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Like industrial hemp, medical cannabis suffers from lots of misinformation too. Not only is this inconvenient for consumers but downright stereotyping. One of the dangers of spreading medical cannabis myths downplays the years of hard work researchers put into destigmatising these myths. Today, we’re busting 10 of those myths. 

 

1. Medical cannabis is a gateway drug

For some mystifying reason, in the 70s, cannabis was dubbed as a “gateway drug [1].” A gateway drug is a substance that leads to more drug use and encourages the user to explore more drug options.  

This is not true. In fact, cannabis is being curated nowadays as an alternative to opioids. In a 2017 research by Amanda Reiman and team, an overwhelming number of respondents who have been taking opioid-based pain medication said cannabis’s relieving effect is at par with opioids but without the latter’s adverse effects [2]. 

2. Legalising medical cannabis increases crime rate 

According to the 2017 version of the “Journal of Urban Economics,” closing medical cannabis dispensaries increases crimes compared to when they’re open and legally available to the public [3]. 

 Logically speaking, if the government aims to keep a substance in control, legalising it would give them more power on the distributions and operations of cannabis rather than leaving it in the unregulated hands of the black market.  

3. Overdosing medical cannabis results in death 

Overdose cases on cannabis are uncommon. Even if cannabis overdose does happen, death is even rarer. According to a 2020 study on cannabis-related deaths, “no deaths were due to direct cannabis toxicity” for now [4]. 

4. Medical cannabis can cause cancer 

A 2006 study from the University of California Los Angeles finished the study reporting that heavy marijuana use does not lead to cancer.  

 In a feature from the Washington Post, the lead author said, “We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use.” What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.” [5] 

5. Medical cannabis leads to addiction

Researchers from the University of Mississippi found some evidence that cannabis’s cannabinoid, CBD (cannabidiol) can address the increase of opioid medication abuse and addiction effectively [6]. 

6. The United Nations has banned medical cannabis 

This is a myth that apparently started in a United Nations (UN) Report of 1961. Some people are still confused on the real stance of the UN with cannabis, but the report explicitly says, “the use of cannabis for other than medical and scientific purposes must be discontinued [7].” 

7. Medical cannabis results in excessive use of cannabis among teenagers 

In 2013, Columbia University analysed the relationship between the availability of cannabis and the alleged excessive use of cannabis. While they found an increase in use among adults, they see no difference in teenagers aged 12–17 and 18–25 [8]. 

8. Medical cannabis is “NSFW” (Not safe for the workplace) 

Not all medical cannabis is intoxicating, but those with THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, a psychoactive compound, might be prohibited in an office setting. 

9. Medical cannabis’s therapeutic effects aren’t based on science

Cannabis’s healing power is not an old wives’ tale, at least, not anymore. The plant’s therapeutic effects are well documented. Hundreds of peer-review studies are published featuring its name [9] and hundreds more on clinical and animal-based studies.  

10. Medical cannabis causes long-term damage to the brain

This seems unlikely as most of the active phytocompounds found in cannabis are antioxidants or have neuroprotective ability [10], which means they can deter brain cell damage. A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience reported that cannabis could even encourage the growth of new and healthy neurons [11].  

 Disclaimer: This is not an inducement to use Medicinal Cannabis. Medical Cannabis doesn’t work for everyone, and it may not work for you. How Cannabis affects a person depends on many things, including their size, weight, age and health, dosage and tolerance, and the results can vary. Some people may experience side effects when taking Cannabinoid medication. The information provided by CDA Clinics is for educational and informational purposes only. For medical advice, please check with your doctor and request a referral. 

Endnotes: 

 1.Noall, R. R. 2017. 10 Medical Cannabis Myths Busted. Available at: https://herb.co/news/health/medical-cannabis-myths-busted/

2.Reiman, A. 2017. Cannabis as a Substitute for Opioid-Based Pain Medication: Patient Self-Report. Available at: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/can.2017.0012

3.Chang, T and Jacobson, M. 2017. Going to pot? The impact of dispensary closures on crime. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0094119017300281?via%3Dihub

4.Zahra, E. et al. 2020. Rates, characteristics and manner of Cannabis-related deaths in Australia 2000–2018. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376871620301939

5.Kaufman, M. 2006. Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501729.html

6.Markos, J. 2017. Cannabidiol Mitigates Opioid Reward on Conditioned Place Preference In Mice. Available at: http://thesis.honors.olemiss.edu/781/1/Markos_SMBHC%20Thesis%20Final_4.2.17.pdf

7.United Nations. 1961. Single Convention On Narcotic Drugs, 1961. Available at: https://www.unodc.org/pdf/convention_1961_en.pdf

8.Gothrinet, S. 2016. Medical Marijuana Laws Not Turning Teens Into ” Stoners.” Available at: https://hempgazette.com/news/teen-cannabis-use-hg0246/

9.Hemp Gazette. N.D. 10 Medical Cannabis Myths Busted. Available at: https://hempgazette.com/medical-cannabis/marijuana-medicine-myths/ 

10.PA Cannabis News. N.D. Medical Marijuana: Weeding Out Truth from Fiction. Available at: https://www.pacannabisnews.com/patients/myths/

11.Jiang, W. et al. 2005. Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1253627/