Medical Marijuana Myths

When most Americans think of marijuana, they immediately think of “stoners” smoking pot, and getting high. Those who oppose the legalization of medical marijuana outright are often not aware of the multiple benefits possible with this “new”, but in fact ancient medicinal plant. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, marijuana has been used for medical purposes for more that 3,000 years. Why? There are known benefits the cannabis plant (marijuana) produces, alleviating people’s suffering from diseases/disorders that cannot be helped with traditional/mainstream medicine.

Benefit of Extracts

With the expanding number of US states legalizing medical marijuana, there is a growing concern that medical marijuana will provide an easy way to gain access to a mind-altering drug. What most people do not know is that scientists have the ability to extract the beneficial chemicals from the cannabis plant in order to administer medical relief without the mind-altering “high” of marijuana. One way this is achieved is by microdosing patients.

Control Through Microdosing

In a previous blog we discussed how microdosing is usually done via edibles. The key point to understand is that microdosing is a way to keep the mind-altering effects under control by administering the drug under the perceptional dosage.

This ensures the individual ingests the cannabis-derived chemical for specific medicinal benefits only. States that have recently legalized medical marijuana are embracing this control tactic. For example, when Ohio legalized medical marijuana on September 8, 2016, it stipulated that patients can only use marijuana-infused edibles, tinctures, oils, patches and plant material. (As of today, medical marijuana can still not be purchased in the state of Ohio; the law protects those who have been prescribed it from outside the state.)

There are two main extracts, CBC and THC, from the marijuana plant that scientists have been manipulating to help patients where traditional medicine has failed, according to National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Scientists have been specially breeding marijuana plants and making CBD in oil form for treatment purposes. These drugs aren’t popular for recreational use because they aren’t intoxicating. CBD-based treatments, such as a liquid form called Epidiolex, have been effective when treating certain forms of childhood epilepsy.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC can be extracted from marijuana, or synthesized, as is the case for the FDA-approved drug dronabinol. Dronabinol (a light yellow oil) is used to treat or prevent the nausea and vomiting associated with cancer medicines and to increase the appetites of people with AIDS, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Other studies are showing more evidence that, when used properly, THC has many additional medical benefits. For example, THC may be able to improve memory when taken in small doses, according to a 2016 study on mice. THC may also decrease pain, inflammation (swelling and redness), and muscle control problems.

Overall the use of CBD, THC or a combination of the two, have produced positive results when treating certain diseases. However, treatment of certain diseases with legalized forms of marijuana varies from state to state.

Currently the state of Ohio allows medical marijuana to be used for the treatment of:

  • AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Positive status for HIV
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Spinal cord disease or injury
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

As evident in the list above, many people can be helped by medical marijuana. Knowing how it is being utilized as a legitimate medical option is important. To distinguish fact from fiction, you can be assured that there are strong safeguards in place to minimize abuse of this potentially mind-altering plant.

These are the Facts

To dispel the myths that medical marijuana is a way for people posing as “patients” to legally “get high”, it is important to establish the facts:

  • Using marijuana for medical reason dates back around 3,000 years
  • Medical marijuana refers the use of the unprocessed hemp plant (Cannabis sativa plant) and its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness or medical conditions
  • Medical marijuana is mostly administered in microdoses via edibles that do not cause a mind-altering state
  • When marijuana is administered as a psychoactive drug, it is administered in individual, carefully measured doses
  • FDA has not approved marijuana as a medicine, but some medicines containing marijuana extracts have been approved (i.e. dronabinol)
  • There are over two dozen diseases/disorders (i.e. epilepsy, AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, PTSD) that medical marijuana is effectively treating to minimize pain or progression

The benefits medical marijuana can provide to those who suffer is undeniable. Dispelling the myths that come with knee-jerk opposition to a psychoactive drug becoming “legal” is the first step in understanding why twenty-six states and counting have approved medical marijuana to date.

Ensure Your HR Department is Ready for the Legalization of Medical Marijuana

SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can review and update your HR manuals and provide workplace training to ensure your employees are clear on organizational drug policies. Contact us or call us at 330-255-1101 to speak with one of our HR Policies and Procedures specialists today!