Myth-busting cannabis: dispatches from Grow Up Cannabis Conference & Expo 2017
Because there’s still so much to learn about medicinal cannabis and its applications, there is a lot of misinformation about the plant spread within well-meaning communities trying to make sense of it all. At this week’s Grow Up Conference & Expo in Niagara Falls, cannabis educator Alex Revich highlighted the most common cannabis myths he comes across frequently – and shed some light on where the scientific community has landed on topics such as vaping vs. smoking, sativa vs. indica and the impacts of irradiating cannabis.
Myth #1: the effects of smoking cannabis are stronger than vaping.
Some longtime cannabis users report feeling unsatisfied by vaporizer use, and prefer to continue using the smoking delivery method because they feel stronger effects that way. The problem? “That is toxicity,” Revich said. “That is not something you want.” The cannabinoids or medicinal benefits of cannabis are found in its trichomes and hairs. When they’re heated in a vaporizer, or decarboxylated, it’s at a lower temperature than combustion and only the medicinal value of the plant is inhaled. But when we use cannabis cigarettes or joints, the entire plant, the rolling paper, the glue – all of those compounds are combusted at high temperatures, and are then inhaled. These combusted substances may produce psychoactive effects, but not for good reason. We highly recommend using a vaporizer (and we have a very high-quality product on sale in our shopping portal right now!)
Myth #2: indica varieties of cannabis and sativa varieties of cannabis are entirely different.
We often hear about the three distinct types of cannabis: indica, sativa and hybrids, which are a combination of the two main types. Users have traditionally reported that indicas produce sleepy, relaxed, “couch-locked” effects, while sativas produce creative, energetic effects. But while that could be a worthwhile starting point, there’s so much more, says Revich: “Certain indica varieties have certain cannabinoids (eg. THC, CBD, etc.) and terpenes (myrcene, limonene, etc.) and that’s what makes people sleepy – not that it’s an indica,” he said. Neurologist and researcher Dr. Ethan Russo examined 149 Dutch samples of cannabis and discovered no scientific basis for distinctions between varieties labelled indica vs. sativa. Rather than putting too much weight into the three types, science is looking more carefully at each strain’s chemical makeup and the individual endocannabinoid system of each patient to understand its medicinal effects.
Myth #3: Irradiation is unsafe.
Peace Naturals is one of few Canadian licensed producers of cannabis that does not gamma irradiate its product to lengthen shelf life. While many foods we eat are irradiated and the process is safe, “people have found is it might affect the terpenes and it might affect the scent and flavour,” Revich said. With more emphasis being placed on terpenes and their important role in medicinal use of cannabis, we have no plans on gamma irradiating Peace Naturals cannabis any time soon.