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Cannabis/Marijuana Q&A

Does marijuana kill brain cells and lower IQ?

Numerous studies have proven cannabis does just the opposite – it promotes the growth and development of new brain cells. No other class of compounds has demonstrated the neuroprotective effects of cannabis. Cannabinoids also protect the brain from slower forms of injury, like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, especially when used in the correct dosage. While cannabis can cause some temporary cognitive changes such as a decrease in short term memory, these changes are reversible when an adult stops using cannabis.

Does marijuana make you "stoned" or "high"?

Smoking or ingesting marijuana can cause a psychoactive effect. A growing number of patients want the medical benefits of cannabis without any intoxication or impairment in function – they want to use it while working, safely driving, and more.  This is both possible, and practical.  After decades of selective breeding to produce the most intoxicating strains of cannabis, sought after by recreational users and dealers in the underground market, medical cannabis breeders are now producing strains that emphasize the health benefits and reduce or eliminate the psychoactivity.

Does smoking marijuana cause cancer?

A large study in 2006 showed that heavy cannabis users have an equal or lower rate of lung and respiratory tract cancers than non-users, even though cannabis smoke has been proven to contain cancer-causing products of combustion.  How is this possible?  The therapeutic substances in cannabis actually have strong anti-cancer properties.  This has been known since the 1970’s but more recently cannabinoids have become a major focus of the pharmaceutical industry’s anti-cancer drug development. While smoking cannabis is unlikely to cause cancer, it can irritate the respiratory tract, especially in sensitive individuals.  Most patients and responsible adult cannabis users are turning to non-smokable delivery methods: vaporizers allow users to inhale the medicinal component of the herb without any smoke; tinctures and liquid extracts are safe and convenient, and topically applied cannabis salves are reported to reduce pain and inflammation.

Is marijuana addictive and a gateway to other drugs?

Marijuana dependence does exist, but is not common.  The withdrawal effects are mild and similar in intensity to caffeine withdrawal.  Most people don’t have any trouble stopping using cannabis, when and if they need to. Recent research demonstrates that cannabis actually serves as an exit drug, not a gateway drug.  One study of 350 medical cannabis users in California found 40% percent of the subjects used cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, 26% as a substitute for illicit drugs and 66% as a substitute for prescription drugs.  Any time a person can replace a safer substance, like cannabis, for a more harmful substance, such as alcohol, it is a step in the right direction.

Does marijuana make people hungry and fat?

Surprisingly, a 2011 study of 52,000 participants in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed people who smoke cannabis at least three times a week, compared with those who don’t use it at all, are one third less likely to be obese.  Cannabinoids affect brain centers related to pleasure and eating, they also affect the hormones of metabolism, and if used correctly, can potentially restore balance to individuals who are both underweight and overweight.

Does marijuana make people mentally unstable?

Scientists debate whether or not cannabis can actually cause or trigger the onset of mental illness. If it does, it’s extremely rare.It is much more common for cannabis to actually help mental illness such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar, and even schizophrenia, especially when used appropriately under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

For referenced researched articles and additional information regarding medical cannabis, please visit

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