Medical cannabis oil
When experts publish a scientific paper that seems to have a clear conclusion, most of us take it as gospel truth, but there is such a thing as ‘bad science’ and this is an excellent example.
Of course, it’s often difficult for the layman to spot bad science, or even to read those scientific papers. So when an Australian study came up with a very disturbing finding regarding medical cannabis oil use, the East Bay Express sought an expert opinion.
Damaged DNA study is ‘bad science’
Associate Professor Stuart Reece and Professor Gary Hulse of the University of Western Australia recently published a paper with a very long title that had lots of scary and authoritative ‘big’ words in it – and a very scary conclusion.
Medical cannabis use, it concluded, damages your DNA making your kids get cancer. That’s when the Express decided to contact one of the biggest experts on medical cannabis research for his opinion. Ethan Russo is a renowned researcher and the editor of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics.
A selection of our products
Russo explains why we shouldn’t believe the Australian research
In the first place, says Russo, the research was an exercise in ‘logic’ rather than representing the results of real lab tests. And that logic is flawed. The conclusion that cannabis causes mutations, birth defects and cancer says Russo is built on a “foundation of falsehoods”. And, says Russo, there are “countless studies” showing that cannabis is none of these things.
What’s more, to show cause and effect relationships, researchers have to eliminate other possible causes – in this instance the presence of other substances that are known to cause genetic mutations. These include alcohol, tobacco and certain medications. Although the paper mentions these, it doesn’t use any strategies to check its findings against the presence of these known mutagenics. Even severe stress, poor diet, or lack of exercise can cause mutations, says Russo.
In a nutshell, the study proves absolutely nothing and can’t even be used as an indication of a remote possibility. Using cannabis oil really can’t damage your DNA.
“Reefer madness” says Russo
Russo obviously feels that the research paper is not just bad science, but terrible science. He equates it to ‘Reefer Madness’ a term that was coined as a result of a 1936 propaganda film that made such ridiculous claims about cannabis that it resurfaced in the seventies – this time as a tool for pot activists to make fun of.
Mentioning one of the worst films ever made in the same breath as a scientific journal article should be enough to convince us that Russo is very, very sure that cannabis oil won’t damage your DNA. On the contrary, he says it’s time to openly accept that cannabis-based medicine is safe and can be used “for the advancement of public health”.