Does marijuana actually treat cancer? Is it the most promising safe substance in the future of pain medication? Well, the answers to these questions and many more are still unclear as they were decades ago. The only thing we know is that cannabis products have been legalized in more countries than before and that the industry is now worth billions of dollars. Those for and against the use of cannabis and its products are nearly matched, with each side presenting evidence to support their claims. The result is these myths and facts about the centuries-old herb.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
The research on the number of users that actually become clinically dependent on marijuana is grey because there is an argument that most of the addicts never seek help in the first place. Existing research shows that it is possible to get dependent on marijuana though and that at least 9% of heavy users get addicted at one point. So if you thought that all marijuana users can just quit at any point, then you were wrong. However, 9% as an addiction rate is way lower than that of cocaine and heroin, which run in at 15 and 24% respectively.
A Harmless Natural Herb
This largely depends on where you get your pot from. Marijuana in its natural form only has one potent substance named THC, although it also contains cannabidiol which is less potent. These are substances known in marijuana that hasn’t been adulterated by the sellers, though. Some black-market dealers have been known to add dangerous substances such as cocaine or even formaldehyde to make their pot stronger. In its natural form, cannabis is not associated with any dangerous chemicals. Most farmers also prefer lab-altered strains of cannabis that have a high content of either THC, CBD, or both, depending on what their clientele prefers, so whatever you get may not be the natural plant thinly depends on rain as many put it.
Does It Cause Or Cure Cancer?
You have probably heard both sides of the argument at one point or another, but the truth is in the middle. Smoking marijuana was accused of causing cancer for years, but that has been actually argued against by many articles in recent medical research. While the smoke is dangerous, cannabis itself has no direct relationship with increasing chances of causing cancer which excludes it from the same category as tobacco. So, it is probably safer to use other methods of ingesting rather than smoking. As for curing cancer, that is also not true. The research conducted by the University of California discovered that using marijuana may actually have an inhibiting effect on the growth of cancer tumours but not as a cure.
Is It Less Harmful Than Tobacco and Alcohol
Unlike marijuana which is less demonized now than it was 50 years ago, tobacco’s popularity with health studies has only become worse, as has alcohol. This argument made headlines in 2015 when many news articles quoted an EU research that said cannabis was 114 times safer than alcohol. The same research also confirmed that tobacco was the most likely to kill you in this category. However, most cannabis users mix it with other drugs, which makes it more dangerous than it would be on its own. In its natural form, cannabis poses a lesser risk of death than both alcohol and tobacco, though.
Is Driving While High Dangerous?
Driving while high on anything is dangerous, and that hasn’t changed in any research. However, compared to alcohol, cannabis can be said to be less dangerous. Drunk driving causes more accidents than what you would call stoned driving. However, cannabis remains one of the most common drugs found in the bodies of dead intoxicated drivers at about 14%. The biggest cause of the accidents is mixing cannabis with other drugs, which makes the drivers more intoxicated, hence more likely to cause accidents.
Is It Legal in Portugal and The Netherlands?
Pro-cannabis activists often quote Canada, Portugal, and the Netherlands as the places where pot is legal, and life is “awesome.” Several states in the US, including Colorado, also legalized recreational use of marijuana, but the federal government still recognizes it as a dangerous substance. While Canada legalized pot after a national referendum, the freedom came with lots of restrictions that don’t exactly make pot legal for use in the streets. As for the Dutch, possession of small quantities of marijuana and other drugs was criminalized in 1976, but that doesn’t allow you to import or grow marijuana. In Portugal, the possession and use of all drugs were decriminalized but not legalized; complicated, right?
Marijuana Possession And US Prisons
More states in the US are supporting the legalizing of recreational use of marijuana after observing the positive impacts of the action in other countries and states in the US. Stats show that up to 750,000 people are arrested every year on marijuana-related charges in the US. However, as of 2019, only 40,000 inmates were in jail for similar charges, which shows that there are not as many people in prison for marijuana possession as previously thought. In most states, possession gates people probation or a community service sentence which means they don’t have to spend time in prison. However, possession charges still ruin more lives in the US than in any other country, and a single charge for possession of marijuana may mess your life forever.
Marijuana as Pain Medication
The opioid epidemic in the US has fueled the search for alternative pain medications, and cannabis has moved to the top of the list of contenders. Managing chronic pain is one of the hardest things for modern medicine since most of the pain medication available proves to be worse than the cure in the end as they cause dependence. Many researchers have recommended marijuana as the best alternative because it has fewer side effects compared to opioids. Cannabis is also less likely to cause dependence. It is wise to use your doctor’s advice before adopting pot as your alternative medication, though.
Marijuana And Brain Development
Cannabis remains the most widely used illicit drug among adolescents in the world, and it has long been believed to be a big threat to their brain development. Parts of the brain associated with learning and social interactions continue to develop into young adulthood, and cannabis has been found to inhibit the growth in some cells associated with these functions. It is, therefore, safer to advise all teens and young adults to refrain from using cannabis until further research could prove otherwise.
Even Great People In The World Smoked Weed
President Obama admitted to having smoked pot at one point in his life while still young. He only joined the list of many prominent people who have smoked cannabis either in private or publicly. Many celebrities, including Elon Musk, Bill Maher, Bill Clinton, have smoked pot. However, these people are not necessarily the litmus test for the pros and cons of using marijuana. Impacts of excessive use of marijuana differ from one user to another, so everyone should have their own say on whether or not cannabis is good for them.