You’ll often see people advocating for marijuana research, and you may wonder why the heck we’re still doing that. Cannabis has been around for thousands of years, and we surely must know all of its effects, right? Well, not quite. There’s still plenty we don’t know about marijuana.
Here are five things we still don’t know about cannabis and need to research:
1. Killing Cancer Cells
Perhaps the most controversial claim some make about cannabis is that it can kill cancer cells. And while it may sound like a crazy claim someone makes to justify using marijuana, there are some preliminary studies that suggest cannabis can inhibit cancer cell growth. But these studies are very few, and there’s no clinical data available to prove that marijuana use could be an effective treatment to actually stop cancer from spreading.
You’ll often read stories about how pregnant women are using marijuana more and how this will affect their babies negatively. But there’s actually not a lot of evidence to suggest that’s the case. Most arguments against pregnant women using marijuana are hypothetical, claiming since some studies show marijuana use is bad for the teenage brain (already a somewhat controversial claim) that it must be bad for babies too. But the only real study on pregnancy and marijuana use says that babies who were birthed by cannabis using mothers weigh around four ounces less than non-cannabis using mothers. There’s just not a lot that we know about how marijuana use affects pregnancy.
There are multiple different theories about marijuana and diabetes. Some say marijuana improves insulin production and therefore can help prevent people from developing diabetes. Others say that marijuana inhibits insulin production, and therefore puts people more at risk at developing it. Obviously we don’t know 100 percent either way.
4. Heart Health
Marijuana’s effect on the heart, and specifically blood pressure, are often confusing. Some studies show that marijuana users are more likely to be hypertensive, meaning have higher blood pressure. However, cannabis can also be a vasodilator, meaning that using it widens the blood vessels and should lower blood pressure. Add on that some people think marijuana use increases risk of heart attack, and you just realize we have no freaking clue how marijuana affects the heart.
We all know about the cannabinoids THC and CBD, but did you know that scientists say there are more than 60 cannabinoids in marijuana? Or did you know that other scientists think there may be over 120 cannabinoids? We not only don’t know how many exact cannabinoids there are, but we also don’t know what a lot of them do. While THC and CBD are well-studied, there are dozens of others that appear in large quantities in our marijuana that we frankly don’t know anything about.