4 Sketchy Claims about Cannabis and Your Health

October 17, 2018 will go down in history as the day that the Y2K bug finally hit Canada legalized cannabis. It’s also getting legalized or decriminalized in more and more locations around the world

Over the past year, I’ve been asked a ton of questions about this. In particular, people want to know whether I’m “for” or “against” legalization…

But I’m not the right person to answer that. The legal, social, and economic reasons for legalizing weed aren’t my area of expertise. My expertise is within science and health.

We know that criminalizing marijuana simply hasn’t worked. So I guess it’s a good idea to try something else.

And we have to face the facts: in Canada, at least 15% of people are known to consume cannabis. For young people, that number is 30-40%.

Still, I find myself annoyed by the two types of comments I hear most often, namely :

 

I do think it’s important to speak openly about cannabis. Unfortunately, I hear a lot of sketchy claims going around… so let’s assess their scientific accuracy!

 

Note #1 : For the sake of transparency, I should admit that I’ve never consumed cannabis in my life, not even a single toke. In general, I don’t really enjoy psychotropic substances (i.e. substances that produce an altered state of consciousness), including alcohol. I assume this doesn’t disqualify me from discussing the topic, considering that I haven’t consumed 99.999% of the medication I work with on a daily basis…

Note #2 : There are certain points that I don’t cover in the comic: driving under the influence of pot; the lack of a legal limit on the amount of THC in products containing marijuana; children or animals becoming intoxicated by accidentally consuming cannabis products; microdosing…This comic is pretty long as it is, so if need be, I’ll revisit the topic another time!

Note #3 : Many thanks to Robyn Penney for the translation!

 

 

 

 

cannabis natural cannabinoids

THC CBD prescription strains

 

 

 

cannabis smoking tobacco alcohol

 cannabis vaporizer secondhand smoke stoned

is alcohol worse than pot

 

 

 

 

cannabis effective for many health problems hype

 

evidence-based medical cannabis use

cannabis derived products dog treats creams

 

 

 

 

cannabis risks or harmless

 

cannabis occasional or chronic use young people

 

cannabis psychosis

 

cannabis amotivational syndrome

 

cannabis addiction dependence

 

 

 

 

 

4 responses to “4 Sketchy Claims about Cannabis and Your Health

  1. REFERENCES

    A good summary of the legal issues regarding the legalization of cannabis (IN FRENCH).
    https://ocq.qc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/legalisation-du-cannabis-enjeux-legaux-et-analytiques.pdf

    In Colorado, where recreational cannabis use has been fully legal for a few years, rates of pot consumption have decreased among youth.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/11/following-marijuana-legalization-teen-drug-use-is-down-in-colorado/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4990307ba725

    Cesamet is not exactly THC, but a synthetic analog.
    https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2006/018677s011lbl.pdf

    A study on the substances found in marijuana smoke.
    https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/tx700275p

    A meta-analysis of several studies did not find an increased risk of lung cancer in regular cannabis smokers (but it was inconclusive with respect to heavy smokers).
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24947688

    Cannabis vaporizers are potentially less harmful (IN FRENCH).
    http://observatoireprevention.org/2017/07/17/vaporisateurs-cannabis-plus-sain-dinhaler-fumee/

    A list of POTENTIAL therapeutic uses of cannabis published by Health Canada (in other words, not all backed by conclusive findings).
    https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/information-medical-practitioners/information-health-care-professionals-cannabis-cannabinoids.html

    Cannabis and cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
    https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/cannabis-pdq#link/_13

    A thorough review of the use of cannabis by HIV positive patients; results are not convincing, even though a prescription drug (Dronabinol) has already been approved for this indication.
    https://www.cochrane.org/CD005175/HIV_medical-use-of-cannabis-in-patients-with-hivaids

    Review of alleged health benefits of marijuana by Science-Based Medicine.
    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/marijuana-beliefs-outstrip-evidence/

    Medical marijuana does not seem to be associated with many negative effects.
    http://www.cmaj.ca/content/178/13/1669

    Study on amotivational syndrome in university students.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28620722

    Cannabis use and schizophrenia diagnosis.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3594105/

    Schizophrenia could predispose you to consume cannabis.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27928975

    THE FOLLOWING ARE (MOSTLY) SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS ABOUT VARIOUS MEDICAL USES FOR CANNABIS

    https://www.cochrane.org/search/site/cannabis

    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2338251

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11916-015-0524-x

    https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=01271255-201103000-00001

    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medicine/article/neuroimaging-in-cannabis-use-a-systematic-review-of-the-literature/91472C0CBBAC3A81E7CF199E23F15C60

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(07)61162-3/fulltext

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24234874

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2413308/

  2. Christopher Penney

    Excellent article and I applaud your effort to address “myths” regarding marijuana. However, please allow me to correct two points;
    1) The drug Cesamet is not mostly THC but instead it is an analog of THC. For example whereas THC has a five carbon pentyl chain, Cesamet has a more hydrophobic nine carbon dimethylheptyl chain.
    2) A drug that is “mostly CBD” does exist. In fact, this drug, Epidiolex, is high purity, medical (GMP) grade CBD that was approved by the US FDA in 2018. This drug is manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals in Britain.
    By the way, two companies in the US currently are licensed and manufacture high purity chemical synthetic CBD for the pharmaceutical industry. At least one Canadian company, Cardiol (Oakville, Ontario) is using synthetic CBD in their clinical trials for cardiac disease.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Christopher!

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      1) Absolutely, it’s a synthetic form which mimics THC. I don’t think a precision is necessary in this regard in the comic itself, but I am adding it in the references.

      2) I did not know that!!! It must have come out at about the same time I was publishing the original comic in French. I made the correction in the table.

      Once again many thanks!

      Olivier

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