There is a lot of hype about medical marijuana today. This is understandable, especially with so many US States legalizing.
However, the salient factor is that the more people talk about this topic, the more confusing the subject of medical marijuana becomes. To clear the air, this article will take a quick look at some common misconceptions that might (but shouldn't) scare away a potential medical marijuana user.
More state governments are legalizing its use as medicine because of the strong proof that it can help with many different conditions. These include arthritis, epilepsy, IBD, and different types of cancer, just to name a few. One of the reasons this plant is so versatile is that it's an effective pain reliever that can be used by people who suffer from all kinds of chronic aches.
If medical marijuana has such a broad applicability in medicine, why isn't it more widely used?
A lot of debate on whether or not to allow marijuana use in hospitals is based on the various misconceptions many have about this drug. Even as more people appreciate the benefits of using cannabis, it is still important to dispel any misinformation that prevents patients from enjoying its benefits. So, what are some of these misconceptions?
1. Marijuana does more damage to your lungs than tobacco
Most patients are afraid to use marijuana because they believe its smoke has the same, or even more adverse, effects on their lungs than cigarettes.
No one should argue that smoking marijuana has no negative effects on the health of your lungs, but you can find plentiful research that proves how cannabis does considerably less damage than tobacco.
Research done by the University of California in San Francisco is just one example from many that support the above statement.
One important factor that should not be overlooked when talking about this is the amount you consume. As is the case with tobacco, alcohol, and other similar substances, the more you use them, the higher your chances are of experiencing some negative repercussions, like damage to you pulmonary glands.
The good thing is that medical marijuana intake doesn’t require you to be a heavy user. If you still want to remove any possibility of damaging your lungs, you can always turn to other cannabis consumption methods.
2. Marijuana is a ‘gateway drug’
It is possible for a serious drug user to have used marijuana at some point. However, this doesn’t prove that the use of cannabis was the cause for abuse of another substance. Based on this publication by the National Academies Press, there is no decisive evidence that the effects of marijuana are in any way associated with consequent misuse of other illicit substances.
3. It will get you addicted
Unlike smoking cannabis for leisure, doctors will prescribe marijuana as medicine in controlled amounts. Just like any other pharmaceutical drugs, they will not recommend amounts that are harmful to general body function. Medical marijuana use is entirely different from recreational marijuana.
There is another way to look at it, though. According to the 2002 Petition to Reschedule Cannabis, as outlined on DrugScience, dependence liability for marijuana is actually less than 10%. Compared to other legal prescription drugs and alcohol and tobacco, use of marijuana is far less addictive. In the few cases where one is addicted to marijuana, the repercussions are not as severe as those related to addiction to opiates or alcohol.
4. You have to smoke it
Obviously, many people are hesitant about the idea of using marijuana as medication because they cannot imagine themselves or their loved ones smoking it.
The good news is that today, you can choose from a variety of consumption methods. You do not have to smoke. You can also vaporize, consume cannabis-infused snacks, take pills, or use patches, depending on the condition you want to treat.
5. Regular consumption will impair cognitive functions and lower your IQ
It is true that while you are intoxicated, cannabis may affect your cognitive functions like learning and memory, which is not that different from the situation when a person has one too many drinks.
These claims are supported by scientists who work on the #CannabisClaims campaign. In their summary report they say that “It’s also noteworthy that a systematic review of all longitudinal scientific studies on this topic found that the evidence did not support a causal relationship between cannabis use by young people and various psychosocial harms”.
They also don’t agree with the claim that cannabis use negatively impacts one’s IQ level. Their conclusion states that “the evidence that cannabis use is associated with declines in IQ is very weak.” So you do not have to be afraid that your controlled cannabis intake will have a long-term negative effect on your intelligence.
What is important to note is that the effects of cannabis will manifest differently from person to person. While it is true that marijuana isn’t completely safe, and that we need to do more research on some of the claims around it, some of the benefits of medical marijuana use are undeniable.
- Ian Lebowski, founder of BestPortableVaporizer, has been an avid vape enthusiast for close to a decade now. Originally working in quality control and testing, Ian has reviewed hundreds of vape products over the years. He now works directly with manufacturers on new product technologies.