The Debate over Cannabis has ensued for many years, but it seems the truth is finally coming to light. Scientists, doctors and Cannabis Connoisseurs have begun to shed light on the truths regarding this wild plant and people are listening.
Marijuana is the word used to describe the dried flowers, seeds and leaves of the Indian hemp plant. On the street, it is called by many other names, such as: astro turf, bhang, dagga, dope, ganja, grass, hemp, home grown, J, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, roach, Texas tea and weed. Cannabis is a broader term used to describe the entire category of plants that come from Indian hemp.
Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint), but may also be smoked in a pipe. It is becoming more and more common for it to be mixed with food and eaten or brewed as tea for drinking. In very recent years, we have seen a boom in the medibles market and with the plant’s strong ties to health benefits, many more people are willing to try a “pot brownie” than ever before.
Here are just a few of the most common myths about Cannabis and the truth behind them:
MYTH #1: There is a serious drug problem in this country!
The truth is, our public policy needs to better address this issue with health and science-based educational programs, and by providing more accessible treatment to those who are drug-dependent. Unfortunately, the bulk of America’s anti-drug efforts and priorities remain fixated on arresting and jailing drug consumers – particularly recreational marijuana smokers.
Since 1990, over 7.2 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges, more than the populations of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wyoming combined. Nearly 90 percent of these arrests were for simple possession, not cultivation or sale.
MYTH #2: Smoked marijuana leads to changes in the brain similar to those caused by the use of cocaine and heroin.
Allegations that marijuana smoking alters brain function or has long-term effects on cognition are reckless and scientifically unfounded. Federally sponsored population studies conducted in Jamaica, Greece and Costa Rica found no significant differences in brain function between long-term smokers and non-users. Similarly, a 1999 study of 1,300 volunteers published in The American Journal of Epidemiology reported “no significant differences in cognitive decline between heavy users, light users, and nonusers of cannabis” over a 15-year period. More recently, a meta-analysis of neuropsychological studies of long-term marijuana smokers by the National Institute on Drug Abuse reaffirmed this conclusion. In addition, a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in April 2002 reported that even former heavy marijuana smokers experience no negative measurable effects on intelligence quotient.
Most recently, researchers at Harvard Medical School performed magnetic resonance imaging on the brains of 22 long-term cannabis users (reporting a mean of 20,100 lifetime episodes of smoking) and 26 controls (subjects with no history of cannabis use). Imaging displayed “no significant differences” between heavy cannabis smokers compared to controls. “These findings are consistent with recent literature suggesting that cannabis use is not associated with structural changes within the brain as a whole or the hippocampus in particular,” authors concluded.
Is that enough support for you?
MYTH #3: Marijuana makes people violent!
This one dates back to the 1930’s when our corporate run government began its smear campaign against the hemp industry to protect profits. To date, no credible research has shown marijuana use to play a causal factor in violence, aggression or delinquent behavior, dating back to former President Richard Nixon’s “First Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse” in 1972, which concluded, “In short, marijuana is not generally viewed by participants in the criminal justice community as a major contributing influence in the commission of delinquent or criminal acts.
If anything, it makes you chill out!
MYTH #4: Marijuana is a gateway drug.
Hogwash! The Canadian Senate’s 2002 study: “Cannabis: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy,” “Cannabis itself is not a cause of other drug use. This finding concurs with the conclusions of the US National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine 1999 study, which stated that marijuana is not a “gateway drug to the extent that it is a cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse. (The IOM further noted that underage smoking and alcohol abuse typically precede marijuana use.) Statistically, for every 104 Americans who have tried marijuana, there is only one regular user of cocaine, and less than one user of heroin, according to annual data compiled by the Federal National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.
For the overwhelmingly majority of smokers, pot is a ‘terminus’ rather than a gateway.
MYTH #5: Marijuana is not medicine.
This allegation is a lie, plain and simple. According to a 2001 national survey of US physicians conducted for the American Society of Addiction Medicine, nearly half of all doctors with an opinion on the subject support legalizing marijuana as a medicine. Moreover, no less than 80 state and national health care organizations – including the American Public Health Association, The American Nurses Association, and The New England Journal of Medicine– support immediate, legal patient access to medical marijuana. The medical community’s support for medical marijuana is not based on “pseudo-science,” but rather on the reports of thousands of patients and scores of scientific studies affirming marijuana’s therapeutic value.
Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief – particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) – nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuro-protective. And even more recent findings show that CBD, the additional chemical agent found in the plant, can cause cancer cells to DIE! Yes folks, cannabis may even cure cancer!