Cannabis vs Alcohol vs Pharma

I was reading Cannabis news articles recently and we always see headlines questioning the health benefits of Cannabis and leads to the question, what does alcohol bring to the table and why doesn’t it get the same scrutiny? For the record, let me state that I don’t use cannabis for any reason but I do have an occasional beer or vodka with so with that said, you’d think it would be clear to me but it’s not. I have seen medical proof, that cannabis can stop seizures and epilepsy, it helps veterans with PTSD, it eases pain of cancer patients but alcohol consistently gets the “red wine is good for your heart” but more often has the opposite effect…but it is cannabis that constantly has the new articles questioning its benefits.

I found this article, 11 key findings from one of the most comprehensive reports ever on the health effects of marijuana and I found that this author went into this article with an open mind but still wanted to take a stance of “I’m afraid to say anything good so I’ll stick to status quo:
Surprising findings on cancer, mental health, and more
Before we dive into the findings, there are two quick things to keep in mind.
First, the language in the report is designed to say exactly how much we know — and don’t know — about a certain effect. Terms like “conclusive evidence” mean we have enough data to make a firm conclusion; terms like “limited evidence” mean there’s still significant uncertainty, even if there are good studies supporting an idea; and different degrees of certainty fall between these levels. For many things, there’s still insufficient data to really say anything positive or negative about cannabis.

Then turns around and compliments users for being responsible:
Second, context is important. Many of these findings are meant as summations of fact, not endorsements or condemnations. For example, the report found evidence that driving while high increased the risk of an accident. But the report also notes that certain studies have found lower crash rates after the introduction of medical cannabis to an area. It’s possible that cannabis makes driving more dangerous and that the number of crashes could decrease after introduction if people take proper precautions.

Another article reviewed the same findings but wanted to sway its readers immediately as shown in its title
Report: Marijuana Users Risk Schizophrenia, But the Drug Helps Pain
This point can be further sustained when you read the article and there are 4 benefits listed and more than double the risks listed.
• “There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults,” the team, led by Marie McCormick of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, wrote.
• “There is moderate evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for improving short-term sleep outcomes in individuals with sleep disturbance associated with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis.”
• Lab-made cannabis pills can help spasms caused by multiple sclerosis.
• Pills can also help prevent and ease nausea caused by chemotherapy.

• Studies show cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia, other psychoses, and social anxiety disorders. It can also raise the risk of depression, studies have found.
• Heavy marijuana users are more likely to report thoughts of suicide and heavy use of the drug can worsen symptoms of bipolar disease.
• Learning, memory and attention are impaired after using cannabis and there’s some evidence that they are damaged even after people stop using it.
• Studies have found some evidence cannabis use can raise the risk of unemployment, and users earn less than non-users.
• It can impair driving.
• Use may raise the risk of testicular cancer.
• Smoking marijuana may trigger a heart attack.
• It can worsen bronchitis and chronic cough.
• Babies born to women who smoke marijuana while pregnant can weigh too little.

A 3rd article about the same report appeared to be more balanced:
Promise and perils of marijuana deserve more scientific scrutiny
This article read more like positive paragraph, negative paragraph but there was no comparison to alcohol which is something I’d like to see. You don’t see a lot of alcohol related articles like this
Why Does Drinking Release the Rage? Understand Alcohol-Related Anger and Aggression not that all articles need to be negative, there are health benefits to alcohol, such as red wine is good for your heart  but if anyone listed some of these half try reaches as benefits for cannabis, there would be riots.
Drinking occasionally could add a few years to your life. A study by the Catholic University of Campobasso reported that drinking less than four or two drinks per day for men and women respectively could reduce the risk of death by 18 percent, as reported by Reuters. “Little amounts, preferably during meals, this appears to be the right way (to drink alcohol),” said Dr. Giovanni de Gaetano of Catholic University, another author on the study. “This is another feature of the Mediterranean diet, where alcohol, wine above all, is the ideal partner of a dinner or lunch, but that’s all: the rest of the day must be absolutely alcohol-free.”

Contrary to prior beliefs, newer research has found that moderate drinking might actually protect against erectile dysfunction in the same way that drinking red wine might benefit heart disease. In a 2009 study published in the, Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers found that the chances of erectile dysfunction were reduced by 25 to 30 percent among alcohol drinkers. The lead researcher, Kew-Kim Chew, an epidemiologist at the University of West Australia, conducted the study with 1,770 Australian men. In his study, Chew cautiously noted that he and his team in no way are advising men to hit the bottle, and that further research is needed to accurately connect impotence and alcohol consumption.

Results of a Dutch study showed that healthy adults who drink one to two glasses per day have a decreased chance of developing type 2 diabetes, in comparison to those who don’t drink at all. “The results of the investigation show that moderate alcohol consumption can play a part in a healthy lifestyle to help reduce the risk of developing diabetes type 2,” researchers said in a statement to Reuters

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Do we really want someone who is abusing alcohol to have an “improved libido” and bringing kids into this world? Does it make sense that a sugar (alcohol is a sugar) helps with diabetes? Those are topics for another article but this highlights the double standard that is present in the media about cannabis and show that as an industry we need to work harder and have more passion than everyone else, for now.

This can be taken to the next level and ask, why is big pharma not getting this level of attention? How many people have any of us met that said, “I tried Cannabis and my next step was heroin” ? The Los Angeles Times did an article that said “But OxyContin’s stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn’t last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug.”

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The key statement from that cite is “OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin” that tells me that Pharma companies are purposely marketing drugs that are so close to heroin it is an obvious pathway from pill to needle, yet it is cannabis that is getting this level of media and scrutiny?



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