Just Clearing up a few Misconceptions (approx. 5 – 6 min. read)

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about cannabis/marijuana and I thought it was time I cleared up a few misconceptions about this incredibly useful weed!

First of all, it’s not marijuana or marihuana – it’s Cannabis; Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. How it became marijuana, remains a bit of a mystery, but when the U.S. declared a war on cannabis it was rumoured that Harry Anslinger; a United States government official, changed the terminology from cannabis to marijuana. It seemed that he wanted to distance the plant from its medical and industrial uses, as much as possible and associate it with recreational use among poor Mexican immigrants.

Cannabis has been around for ages, in fact, they’ve been using it in China for over four thousand years! The female plant was cultivated primarily to make medicine that helped with ailments like menstruation cramps, gout, rheumatism, malaria, beri-beri (a nutritional disorder), constipation, and absentmindedness. Whereas the male plant was cultivated for hemp; an incredibly strong fiber that was used to make things like clothing, paper, and bowstrings.

India was the first to use cannabis for its psychoactive properties, and it became a widespread and medicinal intoxicant. According to legend, it was discovered by the God, Shiva after an altercation with his family. Shiva wandered off into the fields, tired because of the conflict, and the hot sun and fell asleep under a cannabis plant. When Shiva awoke, he looked at the leaves of the plant he’d fallen asleep under and decided to sample it and once he did, he made the plant his favourite food because he was instantly rejuvenated.

According to ancient Hindu texts; called The Vedas, cannabis was called a liberator and was given to humans as a source of happiness because it helped them to lose fear and attain joy, as well as releasing them from their anxiety.

It wasn’t until the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1911 that it arrived in the southwest United States, and in 1914, El Paso became the first city to have an ordinance against it.

Then in the 1930’s, Harry Anslinger, began the crusade against cannabis, declaring that it was used by black Americans and Mexican Americans and it led them to murder their white neighbours. Harry made up all kinds of stories about cannabis, but it was all hearsay, and not grounded in any kind of scientific evidence, but Harry Anslinger was able to criminalize possession of the plant throughout the country. First, it was outlawed in Utah in 1915 and by 1937 it was put under the regulation of the Drug Enforcement Agency. In 1970, it was registered as a schedule one narcotic, which means it has no medicinal value and a high potential for addiction and abuse.

Today, Cannabis is still classified as a Schedule one narcotic. This classification makes cannabis extremely difficult to do any studies on because you can’t get your hands on it without a DEA license, as well as having your study approved by the FDA. Furthermore, you have to go through the National Institute on Drug Abuse to obtain research-grade cannabis, to study the potential medical benefits, and some researchers are finding that quite challenging.

In my opinion, in the last decade or so, we’ve been learning a lot more about cannabis. We’re finding out that it isn’t the “devils weed,” it’s not even close. In fact, some people are calling it a miracle drug, especially when it comes to the parents of children with epilepsy. It’s being used to treat a whole host of ailments including, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, IBS, anorexia resulting from AIDS; nausea associated with chemotherapy, PTSD and depression.

Now, you’re probably shaking your head and thinking that I’ve lost my mind because for the most part cannabis is ingested by smoking it and everybody knows that smoking causes cancer… right?

Nope, not right at all! I found quite a few articles regarding cannabis and cancer, and you’re going to be incredibly surprised by what I found out. One of the articles was written by The National Cancer Insitute (USA), and it states that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells, as well as lessening the growth of cancer tumours; the number of tumours, and how they spread.

The second article was written about a study done at the David Geffen School of Medicine in UCLA in Los Angeles, by Donald Tashkin, M.D., professor of medicine. The article states that Cannabis has the potential to cause cancer because it contains fifty to seventy more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke, however, it found that Cannabis use was not linked to an increase in lung, head or neck cancers. Tashkin came to the conclusion that there’s a chemical in cannabis smoke that kills off cells before they become cancerous.

Both these articles support the fact that smoking cannabis doesn’t cause cancer and I think this is great news because it makes me feel even more confident that cannabis is the best thing for my PTSD symptoms. I’ve been trying to stick to eating cannabis to help control my anxiety, depression and nightmare interruption, but now I have another option; I can smoke it. I’ve been told that I can vape it, that vapourizing it won’t affect my lungs the same way as smoking it, but I don’t find that it gives me the same psychoactive effects as when I smoke it. Plus, I’m an ex-smoker of twenty-five years and holding a joint in between my fingers, like a cigarette, calms me. I think it’s the hand to mouth action, inhaling cannabis, exhaling anxiety, inhaling cannabis, exhaling depressive thoughts, but who knows?! All I know is that it works for me, there are no side effects, like constipation, liver damage, or weight gain, plus the fact that the studies that are coming out now are saying that it’s safe, whether I eat it, vape it, or smoke it.

Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.