A lot of the mainstream “facts” about marijuana come from well-meaning but ultimately ignorant attempts to dissuade consumption. Sadly, this has resulted in a lot of misinformation that has done nothing to keep people from trying the drug themselves but has done a great job in diminishing the credibility of anti-drug organizations.
What’s worse, these anti-cannabis myths have given way to the overly positive myths that claim marijuana is almost a miracle drug capable of curing all of the world ailments, which is just as bad. It’s time to forget the propaganda and get to the bottom of this:
Myth #1: Marijuana is not addictive
For a long time, those advocating for the depenalization of marijuana have claimed that it poses no risk of physical or psychological addiction, but that’s actually not true, people can and do become addicted to marijuana, especially if they start smoking at a young age. It is also true that not every single user will become addicted, but there is a risk and spreading this falsehood makes things harder for people with addictions.
Myth #2: Pot is a gateway drug
This one probably came from some old-timey PSA program, but it’s become so ubiquitous people say it as fact all the time. Science says it’s not true. The most abused drugs that tend to lead to other drugs are alcohol and nicotine, not marijuana. If anything, keeping marijuana illegal does expose users to other illicit drugs, but that does not mean that cannabis is at fault here, it’s more of a flaw of the system.
Myth #3: Marijuana is completely safe
Another myth by advocates is that there’s nothing to fear when smoking pot because you can’t overdose, which is true, but an overdose is not the only thing you should be fearing. Daily use does have side effects, like memory problems, lethargy, and sleep problems.
Myth #4: Marijuana causes schizophrenia
While drugs like PCP can cause schizophrenia or schizoid symptoms in individuals regardless of their predisposition, marijuana doesn’t. Those predisposed to mental illness are putting themselves at risk when they experiment with drugs, and marijuana can cause anxiety, and psychotic episodes when consumed in high doses, even in healthy individuals, but that it is in no way similar to schizophrenia. The myth that marijuana causes schizophrenia is just that, a myth with no data to back it up.
Myth #5: All cannabis is safe
This is a particularly dangerous blanket statement. First of all, there are many different strains that will cause various effects on different individuals. Second of all, in places where marijuana growth is still illegal, no one can’t really claim they’re ingesting something safe or even natural. If you’re acquiring your pot from illegal dealers, there’s no way for you to know how safe or pure the strain you get is. In fact, assume it isn’t at all.
What’s important is that anyone deciding to use pot knows exactly what they’re doing. Myths, whether designed to give an extra positive or alarmingly negative idea, do nothing for the safe use of marijuana, but can actually put people in danger.