How often have you heard that cannabis is a gateway drug or that it will destroy your life? Probably many times. The government wants you to believe that cannabis leads to the misuse/abuse of other illicit substances. However, scientific studies have shown that cannabis is not a gateway drug and does not lead to the use/abuse of other drugs. In fact, studies have shown and are continuing to show that cannabis is beneficial for a variety of medical conditions.
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States today and is the third most popular drug next to cigarettes and alcohol. Currently, 14 million people use this drug, and up to 24 million people have used cannabis at least once in their life. So why is the government attempting to tell us that this is a dangerous drug? One of the more common myths perpetuated by government entities is that marijuana precedes substance misuse/abuse. Instead of trying to impress people with the myth that marijuana will lead to substance abuse, we need to inform and teach them appropriate coping mechanisms. Many people, when faced with crisis, will reach out for drugs to help them avoid painful realities.
Cannabis contains two active chemicals which researchers believe have medicinal benefits and they are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The CBD does not provide a ‘high, ‘ but is effective in reducing pain and although the THC provides a ‘high’, it does aid in pain relief along with several other medicinal properties. Both chemicals are safe in humans, and neither has ever been implicated in a drug overdose death. In fact, no one can die from a cannabis overdose.
Cannabis has several health benefits:
- CBD is able to stop cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1, essentially stopping metastasis.
- THC slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by blocking an enzyme in the brain that is responsible for amyloid plaque formation.
- According to the National Eye Institute, marijuana is best used to treat glaucoma since it lowers pressure in the eye, which reduces the risk of optic nerve injury.
- The brain cells, which are responsible for excitability and regulating relaxation, are controlled by THC, thereby reducing the frequency of seizures.
- Fine motor skills in patients with Parkinson’s have improved after smoking marijuana.
- Harvard University research in 2010 suggested that ‘low doses of marijuana reduces anxiety’.
- Cannabis is recommended for cancer patients during chemotherapy treatment to reduce/control nausea, loss of appetite, and pain.
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disorder, benefits from the use of cannabis since chemicals present in the drug help to calm the immune system.
- The use of cannabis in patients with PTSD has proven beneficial since naturally occurring cannabinoids manage the nervous system that produces fear and anxiety.
- Cannabis is a strong appetite stimulant and is beneficial for patients experiencing HIV, AIDS, and/or dementia.
Recently, we have been experiencing an upsurge in the approval of cannabis for medicinal purposes. The biggest danger posed by this movement is the impact that the big pharmaceutical companies will experience. Marijuana has been effective in patients with several types of medical conditions thus reducing the reliance on costly drugs. In an attempt to aid these large companies the FDA keeps Marijuana classified as a schedule 1 drug. Big Pharma wants our money, however, we are slowly being awakened to the fact that there is an alternative to those costly prescriptions. Slowly, state by state cannabis is becoming legal for medicinal use. We have 29 legal marijuana states not including DC. That is over half of the United States. How much longer do you think the government will be able to fool you? Apparently, not much longer.
Do you want to help legalize marijuana in your state or province? You can work through your legislature or through the ballot process. Or you can find out if there is a policy reform group in your state or province. For example, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has chapters in several states in the USA. So if you are interested and believe that marijuana is beneficial for those in need, take the next step and help legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.