All the misrepresentations about cannabis in the recent media circus

The digital world may be a sign of advancements, but it comes at an investment - spam, false knowledge, links that contain malware, irrelevant or offensive material, all constitute spam. From media to branding to podcasts, cannabis users are still seen as the lazy stoners. The matter is that it finishes up reaching an outsized audience, and thereupon, the credibility of the content increases. More and more people share it, and it finishes up reaching way too many of us, each believing the content to be true.

This blog will check out some common myths and misconceptions in recent media and how we can get out of it.

Common misrepresentation by media

Regardless of advances in research and therefore, the increasing evidence base that supports the utilization of medicinal cannabis, several myths and misconceptions persist and infrequently gain traction within the media. A number of these stories provide light entertainment while others unfortunately harm the reputation of cannabis as a drug.

As it currently stands, cannabis is recognized to have no medical merit, which makes it extremely difficult to perform legal research studies on the potential benefits of the drug or its parts as medicine or recreational intoxicant.

Can Cannabis cause brain damage?

People’s thoughts on cannabis users are found that the differences between the brain function of heavy users which of non-users are minimal within the future, with the results far better for cannabis users than those found for heavy users of the other drug.

Misconceptions of cannabis like alcohol can kill brain cells. Heavy alcohol consumption, however, does damage the ends of neurons, making it difficult for them to relay messages to every other but doesn't kill brain cells.

Myths about addiction

The risks of developing a cannabis use disorder are minimal. Dose titration and regular consultations with a health care provider ensure a patient is taking only what they have for his or her condition and THC levels are less than those found in recreational use cannabis, with a couple of exceptions. Given cannabis safe history of use compared with opioids, the risks of adverse outcomes associated with addiction are unlikely.

While medical use of marijuana relies on the consequences of two cannabinoids, THC and CBD. THC bolsters appetite and reduces nausea, pain, and inflammation. It also can help with muscle control issues. CBD is additionally related to positive effects on pain and inflammation and has been linked to reducing epileptic seizures and therefore, the treatment of mental disease and addiction.

If people act on this false information, they could fail to require actions that protect health.

Recent media circus

An ongoing issue that has received distorted representation in the legislation on cannabis, beginning with the War on Drugs and progressing through cracking down on arrests due to cannabis, the media portrayal of cannabis followed the political position and placed a strong negative stigma on the substance. This is often classic scare-mongering that the media paints cannabis as a drug that will inevitably destroy lives, rather than as a viable recreational substance with potentially positive health benefits also play an important role in shaping a culture of criminalization of cannabis, despite scientific and scholarly studies.

India has a long history of cannabis, often associated with Lord Shiva. Rhea Chakraborty has been arrested by the NCB and some sources have claimed she’d admitted to the procurement and consumption of drugs. Also, NCB stated that Rhea was “an active member of a drug syndicate”. But as Rhea Chakraborty’s arrest has proved, at some point we collectively decided that marijuana is something to be looked down on. How did this happen?

For some, this crime was worthy of her having been targeted and hounded by reporters and three central agencies for the last few months, but for most, the revelation came as a bit of a letdown.

The NCB’s case hinged on the “discovery of 59 grams of curated cannabis from two men identified as Abbas Lakhani and Karan Arora” and the links they allegedly had with those close to Rajput.

Under the sections pressed against them are 20(b) that deals with production, manufacture, possession, selling, purchase, and transport of cannabis, 28 (punishment for attempt to commit offences), 29 (punishment for abetment and criminal conspiracy), and 27(a) that defines punishment for financing illicit traffic, and harbouring offenders.

The Maharashtra Government has separately launched a drug probe against Kangana Ranaut. The NCB is said to have a list of “25 celebs” who are part of a drug cartel.

While cannabis consumption is common, media confuse cannabis users with criminals.

While we all pretend that no one consumes drugs – just like no one consumes alcohol in Gujarat – a temple in North Karnataka hands out Cannabis as ‘prasad’.

As per Sharana, Aruda, Shaptha, and Avadhuta traditions, devotees consume cannabis aka ganja in various forms, believing that it helps them achieve enlightenment. At the Kumbh Mela, which is the world’s largest religious festival, it’s a common sight to see sadhus lighting up all through the day, as well as receive offerings of cannabis from their followers.

As the debate in the country around the usage of drugs heat up, many social media users are asking whether sadhus and religious institutions will be hounded in the same way that Rhea Chakraborty has been vilified on the news.

Conversely, the positive stories of cannabis use remain unreported as any situation draws more trending than a feel-good story typically does. The reporting of the criminalization of cannabis and its social implications rarely questioned the federal government’s intent and rationale. Some users have also tagged news channels like Republic TV, Times Now, and Aaj Tak to do a primetime episode and trend hashtags concerning this.

There’s also Rhea Chakraborty's WhatsApp chat with Jaya Saha which was made public by the media, that came to light during the questioning of the actress by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, which hints at a conspiracy to mix CBD oil in Sushant Rajput’s tea or coffee. Saha added that the actor suffered repeated bouts of anxiety and on many occasions would become restless. Saha in the message to Rhea had advised her to give the actor four drops of the oil which would help him relax and keep him calm. But, why is CBD being portrayed as the most lethal drug on the planet? It isn’t even psychotropic. CBD does not get you high but is used for many purposes such as treating anxiety and depression. It’s the THC content in cannabis that’s responsible for it. Watch the video & find out more about this oil.

Media: the fourth probe agency

Inflammatory conspiracy theories are better for news business compared to a nuanced discussion on the late actor’s mental health or other important issues of gripping the country. So, anchors will scrap even the slightest possibility of Rajput being mentally ill.

Drug users are treated like criminals by our media and under the law. But first, our TV channels don’t know much about celebrity lives, youth, or drugs. Prime-time anchors shout every night about “cleaning Bollywood” of this drug mafia. Cinema, they say, is the mirror of society. Filmmakers these days show their protagonists enjoying the occasional joint, pointing to its increasingly common use in India.

In the case of reporting on the War on Drugs and the campaign against drug abuse, the disproportionate political coverage of drug offenses legitimized the actions of authorities. As a result, law enforcement agencies focused on making more arrests, even for small offenses, rather than addressing societal problems.

Why do the media have misconceptions?

Cannabis users are often portrayed as lazy “stoners.” But research into why people use cannabis shows a different picture which says most people use cannabis as a rational choice to enhance their quality of life.

Most advanced researchers would be wary to conduct any research that could easily result in legal ramifications. While undergraduate and graduate researchers may not balk at the idea, their superiors would do well to avoid even supervising projects or studies dealing with cannabis. This classification leads to extreme difficulty in obtaining plants for research, leading to a lack of credible experts.

Without proper research, people cannot be sure that cannabis is indeed doing people more good than harm. There is also a tendency to ignore scientific experts in favor of administrative officials, overlooking the great lack of expertise.

Legality issue

The National Institute on Drug abuse, for the foremost part, funds only cannabis research which will make cannabis look bad. Any illicit use of a drug is by definition the government’s definition of abuse. You cannot simply use cannabis, as far as the federal government is concerned. So if you ain’t using it, you’re abusing it.

All of this has caused confusion, which has been made worse by the spread of cannabis-related misinformation on social media too.

What can we do?

People who don’t use cannabis may not understand why others do use it. The same is true for those who have tried it and didn’t see any benefit. However, with a better understanding of the reasons people use cannabis, we can look past the stigma and assumptions.

The key to solving the problem, if we are to improve the quality of media information that is retained, then we need to improve the education of the people who are gluing themselves to the media stories. Then, people will see the truth behind the information being shoveled in front of them.