You have to hand it to the U.S. Government. Without the money, might, and monotony of this monolith, it would have been impossible to suppress and distort the truth about cannabis – a plant used beneficially by humans for the last 5,000 to 10,000 years.
But that’s in the past, because the truth — like a plant — has the habit of coming to the surface no matter how many times it’s stepped on.
Thanks to the Internet, the greatest information sharing and publishing facility in history, we now have access to a wealth of historical records, medical research, and user experiences about cannabis. The net result of all this information is that everyday people, not just people involved in the medical marijuana community, are starting to learn the truth. So this series of articles is a way for you to counter “official” lies, propaganda and misinformation with the kind of hard-hitting facts that just might change some minds, and perhaps save some lives in the process…maybe yours, or that of someone you care about.
Every day this week, I will be posting — and ripping apart — a different myth about medical marijuana (mainly because the final result is pretty long for a blog post). On the weekend, I’ll be compiling them all into one “white paper”, with all the links turned into footnotes, so you can download it as a PDF. Then you’ll be able to use it for talking points when your well-meaning friends and relatives try to “get you off that bad stuff”…when the “bad stuff” is merely the medicine keeping you sane, happy, and alive.
Myth: “Medical Marijuana” is an oxymoron at best and a joke at worst.
This is the easiest lie to tell, because frankly, common sense and life experience seem to agree that a “weed that gets you high” has nothing to do with medicine or healing sick people. I must admit, that was my reaction when I first heard the phrase “medical marijuana” myself…and I started smoking marijuana almost 45 years ago!
But in the 15 years since the people of California voted to make medical marijuana in that state legal, there’s been ample time for patients, researchers, and medical professionals to get some real-world results. Cannabis can – and does – relieve symptoms of cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS. It also shows proven potential in totally relieving the symptoms of or outright curing of Crohn’s Disease, depression, and glaucoma, and it has helped people with arthritis, obesity, and even Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). In fact, according to the Marijuana Medical Handbook, there are 40 million Americans who could be helped by medical marijuana.
It’s just as unfair to run around saying that “marijuana can cure everything”, as some critics like to claim medical marijuana supporters do, in letters to newspaper editors and blog comments. The thing is, I have yet to hear of any legitimate marijuana doctor, researcher, or organization actually saying that. This claim is essentially a bit of hyperbole, based on the fact that cannabis is indeed proving effective for a wide variety of ailments.
There’s no better source of information about this than the legendary Granny Storm Crow’s List (which you can download right here in PDF form). Granny Storm Crow updates this compilation of links to medical studies, abstracts, and news articles about medical marijuana every 6 months or so, and it currently weighs in at just under 550 pages.
A complete list of the diseases and medical conditions she covers would be redundant, but just for an example, the “A”s include ADD/ADHD, Addiction, Aging, AIDS, Alcoholism, Allergies, ALS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Amotivational Syndrome, Anorexia, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Anti-Anxiety, Appetite Stimulation, Arthritis, Asthma, Atherosclerosis, and Autism. There are 25 letters to go.
Unfortunately, the kind of people who only read headlines are liable to hear something about good results of medical marijuana, conclude that “you can just smoke one joint and your cancer will go away”, and then become quite vocal in opposition when it doesn’t work the way they thought it would.
Finally, some government sources like to quote medical studies that say things like “smoking marijuana has not proved to be an effective treatment”. And while researchers rarely lie, politicians often do…or at least mislead. So they can truthfully parrot that kind of statement, while knowing full well that many or most medical marijuana patients never smoke marijuana (they use vaporizers, capsules, tinctures, or edibles). The politicos rely on the ignorance of the general public about such details to sway public opinion. They’ve done this for years with regard to topics as disparate as guns, manipulation of the Internet, and Homeland Security X-ray machines, so it’s really nothing new.