Why More Americans Are Getting High This 4th Of July
The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened anxiety for many people. The thought of contracting the debilitating illness etched a new sense of fear and stress into our mentality. Thankfully, with the implementation of multiple vaccines, the pandemic seems to be winding down - but the sense of anxiety has not.
A new form of anxiousness is abounding with life returning back to normal. We have spent the better part of a year viewing the people around us as potential carriers of COVID - a danger - and, no matter how much we’ve wanted offices, businesses and more to open up, that feeling likely won’t abate at the drop of a hat. If you’re feeling nervous or stressed about the return to daily routines and being around people, you’re not alone, and this is normal!
Cannabis has become increasingly popular over alcohol and other commonly used de-stressors due to its calming effects and fewer health-related risks. As you might expect, many people have turned to marijuana to relieve their pandemic and post-pandemic stress. For many people, marijuana has been their saving grace during this stressful period.
The 4th of July is the first large group-gathering holiday since COVID restrictions have eased. Cannabis and the 4th of July are bound to be linked together in this post-pandemic world, for a few key reasons. But first, let’s dive into the fascinating history of hemp and its role in America’s beginnings and independence.
The Patriotic History of Hemp
This might come as a surprise, but the hemp plant has a deep-rooted history within the foundation of the United States. Here are five ways that hemp has played an integral role in the forming and continued growth of the United States:
Hemp seeds were brought over in the early 1600s from England for farmers to grow. The plant itself has as many uses - if not more - as cotton, as it is used for the production of sails, ropes, clothing, and various other textile products. There was even a time when hemp plant leaves were accepted as a legal form of tender if someone didn’t have paper currency on them, as paper money was rare in the early founding of our nation.
Drafts and Fabric
The original parchment used for the Declaration of Independence was created from animal skins, but the two drafts that came before it were written on hemp parchment. In fact, hemp paper has been used since 150 BC and was one of the most used sources of parchment in the early foundation of the country. Fabric was also made out of the plant, out of which almost all of the earliest American flags were made.
Many of the founding fathers actually grew hemp plants, although it’s unknown whether they consumed them by smoking or orally, or if they even know of the properties of THC. Virtually every part of the plant can be used, which is an extremely rare feature that makes the industrialized crop perfect for almost any farmer to invest in, our country’s founders included.
During WWII, the country’s citizens abandoned everything to help the war efforts. It might seem a little dramatic to us now, but back then everything and everyone was supporting the war efforts. People would even have to take turns going to fill up gas only one day out of the week based on the number of the license plate on your car. Food was rationed and many jobs were supporting the industrialization of the country. The government eventually pleaded to farmers to plant more hemp for their soldiers, using slogans like “Hemp for Victory” as a rallying call. Clothes, blankets, tents, flags, oil, and many other products needed to support the war effort required more of the plant to be grown.
Present-day PTSD Management Tool
Over 6,000 veterans commit suicide each year, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ most recent annual survey. That’s 16 people a day - people who believed in this country enough to dedicate their lives to the betterment of it. Hemp-derived CBD and medical cannabis are playing a pivotal role in PTSD symptom management, with veterans reported a decrease in intrusive thoughts, alterations in mood and hyperarousal. Despite the preliminary and anecdotal evidence, many veterans are restricted from consuming marijuana, either out of loyalty to the federal government or due to the regularly scheduled drug tests that are required for those taking opioids and their alternatives. Hopefully, with more research, the VA will change their stance on the discussion or prescribing of medical cannabis.
Hemp has and continues to play an integral role in the wellbeing of the country, with cannabis forging its own wellness path parallel (and often overlapping) to that of hemp. With all of this in mind, it’s not hard to see why people are choosing cannabis to celebrate our country’s independence.
Why Marijuana Over Alcohol
Compared to alcohol, marijuana is a safer, healthier, and non-addictive source for anti-depressive effects. Long-term health risks are an added risk in long-term or heavy consumption of alcohol, including:
- Liver disease
- Stomach and digestive issues
- Central nervous system damage
- Erectile dysfunction
More than just these long-term effects, it’s also an addictive substance. Overcoming alcohol addiction is extremely challenging, and withdrawal can be life-threatening. Cannabis, on the other hand, has shown to be non-addictive (with the exception of mental dependence), with little to no long-term effects - though more research is needed, particularly when comparing the number of studies on alcohol vs. cannabis.
Millennials, especially, have made the switch from alcohol to cannabis where available due to its cost-effectiveness when compared to buying drinks at a local bar - and the lack of hangover. In fact, according to a study published in 2017 that analyzed alcohol sales between 2006 and 2015, alcohol sales were down 15% in states where cannabis is legalized medically. When all of these details are examined, it’s no wonder that many people have started to consume the plant over alcohol.
What Strains to Smoke on the 4th
If you’re looking for a happy effect from your cannabis strain in addition to symptom relief for this Independence Day, you’re in luck! We’ve prepared a list of the top strains in Florida that our patients have reported create a feeling of happiness, and are efficacious in quelling symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and/or irritability according to our Strainprint Patient Pioneers. Efficacy is measured in the Strainprint app by measuring symptom level before and after medicating.
While the terms indica/sativa/hybrid are becoming outdated in the cannabis space (more on that soon), they are the terms most associated with strain effects. Here are some of the top strains for happiness in each category:
Sativa strains are associated with cerebral highs, and often described as providing uplifting effects.
Depression – 72%
Anxiety – 53%
Stress – 69%
Anxiety – 50%
Stress – 56%
Anxiety - 56%
Irritability - 60%
Indica strains are typically associated with more relaxed, sedating effects, often described as “couchlock.”
Anxiety – 58%
Stress – 59%
Depression – 66%
Anxiety – 60%
Irritability – 70%
Anxiety – 57%
Stress – 63%
Hybrids are a combination of indica and sativa genetics, often allowing them to produce more balanced effects.
Anxiety – 61%
Depression – 62%
Stress – 60%
Anxiety – 55%
Depression - 51%
*Data self-reported by Florida Patients via Strainprint
Cannabis Continues To Be Celebrated
Expect to see more and more people including cannabis as part of their 4th of July celebrations, especially as more states legalize its use for medical and recreational purposes - and as they run discounts to celebrate (check back for ours on July 3rd!). No matter where you are in the country, it’s clear marijuana is something that has become an integral part of our collective, overall wellbeing. And, we think that’s worth celebrating!