Cannafits is a campaign to educate the general population about the benefits of canabis both recreationally and medically as well as to dispel commonplace stigmas fabricated by the War on Drugs.
Cannabis (more commonly known as "Marijuana") has been a part of human history since ancient times. It has long since been regulated and publicized as a harmful and dangerous drug as part of a political agenda to protect corporate profits, conform to ignorant, incompetent, and corrupt legislations, to advance the personal careers of individuals directly benefiting from the prohibition of cannabis, and racial bias.
For the sake of brevity, we urge you to learn about the history of Marijuana here: DrugWarrant - Why is marijuana illegal?
Through the many advancements in science and studies conducted we have been able to identify that cannabis is not as harmful as the propaganda in the late 1900s presented it as. Today we can recognize two types of Cannabis, however they are not that all different from each other. Despite presumptive notions, medical cannabis is not a different substance all together; in fact it is still the same unprocessed plant that we refer to recreational cannabis is.
To identify these differences, we must first understand what Cannabis is. Cannabis refers not only to the plant but the botanical compounds inside. These botanical compounds are called cannabinoids which are naturally occuring compounds in the cannabis plant with various therapeutic applications. Marijuana is another name given to Cannabis by prohibition supporters who aimed to demonize its use and criminalize its consumers.
Following this, the Cannabis plant contains hundreds of these cannabinioids, however the most important ones today are THC and CBD. THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol which is the psychoactive compound in cannabis. It is the compound that produces the "high" and some medical effects. Furthermore, CBD stands for Cannbidiol which does produce any psychoactive effects but offers the medical and therapeutic effects. It is important to also dispel the notion that cannabiniods are foreign chemicals entering your body, in fact it's just the opposite! Cannabinoids are naturally produced by the body as well.
The main differences between medical and recreational cannabis is the THC and CBD content. Typically medical cannabis contains a higher percentage of CBD to THC ratio, whereas recreational cannabis contains a higher percentage of THC to CBD ratio. In recent years, horticulture experts have focused on evening these ratios out to produce well-balanced strains fit for medical and recreational use.
In addition to the CBD and THC content of cannabis, there is another identifying factor called "strains". Strains vary in flavor, color, and aroma. These characteristics are determined by the "terpenes" which are unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants.
Since the legalization of Cannabis in 29 states, the Cananbis market has grown immensely and so has the horticultural and scientifc research correlated with it. Even though some medical benefits of cannabis have been overstated by advocates of cannabis legalization, recent research has demonstrated that there are legitimate medical uses and strong reasons to continue studying the drug's medical uses.
The NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse has compiled a list of medical uses for cannabis including treating symtoms of illness and other conditions like:
- Diseases that affect the immune system, including:
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Chronic Pain
- Substance use disorders
- Mental disorders
In addition to this list, there have been other studies including one from the American Medical Association that found that despite common belief, cannabis does not harm lung capacity and in fact may even improve it. It may also be of some use in treating glaucoma because it decreases pressure inside the eye according to the National Eye Institute. It was found that, when smoked, lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and glaucoma. Most notably, cannabis can be used to prevent cancer from spreading through the CBD compound. A 2014 study found that it can significantly slow the growth of the type of brain tumor associated with 80% of malignant brain cancer in people.
Following these benefits, there are also adverse affects which can belong to two categories: causation and correlation. Some effects like tar buildup and decreased lung function are not attributed to cannabis directly, but the method of consumption. There are many ways to consume cannabis, the most common way is through carbonization (smoking it). There are many mediums in which you can smoke cannabis, for example pipes, bongs, dry herb vaporizers, joints, blunts, and spliffs.
Spliffs are by far the most harmful way because it essentially a hybrid which means it is part tobacco and part cannabis.
Mediums like pipes, bongs, vaporizers, joins, and blunts are all relatively safe ways to consume cannabis because it is not combined with anything else. To alleviate adverse affects even more, vaporizers are the safest way to consume cannabis. This is because there is no carbonization of plant material which means the material is heated enough for compounds like THC and CBD to be extracted without burning plant material and releasing carcinogens.
Recently, there have also been new methods called Extracts. These are typically in the form of Wax which can come in the form of Sugar or Shatter. In addition, there have been methods of extraction that allow for consumption in foods, topical creams, tea, and aroma therapy. These are more commonly referred to as Edibles which can come in many forms however the most fundamental being butter which can be used as a substitute for butter in just about any baking recipe!
Overall, with the growing cannabis culture, there has been much more insight into cannabis and its medical, recreational, and economical benefits.
We are also committed to providing a wholesome and informative experience, therefore it is also important to recognize the adverse effects of cannabis. Keep in mind, however, that this also lies within the situation of whether it is causation or correlation.
It is found that the safest age to start consuming cannabis according to a study published by the Cambridge University Press determined is 17. The study found that adolescents who started as early as 14 do worse on some cognitive tests and drop out of school at a higher rate than non-smokers. Natalie Castellanos-Ryna, an assistant professor at UdeM's school of Psychoeducation cautioned that despite cognitive declines associated with cannabis, it does not seem to be global or widespread and occured only in "areas of verbal IQ and specific cognitive abilities related to frontal parts of the brain, particularly those that require learning by trial-and-error".
Another issue that people attribute with cannabis is dependence and addiction to it. Typically, you don't hear people say "cannabis addiction" in the scientific and medical communities, instead the term you are more likely to hear is "cannabis use disorder". It is a condition listed in the official manual of psychiatric diagnostics or "DSM-V". The DSM-V's definitions and criteria are universally recognized in the U.S. for treatment recommendations, and it characterizes cannabis use disorder using 11 indicators.
These markers describe various behaviors relating to cannabis use such as cravings, time spent using, dose, and life impacts. The number of factors experienced by an individual determines the severity of the disorder. The accuracy of these criteria markers is important in determining the necessity of treatment. Roger Roffman, Professor Emeritus of Social Work at University of Washington stated that "While we need to acknowledge that cannabis can be used moderately and responsibility, can enrich lives, and, of course, can be healing for a lot of people, the fact of the matter is we have a substantial minority of cannabis users who experience far more than one or two of these diagnostic criteria," and continued "We need to be compassionate to people for whom a moderate or severe disorder exists, and we need good science to understand it and find ways of helping.
Lastly, the largest and most harmful effect of cannabis is not directly due to cannabis but how it is acquired. Due to the prohibition and criminilization of cannabis, it has remained a "black market" or illicitly obtained drug which unfortunately poses the risk of being contaminated with other drugs to increase supply. However, with with advocation for legalization, there have been state regulated dispensaries in legal states that have established a reputation of providing pure and unprocessed cannabis in many forms and can be acquired through means of a "medical card" which is in essence a medical prescription for cannabis.
Typically, medical card holders have unfortunately taken the initaitve to sell their surplus in illegal states and while illegal, it is wholly safer than the alternative.
Our goal here is not to push for cannabis use but to educate those who may have presumptive notions based on propaganda from for-profit corporations and individuals in legislature.
We feel it is important to pave a new perception around cannabis, one that is not made up of exaggerations or fueled by political agenda, but one that focuses on safe, responsible, and healthy use.
Remember, all it takes to educate yourself is a google search.