Homegrown in Maine: Dispelling common myths about marijuana

  • Written by John Reily
  • Published in Columns
While cannabis continues to make strides towards mainstream acceptance, it has long been the most misunderstood drug – pharmaceutical or illegal, and many cannabis myths still ring loud.  The amount of rumors and hearsay surrounding this controversial herb have been prevalent for decades, from as far back as reefer madness in the 30’s, up through to current D.A.R.E. programs (Not to say D.A.R.E. doesn’t do it’s good, but cannabis should be left out of that teaching entirely as associating cannabis with dangerous drugs is a misstep in properly educating people on its amazing benefits and further medicinal potential). Cannabis patients enjoyed a great number of triumphs in the year 2016, but here are some surviving cannabis tropes that should be cashed quickly. 
 
Myth #1: The underplaying of the wide array of medicinal benefits cannabis provides.
It took quite a while for the mainstream media to accept and endorse the amazing medicinal benefits cannabis provides. In fact, I would argue the MSM was dragged kicking and screaming into cannabis acceptance. This is why I like to remind people of the US Government filing a patent on cannabinoids. This patent was filed due to antioxidant and neuroprotective capabilities of the cannabinoids. When was this patent filed? Back on April 21st, 1999. (Ironic calendar day there, were they too busy to file on the 20th?) The medicinal properties have long been known. A national survey conducted in 2014 saw a large number of doctors agreeing on the medicinal power of cannabis. The majority agreed the herb should be fully legalized. At least on the medicinal level.
With tons of new developments occurring rapidly as social acceptance grows, this stigma is slowly being torn away. And rightfully so. Just look at our recent article about recent developments pertaining to Cannabis and Huntington’s Disease. Or this article about how useful cannabis proves for insomniacs. And the benefits are so much wider: the inhibiting of growth in cancer, the relief it provides those suffering from epilepsy, the alternative it offers to those who need to manage pain, as opposed to habit forming opioids.
 
Myth #2: Cannabis effectively fights anxiety 60% of the time, every time.
I’m not saying that there aren’t people using cannabis to combat anxiety. In fact, I personally use cannabis to alleviate stress frequently. But it can also have the reverse effect and cause more anxiety. This is why it is important to medicate responsibly. But some times you might over-medicate. The psychoactive effects of THC might lead you to feel even MORE anxiety. There are ways to chill out, fortunately. The fact is, we all operate differently. What works for some might not work for others. This is why it is very important to tread lightly as a beginner. You have to test and experiment to see what works best for you. Some people prefer tincture. Others find edibles to be most effective. And still others like to dab, while for some dabbing might be too intense. The context of when and why you are medicating play an important role, as well. Medicating after a long work week is much different than smoking because you lost your car keys and are late for work. It will likely cause MORE anxiety in that scenario. Cannabis is not a surefire ticket to anxiety free days.
Myth #3: Cannabis use causes cancer.
 
There is no 100% verification that cannabis does not cause cancer. Studies have offered varied stances on this for years. There is no definitive answer at this time. Cannabis smoke contains carcinogens, much like tobacco. Now if these carcinogens DO eventually cause cancer, it would still be a fallacy to say “Cannabis causes cancer.” A more accurate statement would be “Smoking cannabis can eventually cause cancer.” Because alternative treatments are available. A cannabis tincture isn’t going to be laced with carcinogens. A vaporizer effectively blocks 95% of them by regulating the heat. (So throw out the junk from your vape after you’re done, that’s basically just the left over junk! Don’t put that in a bowl, it’s the equivalent of drinking bong water.)  Also, what of CBD’s effect of inhibiting the growth of cancer? I watched a friend use cannabis oil and saw her skin cancer lesion (that surgery couldn’t take care of) disappear.
This is still an area that needs more research. Some cancer patients going through chemotherapy even get cannabis oil prescribed to help them with the side-effects of that treatment. There’s a lot of contradictions, surely. But what we CAN agree on, is even IF smoking cannabis causes cancer in the long term, eating it most certainly does not.
 
 
John Reily works for Canna Care Docs, a division of MedEVal Corp., qualifies patients into medical marijuana programs in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Last modified onWednesday, 15 February 2017 21:28