Treatments

Medical Cannabis: Myths & Realities

Myth vs Reality

Myths, Realities & Frequently Asked Questions

Until a few years ago, Cannabis was an unknown topic for many and was not discussed. Today, many countries have taken to debate its medical usage, even others have already approved it, nevertheless, still exists a lot of disinformation on the side of the citizens. In this section, you’ll be able to find answers to the most frequently asked question.

  • Does Cannabis cause addiction?

Studies have shown that approximately 9 of every 100 recreative cannabis consumers, develop any symptoms of dependency to Cannabis [1], however, there’s no evidence about a physical addiction to the substances. Normally, dependency symptoms are seen in persons considered as high cannabis users. In the Medical Cannabis case, patients receive defined doses for the treatment of symptoms or diseases, avoiding the existence of abuse.

  • What are the differences between medical and recreative usage?

Even though it’s not defined by the varieties, there are important differences between the two usages. As it’s known, recreative usage targets the psychoactive effects present in the variations with high concentrations of D9-THC, most of the time smoked. The consumption is under individual desire.
In medical cannabis case, the person consumes cannabis targeting the treatment of any symptom or illness. For this, strains aimed to each patient and illness are used, at the same time, many that have been grown under control to avoid any change in the concentration of its substances (Cannabinoids). In most cases, patients can use strains rich in CBD, which don’t have psychoactive effects. Also, cannabis can be ingested using other means of consumption, as oil.

  • Does Cannabis produce brain damage?

One of the biggest myths surrounding Cannabis, and it’s the popular belief about its substances. Nevertheless, now is known that the two main substances present in cannabis (CBD & THC) have neuroprotective effects [2]. This has been proven by important physicians, such as the National Paraplegic Hospital, in Toledo, Spain, and studies in other countries. Both substances also have shown to contribute in brain’s recovery after suffering damage. Even the United States government has a registered patent [3].

  • Is it safe to use in children and adults?

Generally, there are no risks threating patient’s life, because mortal doses of cannabis are virtually impossible [4]. Until this moment, there’s no known side effect by cannabinoids, except for D9-THC (psychoactive substance), though, many of these side effects are seen on high consumption and are temporal.
In children’s case, on the states and countries with authorized medical cannabis use, strains rich in CBD (Cannabidiol) has been used, a cannabinoid with no psychoactive effects. No side effect by this substance has been seen in child’s development.
Currently, Cannabis substances are used to treat children with epileptic syndromes, and other diseases on adults. In the USA (in the states with medical cannabis legislation) is already highly used to treat disease, and as replacements of some pharmaceutical drug with side effects.

  • Overdoses

Overdosage of Cannabis is virtually impossible since it requires a person to consume large amounts to reach it. In animal models, lethal overdosage was achieved from 40mg/kg to 130mg/kg of administrated pure THC, which would be an approximate equivalent of 8kg for a 65kg adult [5]. This is why no death has been recorded having cannabis as the main suspect.
From January 1997 to June 2005, more than 10.000 reported deaths were linked to be caused by at least one drug in a list small list of 17 prescribed pharmaceutical drugs that could have been replaced with Cannabis [1]. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), part of the United States government, only in 2012, 33.175 deaths linked to an involuntary prescribed drug overdosage were reported (79.9% of the total).

  • Cannabis represents an additional expense for social insurance?

The contrary, it actually can bring a reduction in expenses, since it can replace the usage of pharmaceutical drugs to treat multiple diseases, which currently represents an economic load for the responsible institutions.
The opposite of regular pharmaceutical drugs, Cannabis can be used to treat multiple illnesses at the same time.
The current cost of medical drugs based on Cannabis is associated with the limited production existing today.

  • There are enough studies supporting the medical usage of Cannabis?

Cannabis is one of the most researched plants for medical usage, and the results are quite promising, supporting more every time the usage of cannabis as medicine to treat multiple diseases. There are more than 20.000 [6] studies from different academic and scientific institutions, spread around the world, approving the production and usage of cannabis.

  • The usage of Cannabis to treat diseases is recent?

Cannabis has been used throughout human history. Contrary to popular beliefs, it has been used as a millenary medication. The United States was one of the major producers of medicine based on cannabis, until 1937 when a bill was approved to penalize any usage. Starting in the 70s, the United States began to use it again as medicine and the initial medical studies were conducted.

  • [1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21145178
  • [2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10863546
  • [3] http://www.google.com/patents/US6630507
  • [4] http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/cannabis-pdq#link/_88_toc
  • [5] http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubs-drug-cannab2-ch52.htm
  • [6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/