Cannabis Myth Dispelled: The Science Isn't There Yet

Almost 4,000 papers studying the subject this year, and questions are still being asked.

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Thanks to myriad studies, over the years we’ve learned that cannabis helps people with autism, chronic pain patients, those suffering migraines, and post-traumatic stress, among many other health-related issues. In fact, there have been more than 3,800 scientific studies on the subject of cannabis in 2021, according to NORML

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That’s more than were published during all of last year. In 2020, scientists published 3,500-plus papers on cannabis in peer-reviewed journals — a total which was, at that time, the most ever in a single year.

And yet, we’re no closer to understanding the true potential of cannabis, and the federal government still has not legalized it. But the research will continue.

RELATED: Most Of The $1.5 Billion Spent on Cannabis Research Went To Studies Telling People How Bad It Is For Them

Myth busters

At this point, it’s almost easier publishing a study that shows what the cannabis can’t do versus what it can do. 

Do a keyword search of the National Library of Medicine/PubMed.gov website, a free resource available to the public, and you’ll find more than 3,900 peer-reviewed papers exploring everything from marijuana and bariatric surgery to its effects on glaucoma patients. Overall there are more than 38,500 scientific papers on marijuana to date.

Research into cannabis has been increasing every year since about 2010, says NORML. There was even a study in 2018 on why there are so many studies. The reason: The uptick in scientific interest parallels the newfound focus on marijuana’s therapeutic properties. People want to prove that cannabis has more positives than negatives, and if science can back it, maybe it would flip the switch at the federal level.

RELATED: Cannabis vs. Pharmaceutical Medicine: One Not Very Surprising Study

But no matter how much research goes into use among teens (or Boomers or Millennials), the economic impacts of use in racially diverse communities, or effects on bariatric patients, we’re no closer to getting the federal prohibitions lifted and making marijuana legal across all of the U.S. 

“Despite claims by some that marijuana has yet to be subject to adequate scientific scrutiny, scientists’ interest in studying cannabis has increased exponentially in recent years, as has our understanding of the plant, its active constituents, their mechanisms of action, and their effects on both the user and upon society,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “It is time for politicians and others to stop assessing cannabis through the lens of ‘what we don’t know’ and instead start engaging in evidence-based discussions about marijuana and marijuana reform policies that are indicative of all that we do know.”