Why isn't grass black

How harmful is smoking weed? Eva Hoch on legalization, addiction and opportunities for cannabis

now: Ms. Hoch, you have been researching cannabis for almost 15 years. Why is the discussion about the hemp plant in Germany so emotional?

Eva Hoch: The topic polarizes because cannabis can have so many different effects. It can relax, intoxicate, induce feelings of happiness, but also cause nausea, anxiety and paranoia. Seriously ill people may be able to relieve their symptoms with cannabis, for example chronic pain. And then there are also people whose cannabis use gets “out of control”, who develop harmful or dependent use. Cannabis as a medicine was legalized in Germany two years ago. But how should society deal with cannabis as a recreational drug? As in other European countries, we are also experiencing an intense debate here, which revolves around the keywords legalization, regulation, decriminalization and prohibition. Cannabis mobilizes voters, and cannabis can also make a lot of money. Everyone seems to have a different view of the substance. The social discussion is often more about interests than about scientific facts. Even when it comes to cannabis, not everything is black or white, good or bad. We see that when we deal scientifically with the substance and its effects. Cannabis research is still very young. For example, we didn't know until the 1990s that humans had an endogenous cannabis system.