The Medical Uses of Marijuana: Myths vs. Truths
While the medical uses for marijuana continue to be debated, and the subject remains a controversial one in some circles, those against marijuana’s medical purposes use myths and distorted facts to make their case. Some of the most common myths include:
- There is no evidence supporting medical uses of marijuana – Evidence of medical uses for marijuana goes back thousands of years. More recently, the Institute of Medicine, in 1999, and The Lancet, a major British medical journal, in 2003, reported that studies have shown a definitive effect in relieving pain, nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss.
- Medical marijuana is not a medical issue, but a radical attempt to legalize drugs – Numerous professional medical organizations support medical marijuana use and research, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Public Health Association, and the American Nurses Association.
- Marijuana is harmful, especially to the immune system – A recent study at San Francisco General Hospital showed that AIDS patients using medical marijuana saw no change in immune-system cells or in their abilities to control the virus vs. placebo patients, and gained more weight due to the appetite stimulation effect of cannabis.
- Synthetic cannabinoids like Marinol are just as effective without the harmful effects of marijuana – Marinol and other single-cannabinoid drugs, synthetic or otherwise, are not as effective as whole-plant therapies due to the synergistic effects of the dozens of cannabinoid compounds in marijuana. It is also harder to control the proper dose of pill-based cannabinoids, and their effects are much slower to take effect.
- No real medicine is smoked, and smoking anything has harmful effects – Medical cannabis can be consumed orally or inhaled with the use of vaporizers, minimizing the possibly harmful effects of inhaling smoke. Studies show that even when smoked regularly, marijuana is much less likely than tobacco to cause lung, throat, and mouth cancers.
- If passed, medical marijuana laws will only encourage kids to use marijuana – Analysis of teen drug use in California after Proposition 215 passed in 1996 show a significant decrease in marijuana use.
The fact is that marijuana for medical purposes, used appropriately, is a valuable addition to many patients’ treatment programs.
If you have a condition that qualifies you for the medical use of marijuana in New Mexico, call Albuquerque Integrative Medicine today at 505-570-5447. Do not be frightened by the mistruths spread by those who, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary, continue to deny that there are legitimate medical uses for marijuana. We will be happy to answer all your questions about the benefits and side effects of medical cannabis.