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Cannabis Research: Why You Shouldn’t Believe All You Read

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We’re now used to hearing the call for “more research” in the ongoing struggle to legalize cannabis. It’s often a chicken and egg situation where the forces that be don’t want to legalize cannabis due to the lack of research, and the lack of research is due to the status of cannabis as being federally illegal.

Sadly, the lack of research has led to a muddying of the waters in terms of what we know, and what we are still yet to confirm through research, about cannabis and its effects on human health.

The cannabis community is unfortunately rife with content that is misleading and makes claims about cannabis that is yet to be fully supported by research.

Why You Can’t Just Say Anything About Cannabis

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cracked down on the cannabis community when they issued several letters of warning to cannabis companies across the United States. These companies were found to be using language on their websites and public relations information that made claims about the cannabis products that were misleading. CBD rich cannabis products were positioning themselves as “cures” to very serious medical issues before undergoing the necessary clinical trials to be able to make such claims (about any medical product).

We’ve seen this before. We know that there are many alternative health practitioners, documentaries, pseudo-medicine companies, social media personalities, special interest groups, and individuals who make claims about certain products, diets, or lifestyles. They often position things as a “cure” and urge people to reject modern medicine in favor of alternative approaches. Cannabis can’t take this route.

Become Critical Consumers of Information

Cannabis is often one of the approaches to health that can lead people to get lost in the weeds if there is lack of responsible communications and information available about this mighty plant we all love.

Oov Lifestyle is all about the ways that cannabis can be incorporated into your every day to enhance your body, mind, and soul. We support that it has very practical medicinal applications and we will continue to be tireless advocates for more research for cannabis for medicinal uses.

As a lifestyle publication, we recognize that we need to be realistic, and responsible, in the ways we approach cannabis and how we help our readers understand cannabis and lifestyle.

We urge people exploring cannabis not to believe all they read about cannabis, yet to take it upon themselves to know how to be discretionary and critical about cannabis information.

Here are a few ways you can become experts in understanding the body of knowledge on cannabis:

Understanding Different Types of Research

Currently, the cannabis community relies heavily on empirical research that is based on observation and experiences. Oov Lifestyle engages in empirical research and evidence collecting all the time through collecting and sharing the experiences of people with cannabis and how it has changed their lives and health. Over time, it’s this empirical evidence that has allowed the cannabis community to thrive. It’s through empirical research that we draw conclusions about cannabis that helps us advocate for more formal research, which is usually referred to clinical research.

Clinical research is a more formal way of conducting research, and it’s this type of research that lawmakers rely on to make decisions about the future of cannabis. Although there’s been recent scorn towards the phrases “science-based” and “evidence-based”, these are still pretty important concepts for research.

This is the kind of research that we have “some” of, but certainly not enough of for cannabis. This is the chicken and the egg situation referenced above. Clinical research involves qualified specialists investigating a particular research question. It usually involves getting funding, ethics approval, and a well-thought-out methodology that is eventually executed to form research conclusions.

Clinical research is what you’ll see in academic journals and online research databases that provide a science- and evidence-based understanding. To be published, clinical studies and data are peer-reviewed, meaning they’re scrutinized by a team of academic peers that determine its efficacy. Once that is determined, it’s released to the academic community and in many cases, released through “open data” where the public can retrieve research information. If there isn’t a strong body of peer-reviewed research surrounding a particular issue, lawmakers have a difficult time passing legislation.

What can we do in the absence of enough formal research on cannabis?

Become a Critical Learner About Cannabis

In order to strengthen the cannabis movement, we have to join together to commit to spreading accurate, informative, and true information about cannabis. We need to be discerning of the information we read and be prepared to toss out the garbage information that doesn’t present an accurate understanding of cannabis.

Here are a few ways you can help increase your cannabis information literacy:

  • Check your sources. There are a lot of sub-par cannabis publications out there that are unfortunately more about clickbait than actually educating people about cannabis. If you’re reading about cannabis on a site that’s full of “BS” article links and you’re being barraged by popups and banners, you’re likely not getting the best information about cannabis. If people are claiming that “a study” revealed something, make sure there’s a link that brings you directly to that information.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions based on bias. Take your time to research more about something before taking it as truth. There is A LOT of bias out there in terms of cannabis. People and interest groups will spread the information they want about cannabis and can spin any information to suit their agenda. Before sharing something, do a bit of background to ensure what you’re reading is substantiated.
  • Become a research geek. Open access research publications allow anyone to read formal research about cannabis. Databases like Project CBD and the US National Library of Medicine (PubMed) contain links to full research documents as well as study abstracts that provide an overview of the formal research process and conclusions. There are a lot of helpful links to clinical research on cannabis, however limited.
  • Advocate. You have the power as a citizen of your state to advocate for more cannabis research. Contact your municipal and state representatives, share your stories with them, and ask them to invest in and advocate for research into cannabis. Use your voice!

It’s On Us… For Now

It’s on the cannabis community to keep up the quality of information on cannabis high and to advocate for more empirical research and clinical research on cannabis so that we can substantiate what we know about cannabis already.

You can help by ensuring you become a discretionary consumer of cannabis information while helping to share and advocate towards collecting research that brings a more accurate view of how cannabis is changing lives.

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