As marijuana quickly becomes more and more socially acceptable, millions of people are beginning to understand the lies that they have been told about pot. Here are the five biggest myths about weed that have prevented any kind of legalization movement from getting on a roll.
1. Marijuana Causes Cancer
Many have said that smoking pot and smoking cigarettes is the same thing and, therefore; marijuana must cause cancer, as well. Not only have countless independent studies disproved this, but some have actually found that marijuana decreased tumor growth by as much as 50%. (Sorry, cigarettes will still kill you.)
2. Marijuana Is Addictive
While prolonged use has shown to leave signs of dependence, marijuana does not actually contain a “nicotine-like” compound that causes it to be addictive. (This is similar to being “addicted” to soda.) There are little to no withdrawal symptoms, especially when compared to the withdrawal effects of drugs like cocaine or heroin – or even an alcohol-induced hangover.
3. Marijuana Is a Gateway Drug
Simply put, numerous studies have unequivocally disproved the idea that using marijuana leads to use of harder drugs. Marijuana has actually successfully been used to reduce hard drug users’ dependence on drugs. So, in reality, it is the exact opposite of a gateway drug.
4. Marijuana Causes Brain Damage
Another myth where the exact opposite thing is true: Not only have studied disproved the idea that marijuana damages your brain, they have found that it actually protects your brain from the damage that heavy drinking can cause.
5. Marijuana Has No Medical Uses
Governments have often defended their marijuana policies by citing their own studies that say that marijuana does not have any therapeutic effects. Not true. Aside from the uses listed above, marijuana have been proven to have beneficial effects on people suffering from migraines, glaucoma, AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy, stomach disorders, and dozens of other health problems.
And, most recently, even the American Medical Association called for the government to remove its restrictive Schedule 1 status.
6. Marijuana Causes Lung Disease
It is frequently claimed that marijuana smoke contains such high concentrations of irritants that marijuana users’ risk of developing lung disease is equal to or greater than that of tobacco users. Except for their psychoactive ingredients, marijuana and tobacco smoke are nearly identical. 21 Because most marijuana smokers inhale more deeply and hold the smoke in their lungs, more dangerous material may be consumed per cigarette. However, it is the total volume of irritant inhalation—not the amount in each cigarette—that matters.
7. Marijuana Harms Sexual Maturation And Reproduction
Marijuana has been said to interfere with the production of hormones associated with reproduction, causing possible infertility among adult users and delayed sexual development among adolescents. There is no evidence that marijuana impairs male reproductive functioning. The Jamaican and Costa Rican field studies detected no differences in hormone levels between marijuana users and non-users. Other than one case report of a 16-year old marijuana smoker who had failed to progress to puberty, 42 there has been nothing to indicate that such a potential exists. In whatever other ways one might consider marijuana to be bad for adolescents; it does not retard their sexual development.
8. Marijuana Is an Addictive Drug
Data gathered by the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) show a recent increase in “marijuana mentions” by people seeking treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Using a one-page form, emergency-room personnel record “drug abuse episodes,” note the presence or absence of alcohol as a contributing factor, and list up to four other drugs recently consumed by the patient.
Despite marijuana being the most frequently used illicit drug, in emergency rooms, it remains the least often mentioned illicit drug.
For youth aged six to 17, there were more mentions of marijuana than of heroin and cocaine—not because marijuana is more harmful to them but because these latter drugs are used so infrequently by young people. In this age group, mentions of over-the-counter pain medications were substantially higher than those for marijuana. While marijuana accounted for 6.48% of drug mentions by youth, over-the-counter pain medications accounted for 47%.
Despite recent increases in marijuana mentions, hospital emergency rooms are not flooded with marijuana users seeking medical attention. In 1992, of 433,493 total drug mentions, only 4,464—about 1%—involved the use of marijuana alone.
Addiction, I think not.
9. Marijuana Produces Amotivational Syndrome
Large-scale studies of high school students have generally found no difference in grade-point averages between marijuana users and non-users. 69 One study found lower grades among students reported to be daily users of marijuana, but the authors failed to identify a causal relationship and concluded that both phenomena were part of a complex of inter-related social and emotional problems.
In one longitudinal study of college students, after controlling for other factors, marijuana users were found to have higher grades than non-users and to be equally as likely to successfully complete their educations. Another study found that marijuana users in college scored higher than non-users on standardized “achievement values” scales.
Field studies conducted in Jamaica, Costa Rica and Greece also found no evidence of an amotivational syndrome marijuana-using populations.In these samples of working-class males, the educational and employment records of marijuana users were, for the most part, similar to those of non-users. In fact, in Jamaica, marijuana was often smoked during working hours as an aid to productivity.
10. Marijuana is way more Deadly Than Tobacco.
Smoked marijuana contains about an identical quantity of cancer agents as does an equivalent quantity of tobacco. I should point out that a heavy tobacco smoker consumes much more tobacco than a heavy marijuana smoker consumes marijuana. If marijuana were legal, it might be less expensive to have cannabis food and drinks, which are completely non-carcinogenic. This is in stark contrast with “smokeless” tobacco products like snuff which may cause cancer of the mouth and throat.