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Anti-Cannabis Legalization Media Is Out There And Needs To Be Seen For What It Is

By Roger Malespin photo/istock/Bet_Noire

The cannabis community has a lot to be happy about nowadays -  it seems there are positive stories every week about new decriminalization measures, medical research, and an overall shifting in the American consciousness of accepting cannabis as the safe drug that it is. However, there will always be detractors. Those who have financial incentive to oppose legalization or are just holding onto outdated and  ideas about cannabis are in the media every day. These people use media, often masquerading as objective, scientific pieces that are willfully ignorant and misleading about cannabis, and they can be difficult to detect to the untrained eye.

A recent article in the New York Post, citing a study the Australian-based National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), said that cannabis is not a ‘miracle pain reliever’. It goes on to say that “participants who were using cannabis had greater pain and anxiety, were not coping as well with their pain, and reported that pain was interfering more in their life”, and
“they found there was no clear evidence that cannabis reduced pain severity or pain interference or led participants to reduce their opioid use or dose.”

The NYP is a right wing, Murdoch owned entity that is really regarded as little more than a tabloid among journalists, but still has a sizable presence in print and digital platforms. What’s interesting about this is not so much the information of the study itself, but rather what information that the NYP decided to publish and what it held back. 

For starters, no one credible would call cannabis a miracle pain reliever. There’s nothing miraculous about it - it’s a plant whose benefits have been known and used for thousands of years without a single death or serious medical condition linked to it, ever. 
Also, the article conveniently leaves out the fact that the same study was specifically referring to users who are already on opiods for pain, which is different than starting a cannabis treatment regimen when not addicted. Cannabis has never been proposed to get addicts off of opioids by itself - that takes a lot more work. Rather, it is supposed to be used as an alternative to opioids at the start of treatment or as a replacement to those not hooked yet. To gloss over that fact is misleading and disingenuous. 
It should also be noted that the statistics in Australia regarding the war on drugs and cannabis mirrors everywhere else. It hasn’t reduced crime, nor people’s want or access to it. Australia has legalized medical cannabis at the federal level based on hard science data, just as Canada has, and just as the U.S. will at some point. The NYP would have readers believe that this study undermines the progress in cannabis knowledge and awareness, yet it does anything but. It reinforces many of the facts that legalization advocates have known for years. 
This article is just one example of how easy it is for anti cannabis media to spin data to make it look like it supports their position, and it’s not the only one out there. Most of us in the cannabis community have at least a decent understanding of the science behind its benefits, but a large portion of the American population has no such knowledge, and could easily be mislead from articles like this. Misrepresenting the science behind cannabis and minimizing the many, many personal accounts of cannabis providing easy pain relief for cancer and other pains is nothing short of reprehensible. At best it perpetuates the misinformation of cannabis that lead us to the state of it today, and at worst it harms innocent people who are looking for pain relief from potentially life threatening ailments.
You can always go to the source and read the data for yourself. Stay informed, active, and don’t let second rate media outlets undermine people’s medical and recreational freedom.