Cannabis cannot: Americans think cannabis has lots of benefits that science does not support |

Cannabis cannot: Americans think cannabis has lots of benefits that science does not support

Americans ascribe all sorts of benefits to marijuana that science does not support. Part of the reason for the absence of scientific research data is that scientists must dive through regulatory hoops to do research due to marijuana's federal classification as a Schedule I controlled substance.
Special to the Daily

What People think Cannabis can do

Dr. Salomeh Keyhani, a doctor and researcher with the University of California San Francisco, and several of her colleagues asked 16,280 American adults about their perception of the benefits and risks of marijuana. Their findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Among their findings:

• 36.9 percent said edible marijuana could prevent health problems.

• 29.2 percent believed smoking or vaping marijuana was protective.

• 76 percent believed marijuana could be addictive.

• 22.4 percent believed it could not be addictive.

• 9 percent of people who use marijuana become addicted.

• 92.1 percent thought marijuana was unsafe during pregnancy.

• 7.3 percent thought it was somewhat or completely safe during pregnancy.

• 27.6 percent said driving while under the influence of marijuana was safer than driving while drunk.

EAGLE COUNTY — People tend to think marijuana will do all sorts of things that science does not support.

Dr. Salomeh Keyhani led a survey of 16,280 American adults, asking what they thought marijuana could do for them. She and her colleagues found that Americans tend to ascribe benefits to marijuana that are not based in science.

Americans are an optimistic lot, especially when it comes to their favorable view of marijuana’s health benefits. There aren’t many, Keyhani said.

In fact, Keyhani says marijuana or cannabis products do not prevent health problems.

“There is no evidence that supports such a notion,” she said.

Keyhani calls the findings “concerning.”

Local Example

America’s prevailing opinion is not completely without merit. A local boy, Quintin Lovato, has been using an oil called Haleigh’s Hope to control his epileptic seizures and Tourette’s symptoms.

Keyhani said she is not familiar with Haleigh’s Hope, adding that there appears to be role for cannabidiol in the treatment of some forms of severe epilepsy of childhood, but not epilepsy in general.

Based on a recent trial: “Cannabinoids have not been shown to be helpful for Tourette’s syndrome,” Keyhani said.

Cannabis can ease nausea and pain that often accompanies chemotherapy, Keyhani said. However, no scientific evidence indicates it can help with so many other medical conditions that Americans think it can.

Dr. Timothy Fong, a professor of addiction psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a faculty member of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, told the Annals of Internal Medicine that because marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance, scientists must dive through regulatory hoops to do research.

Fong said that in the absence of scientific research data, people probably get their information from pop culture, television shows, celebrities, social media and cannabis conventions.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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