Now that we’ve brought cannabis out of the shadows and into the light on a national scale, more and more people are giving medical marijuana a try for the first time.
For many, however, this is not an easy decision to make. The stigma is still quite heavy, and there is still a lot of confusion after so many decades of propaganda and misinformation.
Bringing medical cannabis into the equation often involves a lot of research, dialogue, and careful consideration – basic due diligence we should apply prior to the use of any medication.
So if you or somebody you know is perhaps on the fence about whether or not to give cannabis a try, here are 10 points you might want to consider.
1.) Cannabis is safer than you might think.
We are still hearing some of the old myths from public figures and media channels about the dangers of cannabis. It’s a gateway drug or it makes you lazy or you’ll end up ruining your life.
But we don’t hear these claims as often as we used to, because people are realizing that none of it is true. These are all runaway myths created by targeted propaganda campaigns with zero basis in scientific fact.
People who say these negative things about cannabis either know nothing about the plant or are clinging to outdated information, or they’re on the payroll of powerful lobbyists – including Big Pharma and Big Tobacco – who want to maintain prohibition for financial reasons.
Granted, we still have a lot to learn about this plant after so many years of restricted research, but nobody has ever died from smoking a joint or hitting the vaporizer. The important thing here is learning how to use this plant responsibly if you truly want to discover its benefits rather than its disadvantages.
Sure, we’ve heard some of these scary stories about people who ate an entire cannabis edible and freaked out or smoked too much and had to call 9-1-1 simply because they felt so uncomfortable.
This is exactly why cannabis education is so important. Had these people known a thing or two about self-titration and proper dosage – the importance of starting small – they wouldn’t have gotten to that state. And while consuming too much pot can indeed be miserable for some people, the fact that it’s 100 times safer than alcohol speaks volumes.
2.) It’s completely natural.
How can we be against something that comes from the earth? Cannabis is a naturally-occurring substance, a medicinal herb that has brought healing and happiness to a lot of people.
Can it be abused? Sure. But so can anything else in this world. That doesn’t mean we should place a ban on it, or fear it without ever educating ourselves.
The problem with cannabis is that it has become so stigmatized, that a lot of people cannot see beyond the abuse factor.
The truth is that marijuana is much more than a simple party drug for people to experiment with in college. Just because people use it as an inebriant doesn’t mean it has no medical value.
3.) Medical use goes back thousands of years.
Throughout ancient Asia and Europe, cannabis was widely accepted as a medicinal and spiritual herb.
Cannabis prohibition is really a modern anomaly, a blip on the radar of humanity’s long relationship with this plant.
Until recently, most people assumed cannabis prohibition was backed by hard science. Why else would it be illegal?
But it doesn’t take much digging to find the true roots of prohibition and the racist bureaucrat who started it all: Harry Anslinger.
You can read about Anslinger and the beginning of prohibition here:
4.) Pot might be a better substitute for other medications.
I am not a licensed physician, and I am not telling anybody to stop taking any medications. However, I’ve heard a lot of success stories about people substituting cannabis for most if not all of their prescribed pharmaceuticals.
In fact a recent study published in the Drug and Alcohol Review shows that a whopping 80 percent of cannabis users swapped out their pills for the herb. It’s called the substitution effect, and it’s exactly why the pharmaceutical companies lobby against marijuana legalization.
But it’s completely natural for people to make this change in their medicinal regimen if they find that cannabis works for them. Nobody enjoys the insane amount of damage a lot of pharmaceuticals can do to the body.
5.) It’s not just about “getting high.”
The hinging factor for many potential medical marijuana patients revolves around the psychoactive element of cannabis.
Certain types of people gain therapeutic benefit from the psychoactive experience, others are downright uncomfortable with it.
Interestingly, many people who use pot for chronic pain management have reported that they do not experience any psychoactive euphoria when they medicate.
Whatever your condition may be, reservations toward “getting high” may come from the stoner stigma or actual physical discomfort. In either case, it’s important to remember that a lot of medications widely accepted by society also come with psychoactive properties – albeit man-made as opposed to natural.
It’s also worth noting that not all forms of cannabis are psychoactive.
Depending on where you live, you might be able to access and experiment with cannabidiol or CBD-dominant cannabis strains. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with immense therapeutic properties.
You can also experiment with lower dosages if you want to minimize the psychoactive effects. Depending on the ailment you wish to treat, you might find that extremely small doses of cannabis will address your problem. We’re talking about doses so small that any side effects are minimum to zero.
Keep in mind that it often takes a bit of trial and error before you find your optimal dose, strains, and methods of delivery.
6.) Your body probably needs those cannabinoids anyway.
Some people hear about all of the medicinal applications associated with marijuana and scratch their head in disbelief. How can a single plant – which has been prohibited and stigmatized for the better part of a century – have so many therapeutic qualities?
This is where the endogenous endocannabinoid system comes in, a very important part of our neural system that wasn’t discovered until the early 1990s. Maybe you’ve already heard about it, this system of neural receptors found in the brain, the organs, as well as the skin.
The cannabinoids we take in from cannabis just so happen to fit perfectly into these little receptors.
The body also produces its own cannabinoid – what we refer to as an endocannabinoid – called anandamide, which communicates with the endocannabinoid system to help modulate appetite, sensitivity to pain, emotion, fertility, and more.
While we still have a lot to learn about this whole system, research suggests that many of us have endocannabinoid deficiencies, which cannabis can help remedy.
7.) Cannabis can benefit you in other ways.
Even if you aim to ingest cannabis for a specific health issue, chances are you’ll be gaining other benefits as well due to cannabis’s holistic medicinal properties.
With everything we’ve been learning about the endocannabinoid system, physicians and researchers theorize that pot actually promotes homeostasis.
So if you’re taking it to reduce inflammation, chances are it’s also going to help you with other things as well. Although what those things are will vary, depending on the person and the effects of a specific strain.
To get an idea, check out this cannabinoid chart by coloradopotguide.com:
8.) Cannabis may protect against certain types of cancer.
Again, we still have a long way to go with the research, but what we do know indicates that cannabis can indeed treat or prevent certain types of cancer.
According to cancer.gov, cannabis users are 45 percent less likely to develop bladder cancer. Meanwhile, there have been several cases where people have claimed to successfully fight off other types of cancer using cannabis oil.
All in all, it’s not a bad side effect if pot really can help protect us.
9.) Pot might also help prevent or slow Alzheimer’s.
Similar to the anti-cancer properties, we still have a lot of research to do here. But the signs are very positive that cannabis can help with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions.
Basically, researchers have found that cannabis can help promote neurogenesis and protect neurons.
So even if you are using medical cannabis for something else, this could be an extra benefit.
If you factor in the aspect of homeostasis we mentioned earlier, it makes sense that cannabis just might help us with whatever our body needs.
10.) Access and availability have skyrocketed.
Depending on where you live, you couldn’t have picked a better time to give medical marijuana a shot.
If you live in a state with a good medical cannabis program, you can get your medical marijuana license and find superior quality medicine from a trusted dispensary.
This is a far cry from having to track down a local dealer, which is what people in a lot of areas still have to resort to. In cases like this, not only are you forced to engage in criminal behavior through the black market, but you don’t always know what you’re getting in terms of quality and safety.
If you do live in one of these places were prohibition continues, hopefully you can find some decent medicine through a trusted family member or friend, but it might not be easy.
The continued problems with access are all the more reason to dismantle prohibition, and educate ourselves about this plant so that we can pass sensible regulations in our communities and legislatures.
Will you give medical marijuana a try?
This is ultimately each individual person’s choice to make. A lot of people are afraid to try medical cannabis, which is to be expected after this plant has been unfairly demonized for so many years.
It’s important to ask questions, to research a variety of credible sources, and in the end you’ll never know for sure unless you try it yourself.
If you do give it a shot, don’t give up after the first time. Start slow and remember that it may take several tries to get used to it or to find the regimen that works best for you.