Cannabis is no longer thought of as an illicit drug, but a useful, versatile tool in the medicinal field. Nevertheless, plenty of longstanding medical marijuana myths continue to exist, which we will explore in this article.
What Are Some Common Medical Marijuana Myths?
The burgeoning recreational cannabis industry has been all the talk over the past couple of years. However, there arguably wouldn’t be a renaissance of the plant without the presence of medical marijuana. The advent of medical marijuana has opened the door for the plant, as a whole, to make a resurgence in the public eye.
Surprisingly, considering the increasing legality of the plant, there is no shortage of medical marijuana myths. Let’s take a look and debunk some of the most prevalent myths surrounding medical marijuana.
You Have to Smoke it
One of the most misguided medical marijuana myths is that you have to smoke it like traditional marijuana. This is most certainly not the case, as there are plenty of ways to consume the plant without actually causing damage to your lungs—a fairly common-sense side effect of smoking anything.
Patients can opt for edibles (where they’re legal), or a variety of tinctures, oils, and even THC pills. You can also vape your marijuana, but the jury is still out on vaping as a whole. But studies have shown, at least up to this point, that vaping is a healthier option to traditional smoking.
It’s a Last Resort for Doctors
Considering the fact that medical marijuana is fairly new—at least in the scope of modern medicine—many believe that doctors don’t like recommending it. However, this isn’t the case; there are plenty of doctors who are very pro-marijuana. In fact, many believe it’s a much better alternative to some traditional medicine like opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines. Both of which are highly addictive prescription pills in their own respective cases.
Medical groups and research institutions have bought into medical marijuana. In 2013, acclaimed neurosurgeon and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta certainly brought things to light when he released his documentary, WEED. The show depicted his radical change in opinion regarding the once-taboo plant. Clearly, many within the medicinal field agree with his sentiments, too.
It’s Super Addictive
For decades, people (or at least, those who never actually consumed the plant) considered marijuana a highly-addictive substance. This isn’t necessarily the case. In the scope of other physically addictive drugs like opioids, alcohol, and tobacco, it certainly presents itself as a “lesser of all evils” type choice. Heavy smokers will experience some light withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping. But these minor nuisances only tend to last a few days. For hardcore tokers, these symptoms can last a couple of weeks. Regardless, cannabis withdrawal symptoms certainly won’t kill you. To put it in a better scope, the effects are similar, if not lesser, to that of a regular coffee drinker giving up caffeine.
Unless you consider laughing too much or being a little glutenous from time-to-time dangerous, medical marijuana is one of the safest medications out there. Again, this is contingent on whether or not you’re smoking it. But with all of the ways you can ingest medicinal cannabis, there really are no physical risks associated with it.
Look no further than this statistic—not a single person has ever died from a marijuana overdose.
While increased THC use can have some negative side effects, there really is no evidence that it’s a dangerous drug. Conversely, opioids kill, on average, around 115 Americans every single day, and doctors continue handing those out left and right. In the broader scope of modern medication, medicinal cannabis is actually one of the safest.
THC Is the Only Type of Medicine
If you’re still leery about consuming medicinal marijuana because of the psychoactive effects of THC, you can opt for something that doesn’t, well, get you stoned. While there are over 100 different notable cannabinoids in the plant which contain both medicinal and holistic benefits, the most popular remains cannabidiol, or CBD.
CBD—the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant—serves as a prolific form of medical marijuana that won’t actually make you high. There are plenty of noteworthy benefits of CBD. For instance, it’s proven to be a great option for those suffering from anxiety, depression, and a few other mental disorders. On the physical side of things, CBD can help fight inflammatory disease, chronic pain, and seizures, amongst others. The United States recently legalized CBD in all 50 states, potentially opening a gateway for the full cannabis plant in the near future.
There is not Enough Research About it
Another of the common medical marijuana myths is that we don’t know nearly enough about the plant’s medicinal benefits due to lack of research. Yes, one can argue that its incumbent legal status in certain countries (most notably, the United States, where it is still considered a Schedule I narcotic) has impacted the way it has been studied. Nonetheless, there has already been a sizable number of studies that have proven its a viable form of medication.
Other countries, such as Spain, Brazil, and Israel have conducted incredibly impactful studies that have resonated with other nations. The United States, despite marijuana’s aforementioned federal status, have also conducted plenty of clinical trials, and legalized a number of cannabis-based pharmaceutical drugs that are, for the most part, accessible in the 33 legalized states and District of Columbia.
And of course, there is Canada, which has legalized the plant in full capacity. Clearly, there were enough studies to warrant that monumental decision.
Marijuana research clearly hasn’t reached its apex. However, plenty of evidence exists to suggest it is a viable form of medication for patients around the globe.