Humans have used cannabis for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes for thousands of years. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the drug became outlawed across the United States. In recent years, legislation has changed once more, with California passing the country’s first medical marijuana initiative in 1991 and many others — including Urgent & Primary Care’s home state of New York — following suit.
But over that 90 year period, the public developed a variety of misconceptions about medical marijuana usage. These myths can then dissuade patients who would otherwise benefit from the drug from seeking proper treatment. Thus, Albany’s leading primary care doctors are here to set the record straight.
The 5 Biggest Myths About Medical Marijuana
1. Like Cigarettes, Medical Marijuana Causes Cancer
It’s widely accepted that cigarettes are linked to increased risk of cancer, particularly of the lungs, mouth, throat, and larynx. As a result, many assume that medical marijuana has similar health outcomes. But that is not the case; a correlation between cannabis and cancer has yet to be found. In fact, the drug actually helps patients manage cancer-related pain as well as the adverse side effects of chemotherapy.
It is important to note that smoking in itself still exposes the body to free radicals. Hence, most legislation restricts smokable variations of the drug. In New York, only liquid, oil, and capsule forms are allowed.
2. Medical Marijuana Is a Gateway Drug
You may have heard the common adage that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” But according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a majority of cannabis users do not go on to use other, “harder” substances. Those who do, the organization explains, likely have other physiological, emotional, or genetic factors that predispose them to substance abuse.
If you still have concerns about substance abuse, remember that medical marijuana is prescribed by a primary care doctor. These individuals are trained to recognize warning signs and intervene when necessary.
3. Most Doctors & Health Organizations Don’t Support Medical Marijuana Access
It is also a common misconception that both primary care doctors and health organizations favor traditional pharmaceuticals over medical marijuana. However, most recognize the drug’s ability to treat conditions like chronic pain, mental illness and insomnia. In fact, a 2014 study by WebMD and Medscape found that 70% of doctors support the use of cannabis therapy in qualified patients. Many organizations like the American Nurses Association and the Epilepsy Foundation of America have also voiced their support.
4. There Isn’t Enough Research About Medical Marijuana to Determine Its Efficacy
While more studies can always be done, the current state of research paints this legal drug in a positive light. ProCon.org performed a metanalysis of 60 peer-reviewed studies published between 1990 and 2014 regarding medical marijuana. These studies covered a variety of ailments from cancer and Parkinson’s Disease to PTSD and glaucoma. Their analysis found that patients responded positively to medical marijuana in 41 or 68.3% of these studies. For comparison, most FDA-approved pharmaceuticals are approved after only two pivotal trials.
5. If Eligible, You Can Get Medical Marijuana Wherever You Want
As previously mentioned, states with medical marijuana laws each have specific regulations regarding who can use the drug and how they use it. So, before starting treatment, you’ll need to obtain a formal diagnosis and written certification from a primary care doctor who is licensed to prescribe marijuana. Only then can you apply for a medical cannabis card in your state.
Located in East Greenbush, Urgent & Primary Care is licensed to prescribe medical marijuana in the state of New York. Call them at (518) 463-8262 to schedule a consultation. For more on cannabis and its medicinal uses, visit the clinic online.