Cannabis Health Studies – Good or Bad?
Benjamin Bey of Soul D’licious Seasonings and co-host Stephanie Magurno of THC Production, LLC talk about various cannabis studies and news articles. The two discuss various publications and studies involving cannabis use and analyze a variety of sources for media bias and the public good. Finally, they talk about truths, half-truths, and sensationalism surrounding marijuana use.
With cannabis use becoming more mainstream, it’s important that we learn as much as we can about it. Both the good and the bad. If both contain tars and similar reactions, we need to know that. We deserve it. However, we find that even the most reputable organizations can twist data and mislead the public… sometimes not necessarily on purpose. After all, this kind of media sensationalism happens all the time. So we’re here to set the record straight and get to the bottom of these recent cannabis health studies.
AHA’s Cannabis Study
Recently, the American Heart Association came out with a cannabis health study. The title of the article was Marijuana May Hurt Heart, More Research Needed, Report Finds. Yipe! That doesn’t sound very good… especially coming from the American Heart Association. However, like most scientific studies, media sensationalism gets in the way of the facts and findings.
According to this article, “Marijuana use could hurt the heart and blood vessels, according to a report that found no cardiovascular benefits to cannabis use and called for more research of the drug that is growing in popularity.” You’ll notice parts of the quoted section have been bolded. This is because these simple uses of words can be quite telling. The use of the word “could” suggest a negative association between cannabis use and heart health. However, the next part, “found no cardiovascular benefits,” immediately contradicts that by stating no correlation between cannabis use and heart health had been found.
Essentially, the article is making saying that because no positives were found, the potential for a negative is now assumed. In other words, they could be saying “we found no cardiovascular benefits to the wearing of blue baseball caps. Therefore, the potential to damage the heart and blood vessels is possible.” Of course, this makes little to no sense. Finally, they note that “more research” is necessary. Well, yes. Of course, it is. Especially with claims of that nature.
The Israeli Study
Ben and Stephanie also discuss an Israeli cannabis health study with 102 test subjects. According to an article published by the Jerusalem Post, “cannabis consumption by advanced cancer patients lightens symptoms and side effects, but may impair the success of immunotherapy.” This time, we have a directly defined positive. However, it comes with an apparent negative as well.
Immunotherapy is a breakthrough cancer treatment and method of treatment which uses the patient’s immune system to detect and attack cancer cells more effectively. In this study, they apparently found that more patients were likely to get sick and die while using cannabis. However, the study admits that this study was much too small to draw correct conclusions. Again, correlation is not causation, and the article notes this. There is little outside information gathered and considered. The source study itself was not mentioned in the article. Therefore, it is difficult to know how frequently subjects used cannabis, other underlying health conditions, etc.
According to Bar Sela, “there is a laboratory study that suggests that cannabis suppresses the components of the immune system that are activated by immunotherapy.” However, he also notes that “steroids also suppress the immune system.” Therefore, we can assume the use of cannabis is no different than using steroid drugs for treatments. Again, we must understand that this assumption is not good to make either way. We must not make assumptions simply because it’s the easy thing to do. We must continue to research cannabis use so the proper conclusions can be drawn.
Drawing the Wrong Conclusions
It’s not to say that these claims may be untrue. However, correlation is not causation. And we must keep that in mind with studies of all types. Because of the Federal illegality of marijuana, cannabis health studies are very difficult to perform. Even when one does get approved, the number of individuals studied are often of little scientific significance. And they need to be! We need to know these things. The people deserve to know what cannabis use can do to their bodies. Both the good and the bad. And the article even admits that.
According to Robert L. Page II, chair of the writing group for the statement, “we urgently need carefully designed, prospective short and long-term studies. The public needs fact-based, valid scientific information about cannabis’s effect on the heart and blood vessels. Research funding at federal and state levels must be increased to match the expansion of cannabis use. Unfortunately, most of the available data are short-term, observational, and retrospective studies, which identify trends but do not prove cause and effect.”
In the end, claiming there may be cardiovascular issues but then directly admitting that there isn’t enough data seems a bit irresponsible. Cannabis health studies are important. They directly influence public opinion and creep into the public consciousness. And that’s why it’s so important to sort through the sensationalism and get to the truth. Read the full articles instead of just eye-catching headlines.
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Each podcast episode of Soul D’licious Infused includes different topics on the Nevada cannabis industry, as well as special guests. We interview different people from across the industry and discuss all kinds of topics. These include the pros and cons of different extracts, cannabis trends, local market info, and more. Finally, we feature the stories behind the people who work in the cannabis industry.
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