Since the war on drugs began, there has been an unfathomable amount of propaganda circulated through mass media, communities, and school systems that has left a blurry understanding of what is true and false when it comes to medical cannabis, otherwise known as marijuana. A prime example of the propaganda shared is a quote from President Ronald Reagan in 1980, in which he stated, “I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.” Although Reagan’s ‘War on Drugs’ is slowly dying, the propaganda and stigma he created around the plant is still very much alive. Now that medicinal cannabis is legal in 24 states, it is time to brush up on our facts about medical marijuana.
Cannabis Is A Gateway Drug
The D.A.R.E. program touted in almost every school told kids to “just say no” to drugs and to stay away from cannabis because it is a gateway drug; however, there is no evidence to back up this statement, still to this day. Research has shown that a majority of cannabis users experiment with other drugs, yet there are no links proving that marijuana was the cause.
Marijuana Prohibition Protects Kids
Much like the “Just Say No” approach, cannabis prohibition does not seem to sufficiently protect children. For example, in the 1920’s when there was a Nationwide ban on alcohol, drinking did not cease. People began making liquor from home, purchasing illegally, and over-consuming. The same goes for marijuana prohibition. This may pose a higher risk for children as they start looking to buy from a street dealer who could have gotten the substance from an unreliable source or added other chemicals to the drug. Advocates for cannabis legalization argue that the best way to protect kids is to legalize and regulate the plant.
Cannabis Is FDA Approved
Over the last few decades, the population has grown increasingly in favor of marijuana usage for medical purposes; however, the illegal status of the plant makes funding and research far more complicated. Without clinical research, trials, and results, the FDA is incapable of determining whether a drug product is safe and effective. Therefore, medical cannabis is not FDA approved.
Marijuana Causes Cancer
In May of 2006, the University of California at Los Angeles released a study that found no cancer-marijuana connection. Dr. Donald Tashkin, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years, stated, “We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” he said. “What we found instead was no association at all and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”
While the case is still out on whether marijuana is a miracle drug or just another misunderstood substance, it is safe to say that the coming years will see an increase in cannabis usage, cannabis related products, and far more research and studies.