Despite its widespread recreational use, there is a negative stigma attached to marijuana that originated decades ago. Marijuana gained popular attention when thousands of soldiers returned from Vietnam with a cannabis habit. Drafted to fight an unpopular war, many brought their weed along to help ease the pain. Others discovered the drug, and other substances, while they were fighting.
Today, with the 1970s surge in the drug culture behind us, many still remember the negative connotations of smoking weed. When Nixon declared a war on drugs following the Vietnam War, marijuana was banned, and it has been a banned substance ever since. For decades, the only research done on marijuana was to explore its psychotropic properties and uses in psychotherapy.
What Makes Marijuana Medicine?
Cannabis was used for its healing powers in ancient cultures before it was introduced to America. Recent research confirms some of its medicinal properties, and marijuana is effective in controlling some serious conditions. The components of the cannabis plant can now be broken down, and some of them can even be reproduced chemically.
Medical science better understands what it is about marijuana that produces a euphoric effect. We are also able to isolate other helpful properties of the drug and concentrate them for patient use. When developed professionally, marijuana can be targeted to certain uses and measured into fairly accurate doses.
Myths About the Harms of Marijuana
- Smoking is bad for your lungs and can cause lung cancer. Fact: You do not have to smoke marijuana to enjoy its health benefits. There are many other ways to consume medical marijuana that do not involve smoking.
- Marijuana is addictive and can lead to a lifetime of drug use. Fact: Some of the most addictive substances currently available are opioid pain relievers. Chronic pain sufferers often find that nothing relieves their pain except the opioids, so they risk addiction. People who become addicted to opioids often transition to heroin because it is cheaper and gives them the same high they crave.
- People who smoke marijuana are lazy. Fact: Medical weed smokers are more able to participate in daily life activities than those who suffer with the same conditions and have not found a way to control their symptoms. Chronic pain and anxiety disorders are two conditions that severely limit daily activities. With medical marijuana treatment, people who suffer from these conditions can live more normal lives.
- Marijuana kills brain cells. Fact: It’s true, medical marijuana works in the brain, but it actually has a positive effect. It calms the spastic electrical brain misfirings that cause seizures, for instance. It also interrupts severe pain messages from reaching the brain. Medical marijuana treatment can actually help people with clearer and more focused thinking by relieving their severe pain or anxiety.