Doctor Says Public Not Educated Enough About Marijuana Safety
While it is great that the stigma around cannabis is slowly rescinding, an unfortunate side effect is that, in many people’s minds, the drug is totally safe.
By now, it is undeniable that marijuana’s health effects are much less severe when compared to other drugs and there are many medicinal benefits, while its counterparts are only known to cause damage.
But according to City News, one medical specialist feels that more needs to be done to educate the public on recreational marijuana’s risks.
However, when examining his warnings, we have to wonder whether most are even necessary.
“Harm Outweighs the Benefits”
Former head of the Canadian Medical Association Dr. Chris Simpson feels that legal marijuana is no the relatively benign commodity most people claim it to be. He says:
“The degree of knowledge we have about the potential benefits and harm of cannabis is really in its infancy. But the harm seems to greatly exceed any potential benefits.”
We will address this – and all of his claims – shortly. However, many patients and doctors will disagree with him.
One thing Simpson brings up is something that those with cardiovascular and circulatory issues should know:
“Simpson explained THC attaches to receptors in the brain and blood vessel walls that can promote plaque growth in the arteries. He said it can also make the blood sticky, creating clots, which can lead to vascular diseases like stroke, heart disease, and heart failure.”
Individuals with these issues or who are at a high risk for developing them should consult with a doctor before using medical cannabis, and may want to avoid or greatly limit recreational smoking.
Another issue that is slowly becoming more public is Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome. Also known as Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, this condition is known to cause uncontrollable vomiting and pain for several hours. It occurs in a small number of frequent users.
Dr. Simpson’s claim that the harm outweighs the benefits is not consistent with today’s findings. There is a plethora of illnesses that marijuana has been found to assist with, which far outweigh concerns about physical or psychological damage.
To be fair, some of Simpson’s concerns are certainly valid. The things he described – especially relating to cardiovascular health – are not very well-known and should give pause to those with related health problems.
But his warnings are based on smoked herb. If the chemicals in the smoke are an issue, users can simply eat cannabis or use a vaporizer.
As for his other warnings about Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome and overconsumption of edibles, these issues are far from obscure.
Simpson also fails to mention that users can stop CVS from recurring by simply ceasing marijuana use. In fact, we covered the issue at one point and noted that some people stopped the condition by switching to legal marijuana.
The doctor’s concerns when it comes to edibles are also overblown. First, nobody has ever died from a THC overdose, so at worst, users might endure an unpleasant experience or “green out.” It is definitely not enjoyable, as some severe overdoses can prompt people to visit the emergency room. But now that marijuana is legal, individuals simply have to ask the local dispensary staff (once edibles are available for sale) for guidance.
There are also plenty of resources online about how to properly use edibles. Anyone with no experience who is curious about cannabis will undoubtedly at least do some cursory research. The phrase “start low and go slow” is rather well-known.
Worst case scenario, accidentally consuming too much marijuana in an edible is a one-time mistake. A single THC overdose is enough to teach users the importance of starting low.
The doctor also does not mention that Canadian edibles will only contain up to 10mg of THC per unit – a bit intense for new users, but hardly enough to cause illness in most people. If he was discussing illegal edibles, then he definitely would have a point. However, his concern is about legal products, which is frankly ill-informed and alarmist.
WeedAdvisor’s Commitment to Safe Marijuana Consumption
WeedAdvisor has stated before that we are under no illusions about marijuana. There are risks. To believe otherwise is both naïve and dangerous.
However, sometimes warnings about those risks can be exaggerated or ill-informed – even coming from a medical professional. We feel it is our obligation to ensure that the public receives proper guidance on the risks of cannabis, but only if it is grounded in fact.