboos still remain. Unfortunately, these taboos have been present for a long time, and they’re not going to disappear overnight.
Why Do Cultural Taboos Around Cannabis Exist?
Most regulated or prohibited substances come with taboos as there will always be people who develop dependencies on them – which can often have adverse physical, behavioral, and societal effects. Moreover, people who use these substances are often emulated in popular culture in a way that highlights stereotypes and possibly even prohibits education on the subject. Take, for example, cannabis (or hemp, marijuana … anything associated with it). There have been countless (successful) movies made about people who like to consume marijuana, such as the “Pineapple Express” and “Cheech and Chong.” They tend to portray the stereotype of lazy, unmotivated (and sometimes unintelligent) people who contribute little to nothing to society. All this does is strengthen existing cultural taboos.
The Key to Breaking Taboos
As in most cases, the best way to break cultural taboos is through education – and this applies to cannabis consumption too. The more research and clinical studies conducted, the more information we have to go on. And the more this is freely circulated and discussed, the more normalized cannabis consumption will become. The truth is, there’s likely to be a lot more people out there – professional people who don’t fit the usual stereotype of a “weed smoker” – who consume it regularly, but they’re not ready to admit it yet. As John Hudak, author of Marijuana: A Short History, says, this era of legalization and education will convey a better reflection of the average cannabis smoker than the popular culture that we’ve all been exposed to for years. This will, in turn, help to break the cultural taboos that still exist in society.