Article by Rethink Breast Cancer via Lift News
The realm of medical cannabis can be confusing. After all, isn’t marijuana illegal? Isn’t it bad for you? Doesn’t it cause cancer? In this post, we hope to clear up a few of the common myths and misconceptions about medical cannabis and cancer care. At the end, hopefully you’ll be a little more informed and a little less hesitant to ask your doctor how medical cannabis could help you or a loved one through their cancer journey.
#1. Like smoking cigarettes, medical cannabis causes cancer.
A correlation between medical cannabis and lung cancer has yet to be proven. There is a lot of controversy around the topic because scientific research has made a case for both sides of the argument (it causes lung cancer and it doesn’t cause lung cancer). A lot of health sites and magazines suggest practicing caution when smoking medical cannabis because of the uncertainty. However, a lot of people forget that it can be consumed in many forms (smoking is just one of them!).
While smoking medical cannabis provides fastest relief for symptoms, there are alternative ways to use it: vaping, edibles, sprays, patches, etc. All of which can still provide relief for those who are concerned or skeptical about the health effects of smoking. Check out this list for more details on the alternative ways to consume medical cannabis.
#2. Medical cannabis leads to the use of harder drugs.
Similar to the lack of correlation between medical cannabis use and lung cancer, cannabis use has not been proven to be a gateway drug. An article by The Guardian showed that one’s likelihood to try harder drugs after using cannabis most likely “comes down to availability of and attitudes towards drugs rather than an actual causal pathway.” In other words, factors such as a person’s predisposition to drugs or having an experimental attitude are most likely the reason they would move from cannabis (medical or recreational) to harder drugs.
Ultimately, while some research shows that people who use harder drugs (like cocaine or heroin) first used cannabis, The Guardian’s article argues that this is most likely do to the “societal ordering” of drugs. Meaning, these people were inevitably going to experiment with harder drugs. Cannabis is often the most accessible drug for people to start with.
#3. Medical cannabis laws are related to increased usage among adolescents.
As hinted to above, there is a difference between the medical use of cannabis and the recreational use. As of right now, the recreational use of cannabis is illegal (but Justin Trudeau might change that). Medical cannabis is legal for certain people and has major restrictions attached to it (we’ll talk about that more in the next myth). So, just because medical cannabis is legal, doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily see an influx of cannabis on the streets.
A 2014 study by Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University in the United States was conducted over a 20-year period to determine high school students’ interactions with cannabis in a variety of states before and after medical cannabis was legalized. The study compared these students with students in a variety of other states who had not legalized medical cannabis over the 20-year time period. The result: they found no correlation between students’ cannabis consumption and medical cannabis laws.