Weed Legalization: Why the Brain Cell Myth Has to Stop
One of the biggest arguments used against weed legalization is that marijuana kills brain cells. Here are the facts behind that widely spread myth.
Keyword(s): weed legalization
Weed is now legal to smoke in 29 out of 50 states. This weed legalization is exciting news for the nearly 52 percent of Americans who have reportedly tried smoking marijuana.
Yet, we’re still battling the typical argument about weed legalization,” but it kills brain cells!”
Is there any actual medical and scientific proof that using Marijuana kills brain cells? The answer to that question is no.
This is why the brain cell myth has to stop when it comes to weed legalization.
There’s No Actual Evidence That Marijuana Makes You ‘Lose Brain Cells’
There have been numerous studies for many, many years that have proved against this falsity. In fact, there are countless studies and articles full of evidence that proves that marijuana use can actually be beneficial.
Studies that occurred very early 2000’s showed some really surprising results of long-term marijuana use. The tests consisted of around 700 regular long-term marijuana users, as well as nearly 500 non-users.
They tested on multiple different functions of the brain, and the results showed that even people who had admitted to using marijuana heavily (multiple times daily), there was no significant difference in brain function than those subjects who were non-users.
The reason that the government, DEA, and many other ‘reliable sources’ have claimed that marijuana causes loss and damage of brain cells comes from a famous study on monkeys.
The Monkey Test That Started it All
In a study conducted in 1974 by Robert G Heath, monkeys were pumped with high doses of marijuana over a period of time. The results supposedly showed dystrophy and death after about 90 days.
After that, then-president Richard Nixon had deemed marijuana unsafe and determined that it led to the loss of brain cells and long-term brain damage.
Here is the truth about the infamous monkey study: The monkeys were pumped with doses of THC that are unbelievably higher and more potent than what the average weed smoker consumes.
Instead of the alleged 30 regular joints a day over the course of a year (which is already insane), they gave them 63 Colombian strength joints within 5 minutes every day, over the course of 90 days.
Not only that, but the monkeys were administered this marijuana through gas masks, consequently cutting off oxygen to their brain and leading them to that dystrophy and death that was reported.
They were being suffocated. Suffocation leads to loss of brain cells, not weed. To this day, those results have never been replicated.
This study is what has determined the process of weed legalization over the past 4 decades, along with other false scientific studies about marijuana.
The Real Monkey Tests
Now, in more recent years, there have been two more studies using monkeys, but the results were actually reasonable and true.
One was conducted by Dr. William Slikker, from the National Center for Toxicological Research. Another was conducted by Charles Rebert and Gordon Pryor of SRI International.
Both of these tests had conclusive results claiming no evidence of any brain cell or brain structure damage when testing large groups of monkeys, administering daily doses of marijuana over the course of one year.
However, there is are multitudes of research and studies that prove that alcohol does cause brain damage over time. Yet, alcohol is completely legal.
Another study done in Colorado back in 2015, showed also that daily marijuana users did not have any significant difference in brain structure than non-users.
The researchers took scans of the subject’s brains to see if there were any abnormalities in daily weed users versus non-users. The results showed little to no difference in brain structures.
Thorough is the Key to Unlocking Legal Marijuana
The test was very thorough in making sure the results were accurate, by taking into consideration other factors that could potentially cause abnormalities in the brain.
They paired up subjects that were almost the exact same age, with similar alcohol use, anxiety, depression, tobacco use, etc.
The results showed less that one percent difference in all users, even adolescences. Because of how low the actual difference was, how insignificant I mean, the results were concluded as no difference.
Because of how thorough and accurate this study was, it should be a huge consideration for weed legalization. These results completely debunk the myth of weed killing brain cells. Therefore it should provide enough evidence to justify its legalization.
Now that the myth has been busted, let’s discuss some of the reasons why weed legalization is so important.
Cannabis Use is Directly Linked to Pain Relief
This is one you’ve probably heard before. Cannabis has been used medically to relieve pain for a really long time— as long as medical marijuana has been a thing.
A clinical trial that took place in Canada administered patients with severe nerve pain three different doses of THC, as well as a placebo. The results were very positive.
A single inhale of THC with less than 10 percent potency, dosed at 25mg, three times a day for five days straight saw a tremendous reduction in pain, as well as a better time falling and staying asleep.
It has also been researched and proven that cannabis oils are extremely effective with pain as well, because of their non-psychoactive cannabinoid properties.
The proof is in the pudding folks, and that’s not all.
Weed Legalization Means Safer Roads
Contrary to popular belief, weed legalization will lead to less vehicular death in the United States. This is already proven.
In fact, the states that have legalized medical marijuana use saw an 11 percent decrease in traffic deaths. That is some staggering results, considering there are approximately 35,000 traffic-related deaths every year in the US.
In certain states, that decrease was even greater. For example, California experienced 16 percent lower traffic fatalities the first year of weed legalization. In New Mexico, there was a 17 percent decrease immediately after legalization.
These numbers are too important to ignore, traffic-related fatalities are a serious problem in the United States. With the population increasing, that 11 percent will continue to make a huge difference in lives lost.
Marijuana Use in Patients With Epilepsy Leads to Fewer Seizures
This one is huge.
Research has shown that patients with epilepsy who use weed as a remedy have seen a significant decrease in seizures they experience on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD is responsible for this. A recent study presented 214 children and young adults ranging in age from 2 to 26 with a dose of 99 percent CBD.
The results were truly staggering. Patients saw on average a 40 percent decrease in seizure frequency over a 12 week period. So amazing.
In one case, a young boy who was suffering from 20 seizures a month, started taking CBD oil on a regular basis and has been seizure-free for 6 months (as of March 2017). That is truly remarkable.
Unfortunately, It’s Difficult For Patients to Get This Kind of Help
As of now, it is incredibly difficult for children across the country to receive this kind of medical treatment. This is because the DEA still considers marijuana as a schedule one drug, along with LSD, Heroin, and Cocaine.
Because of this drug classification, it has made it extremely difficult for researchers to conduct studies and experiments that could provide the necessary evidence needed to move forward with federal weed legalization.
The company who created the CBD medication given in the tests is currently presenting it to the FDA. Hopefully it will be passed as a legitimate medication for epilepsy.
Weed Legalization Means Relief For Patients With Multiple Sclerosis
There have been recent medical breakthroughs in regards to patients who use medical marijuana to treat chronic pain symptoms from MS.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic and progressive disease that causes damage to the nerves, resulting in loss of function, extreme pain, numbness, and severe fatigue.
There are a few medications that have been developed containing cannabis that treats the symptoms of this incurable disease. Countries like France, Germany, and Canada have legalized these medications, but the US has not.
The biggest MS symptom that is treatable with marijuana is muscle stiffness and pain. One double-blind clinical trial conducted experiments where patients smoked one ‘marijuana cigarette’ and every single patient concluded that there was a relief in pain, as well as muscle stiffness/spasticity.
While many patients with MS in the United States have not been able to receive FDA approved cannabis medication, there has been a huge amount of people finding relief with self-medication.
Weed Legalization Means Relief For Cancer Patients
Cannabis has been proven to provide many benefits to patients with all different types of cancer.
The scope of treatment and benefits includes things like:
- Increase and regulation of appetite
- Better sleep
- Improvement with anxiety and depression
- Pain management
- Decreased nausea caused by cancer treatments
People have been using marijuana as a means of treatment for cancer for a long time, and with the increase of weed legalization both medical and recreational, this is sure to continue.
There also have been claims to cannabis curing cancer, but that has not been clinically proven. Not yet at least.
Weed Legalization Will Lead to More Research and Treatments
Which means there are a ton of benefits that we don’t know yet. Some of the already proven uses of CBD include (but are not limited to):
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Acne treatment
- Treatment for fibromyalgia
- Management for PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression
- Combats insomnia
- Improved heart health
These are just a few of the amazing uses for CBD. There are still so many more benefits, like treating and preventing Crohn’s disease, treating schizophrenia, and even prevention of diabetes.
Think of all the things we already know, imagine how much more we could learn about the medical benefits of medicinal marijuana if we were able to implement weed legalization.
It is Incredibly Difficult To Perform This Research
For some reason, it’s actually easier for scientists to perform studies on harder drugs like mushrooms and ecstasy than it is to research about medicinal uses of weed.
In order to do research with marijuana, you need a DEA license, and your study must be approved by the FDA. In order to obtain research-grade weed, you have to go through the National Institute of Drug Abuse, which is said to be the most difficult part.
All of these factors lead to a huge problem when trying to study the benefits or even potential adverse effects of weed. This is again because of it being a schedule-one drug.
It is said that the reason it is still so difficult, after proof against allegations of weed being harmful, is because there is a lot of investment in weed remaining illegal.
Think of how many people might stop using harmful prescription drugs if they could rightfully get their hands on medicinal marijuana. The Big Pharma industry would see a huge decrease in sales, and that just doesn’t work for them.
The government hasn’t made it impossible, however, to conduct such research. They have worked to make it as difficult as possible, in hopes of keeping breakthrough research minimal and quiet.
Where is Weed Already Legal?
Fortunately, in the last couple of years, the number of states that allow medicinal or recreational marijuana has increased.
Not sure if what your state’s marijuana laws are? You can find out online what your state’s policies are, and whether or not weed legalization will be on the ballot.
More than half of the United States is currently weed legal and that number is expected to keep on rising.
What Can I Do to Help Push Along Weed Legalization?
If you didn’t see your state in the green (pun intended), then take action by writing to your state legislators. Give them some facts and make sure they keep it on the ballot.
You can also subscribe and follow the following leading industry advocacy sites:
Only the people can help bring this impractical and immoral law against weed legalization to an end. We encourage everyone to take this information and make that difference. Every vote counts!
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