If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, or even just following the stories on Facebook and Twitter, you’ll know that marijuana is a popular subject these days. In a shift that can only be described as profound, many states, provinces and countries are reforming their laws regarding the use of cannabis, whether recreationally or for medical purposes.
To say the least, this has stirred up one heap of controversy with people arguing on both sides of the equation, often without knowing the real facts.
So in this blog post, we are going to try to share some facts to help dispel some of the myths about marijuana.
Fact #1: Cannabis can be addictive, but the likelihood is extremely low.
According to International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, the likelihood of a cannabis user becoming addicted is less than 10%. And that requires a person to be a regular user of cannabis over the course of a lifetime. For people who use it regularly for a year or less, the likelihood of getting addicted to it is less than 2%. For people who use it infrequently, the risk drops even lower than that.
Compare that to addiction rates for other recreational drugs like alcohol (22.7% addiction rate), cocaine (20.9%), heroin (23.1%) and nicotine (67.5%), and you can see that marijuana has a much, much lower risk of dependence that other drugs out there (including many pharmaceuticals).
Fact #2: Marijuana and cannabis are the same things.
Throughout much of the 19th century, cannabis was an often-used medication and therapeutic treatment option. Pharmaceutical companies such as Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Eli Lilly used cannabis – as it was called then — in medicine to treat insomnia, migraines and rheumatism.
Shortly after the Mexican Revolution (which started in 1910), however, when many Mexican migrants moved to the United States with cannabis – which they called “marijuana” – in tow, a backlash against the migrants and the drug occurred.
Harry Anslinger, Director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 – 1962, who was adamantly opposed to cannabis, took to calling the plant “marijuana” knowing that such word (as opposed to ‘cannabis’) sounded Hispanic and foreign. It was through these efforts to brand cannabis as an ill on society that the word “cannabis” was replaced with “marijuana” in society’s consciousness.
But the words refer to the same plant.
Fact #3: Cannabis does have many medical benefits.
Despite some of the stigma associated with cannabis, it does has many medical purposes. According to Health Canada and other physicians who treat patients with cannabis, it can be used to relieve symptoms associated with a wide range of conditions, including:
- Chronic Pain
- Cancer Pain
- Side Effects of Chemotherapy
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
There is also evidence to suggest that cannabis may actually help cure some of the underlying conditions listed above. Certain evidence, while not conclusive, suggests that cannabis can help shrink tumors and reverse Alzheimer’s Disease.