Busting the Myth Marijuana is “Natural Medicine”

One of the arguments you hear in favor of marijuana these days is it’s “natural.”

The idea is if something is “natural,” then it must be also “safe.” Never mind that uranium, arsenic, and hemlock are all “natural.” Marijuana is supposed to be a “natural medicine.” Well, not so fast.

We have written before about how marijuana doesn’t really qualify as “medicine.” It hasn’t been approved by the FDA for medical use; marijuana’s potency varies from plant to plant, depending on growing conditions; dosage is difficult to manage; delivery methods for the drug are not always safe or uniform; and its effectiveness is difficult to predict.

In short, all the scientific standards that have made modern medicine the greatest in history–testing, approval, uniformity in manufacturing and dosing standards, and so on–are not part of the “medical marijuana” equation. Marijuana may be many things, but “medicine” simply is not one of them.

But what about “natural”? Is that a word that can describe marijuana?

The truth is the marijuana industry has cultivated countless strains and blends of marijuana; the website leafly.com currently lists 1,066 marijuana varieties, and Wikipedia has an article containing a few dozen particularly popular cannabis strains; each marijuana variety, supposedly, has its own unique characteristics–for instance, different colors, flavors, chemical levels, uses, and so on.

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Researchers: Marijuana Smoke as Dangerous as Tobacco Smoke

Preliminary findings in a study on marijuana reveal secondhand marijuana smoke may be as dangerous as secondhand cigarette smoke.

Matthew Springer, associate professor of medicine at University of California San Francisco and one of the authors of this newest study, says, “Both tobacco and marijuana smoke impair blood vessel function similarly. People should avoid both, and governments who are protecting people against secondhand smoke exposure should include marijuana in those rules.”

Researchers found blood vessel function in laboratory rats was reduced by 70% following exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke–similar to levels found as a result of tobacco smoke. Reduced blood vessel function can lead to serious health complications, including heart attack.

This research raises many questions. If secondhand marijuana smoke is dangerous, how safe can firsthand marijuana smoke possibly be? And just how safe are other methods of marijuana consumption? After all, many of them have not been thoroughly researched.

These latest findings underscore, once again, that marijuana may be many things, but “harmless” simply is not one of them.

Read more about this latest research here.

Read our most popular blog post of all time, “Busting the Myth Marijuana is Harmless,” here.