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Legalize, Don’t Criticize: The Lowdown on Weed & The Music Industry

Since the mid-1900s, cannabis has rooted itself deep in the music industry. Historically, music and weed go hand in hand. Songs are written about it, songs are written on it, and if you attend any outdoor music festival, you are likely to get a whiff of it more than a couple of times.

As many countries legalize or begin the process to legalize cannabis, the plant continues to become less and less of a societal taboo.

The common misconception of cannabis users being lazy and stupid is on the way out. Many famous and hard-working artists have even cited cannabis as their muse for inspiration when writing a song.

With some referring to the legalization of cannabis as the ‘green rush,’ various celebrities and musicians have dove headfirst into the recreational and medical weed business.

On Miley Cyrus’s 2014 Bangerz tour, her tour merchandise included Bangerz branded gold-leaf rolling papers. Snoop Dogg sells his own strain to medicinal marijuana users branded under “Leafs by Snoop” and has a cannabis online media platform under the website name, Melissa Etheridge, another well-known advocate and artist, created a line of weed-infused wine. Melissa Etheridge began using cannabis as part of her treatment for breast cancer. Having won her battle with cancer, she continues to publicly phrase the herb for its therapeutic effects and benefits.

From Willie Nelson to Rihanna, many high-profile names support the impending legalization and cite the benefits that cannabis use can have. The last decade, in particular, has been revolutionary for the cannabis community.

However, various misconceptions and myths still surround cannabis use. Is it bad for our health? Does it have any real benefits?

Here are several facts that have been significantly supported by studies and research conducted on cannabis:
• According to a review done by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine:
• Cannabis is an effective method for reducing vomiting and nausea in chemotherapy patients.
• Individuals with chronic pain are likely to experience “clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms” with the use of cannabis.
• Short-term oral cannabinoids reduce spasticity symptoms in those with Multiple Sclerosis.
• There is no evidence that cannabis increases cancer risk. However, there is some evidence that suggests a link between cannabis use and a type of testicular cancer.
• Regularly smoking cannabis is linked to chronic cough symptoms and increased phlegm. Further research needs to explore the use of cannabis in relation to asthma, respiratory issues, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
• Small evidence indicates that cannabis may decrease inflammation. However, further research, also, needs to be done in relation to inflammation, immunity, and cannabis.
• Cannabis use before or while driving increases the risk of a motor vehicle accidents.
• Learning, memory, and attention may be limited within 24 hours of cannabis use.
• Cannabis does not appear to increase anxiety or depression disorders, but is linked with possibly increasing the chance of developing psychosis disorders, such as schizophrenia.
• A study published in the Journal of Epilepsy Research found that cannabis, particularly CBD, may be a viable treatment option for children and adolescents with epilepsy.
• In the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, a review looked at various studies and determined cannabis may help relieve digestive disorders such as abdominal pain and diarrhea, anorexia, weight loss symptoms related to the GI tract, and vomiting or nausea. However, the review went on to state that further evidence is needed since it is slightly unclear how cannabis helps in these situations.
• In relation to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine review, over 24 studies have concluded that cannabis use reduces pain and muscle spacity in MS patients. It is even supplied as a prescribed drug in some countries called Sativex.

Evidently, further studies are necessary to determine the exact ramifications and impact weed has on the body. With impending legalization, many of these broad claims may be solidified through research.

So, what exactly happens in our body under the influence of weed?

Cannabis contains compounds called cannabinoids. The 2 most commonly known cannabinoids are CBD and THC. These cannabinoids act on endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies. CB1 receptors are located in our brains and CB2 receptors are located in our immune system.

These receptors are part of many physiological processes including sleep patterns, pain sensation and processing, memory, appetite, and mood. THC attaches to the CB1 receptors in our brains and induces that ‘high’ feeling associated with cannabis use.

CBD, on the other hand, attaches to different receptors which have roles in regulating body temperature, pain perception, and inflammation. CBD actually inhibits activation of CB1 receptors and can reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. In many medical cannabis treatments, the combination of CBD and THC is preferred to reduce the “high” sensation.

So, is cannabis use good for us? Is it bad for us? What’s the deal?

Studies have shown it has some good sides, and potentially some downsides. For example, smoking cannabis is likely not good for respiratory health. However, vaping and edibles offer solutions to any negative repercussions from smoke inhalation.

All things considered, anything in high amounts can be bad for our health. Moderate cannabis consumption, on the other hand, may be beneficial.

Cannabis and the music industry have been intertwined for decades. Legalization is strengthening these ties. We are in the middle of a revolution involving cannabis and with change comes knowledge as scientists begin to explore the marijuana plant further.

For many, the future regarding legalization is exciting. A new legal and safe herb that could have potentially positive health benefits could advance numerous healthcare systems, help boost the economy, and avoid many from life haunting criminal records.

As a musician and an artist, be aware of the benefits and possible repercussions of cannabis. Educate yourself. Make informed decisions regarding your health. A balanced and healthy lifestyle gives you the opportunity to create and give in the form of your music. Put your health first and stay in the know.

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