Marijuana has undergone a massive branding change within the last few years. Once seen as the quintessential gateway drug, weed is now a legal substance that’s branded as a contributing component to a healthy lifestyle.
Many cannabis companies have positioned themselves as lifestyle brands in the wake of legalization. Consumers are told that cannabis will help them relax, sleep better, fight inflammation, soothe pain and stimulate creativity.
It’s been quite a turnaround for a once taboo substance that was believed to be consumed only by those on the fringe of society. All this change, but still the same old drug.
Did cannabis suddenly become healthy?
No. Cannabis has approximately the same composition it’s always had, though it’s generally more potent than it was a few decades back. It still produces the same bodily and psychoactive effects on users. The only difference is in the way popular perception has shifted.
But that doesn’t mean cannabis has always been unhealthy. Just that there hasn’t been a recent change in its molecular makeup. The overtly negative association that’s followed the drug for decades was always politically charged. Whereas companies now tell us cannabis is a miracle cure-all, the former message of fear and derision is no less dubious.
What does the science say about cannabis?
The science says…lots of things. It’s not difficult to find a clinical study telling you that CBD is the cure for anxiety, or that smoking a joint before bed will help you sleep soundly.
It’s also pretty easy to locate professional opinions and counter studies that claim to debunk the findings of these positive findings.
The truth is, our understanding of the short- and long-term effect of cannabis is in its infancy. For so long it was condemned as damaging, without mainstream medical institutions funding the research to challenge that belief. Only now are we getting enough serious medical examinations to begin to understand how marijuana impacts the various areas of our well-being.
It matters how you consume cannabis
The traditional means to consume cannabis is to smoke it. The problem with this method of consumption is that it relies on combustion, which creates all kinds of nasty carcinogens. Carcinogens have been linked to cancer, so suffice it to say, you don’t want them in your body.
Non-combustible methods of consumption – e.g. vaping, edibles, topical application, etc. – have a lot of evidence to back up claims that they are relatively healthy when compared to smoking weed.
Regardless of how a person consumes marijuana, they are obtaining compounds from the flower itself. Smoking marijuana means you’re also consuming the byproducts of combustion.
Should I avoid consuming weed in any form?
Marijuana is benign compared to some of the more synthetic substances out there, and it’s status as a legal drug mean it’s entirely up to the (adult) person whether they want to consume it.
Based on the volume of studies out there it’s difficult to know the overall impact weed will have on your long-term health. It’s ultimately your decision. But remember to consume weed responsibly.
Everything in moderation
Alcohol is legal in Canada, but that doesn’t mean you should drink it. As with anything else, especially drugs, moderation is key. Anything is dangerous and unhealthy if you develop a dependence on it, and weed is certainly something that people can become addicted to.
If you’re concerned that you may have developed an addiction to weed, it’s worth seeking help. While the physical impact of cannabis addiction may not be as immediately punishing as something like meth or cocaine, it can still be mentally and physically harmful.