Now, when it comes to drugs, there are a lot of myths and stories that the older gen tells us. But have you thought of the truth behind it? Some are fabricated to keep us away from it, while others appear to be true. The point of this article is to shed some clarity to some of these statements that are circulated widely, and it’s not to provide any sort of advocacy to take weed. Here goes:
1. Myth: Banning marijuana effectively protects kids
Fact: For the first time U.S., teens are reported to be smoking more pot than cigarettes. However, teens do not smoke any more pot in states where medical marijuana is legal than in states where it’s not. Legalization advocates argue that the best method to decrease use by teens is to actually legalize and regulate weed.
2. Myth: Marijuana use causes cancer
Fact: While it is true that marijuana smoke, like cigarettes, contains carcinogens, hard-core pot smokers usually smoke way less pot than cigarette smokers do cigarettes, and mostly not enough to cause cancer. A UCLA study in 2006 came to conclusion that even heavy marijuana use does not lead to lung cancer; “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.” Many other studies also suggest that weed can actually stop the growth of cancerous tumours.
3. Myth: Marijuana is a ‘gateway’ drug
Fact: Statistically, kids who use marijuana are more susceptible to other drugs, but it doesn’t mean marijuana use causes the use of other drugs as the same factors driving marijuana use probably explain use of other drugs. This report by the Institute of Medicine found “no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”
4. Myth: Prisons are full of people arrested for marijuana possession
Fact: There are about 750,000 people arrested annually for marijuana offenses in the U.S. However, not all arrests lead to prosecutions, and only a few people have been prosecuted and convicted of possession end up in jail. Many are just fined or are placed into community supervision. Only around 40,000 inmates have a current conviction involving marijuana and about half of them are in for marijuana offenses alone with most of them being involved in distribution. Less than one percent are in for possession alone.
5. Myth: Marijuana is completely harmless
Fact: Obviously, heavy consumption of weed can be harmful since pot smoke is chemically very similar to cigarette smoke which means that heavy pot smokers are at risk for some of the same health effects as cigarette smokers such as bronchitis. However, the risks are from the ‘smoking’ of the chemical, and smoking pot isn’t the only way to consume weed.
6. Myth: Marijuana is a dangerous drug
7. Myth: Synthetic marijuana is safe.
Fact: Wrong. Synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, K2, and fake weed, can be up to 100x stronger than regular and natural marijuana, and it’s also really hard to find spice that’s manufactured safely. It started out in a lab to find out how cannabinoids affects the brain and was marketed as a safe and legal version of weed. However, when the DEA caught on to its insane side effect such as hallucinations, stroke, vomiting, acute psychosis, even death, the DEA banned the substance. But of course manufacturers quickly created versions that is just a little different and these synthetic weed slips through, making its way into head shops and bodegas.
8. Myth: You can’t overdose on weed.
Fact: Firstly, an overdose means you take more than the normal or recommended amount. Hence, symptoms of a (non-lethal) weed overdose includes anxiety, paranoia, dizziness, and loss of coordination. If anyone were to die from an overdose, they would need to consume approximately 15,000 pounds of weed in 15 minutes. Is that possible? Nope. That would be like a 154-pound person taking in more than 46 pounds of marijuana at once. Basically, it’s impossible to die from weed oerdose (unless you get to an accident or something external).
9. Myth: Marijuana use leads to dependence or addiction
Fact: While it is possible to become dependent on marijuana, this only happens in a very small percentage of the already small group of heavy users. Research suggests that about 9% of marijuana users became clinically dependent at some point, compared to 15% of cocaine users and 24% of heroin users.