There are almost more myths about cannabis then there are people that smoke it. Some people spread these rumours because its in their best business interest, like the DEA, paper industry or the petrochemical industry.
These issues are no surprise to the well informed cannabis enthusiast and even the experts sometimes have difficultly separating the facts from fiction.
In an attempt to help you separate facts from fiction we have composed a top 5 of cannabis myths:
With special thanks to drugpolicy.org for being the excellent source of information they are.
Myth: Marijuana Can Cause Permanent Mental Illness. Among adolescents, even occasional marijuana use may cause psychological damage. During intoxication, marijuana users become irrational and often behave erratically.
Fact: There is no convincing scientific evidence that marijuana causes psychological damage or mental illness in either teenagers or adults. Some marijuana users experience psychological distress following marijuana ingestion, which may include feelings of panic, anxiety, and paranoia. Such experiences can be frightening, but the effects are temporary. With very large doses, marijuana can cause temporary toxic psychosis. This occurs rarely, and almost always when marijuana is eaten rather than smoked. Marijuana does not cause profound changes in people’s behaviour.
Most research is this field suggest that there is a link between cannabis and schizophrenia, however what most people seem to forget that this does NOT mean cannabis is the cause of schizophrenia (and has never proven to be, regardless of any pseudo-scientific evidence). It might well be that there is a connection because schizophrenics like to use cannabis to self medicate and it actually helps to fight schizophrenia. To illustrate this; what if there would be a scientific research showing a connection between chocolate ice cream and women? Does the fact that most women like to eat chocolate ice cream also means that a person eating chocolate ice cream is more likely to be a woman? Probably.. But that does NOT mean you become a woman by eating chocolate ice cream..
Myth: Marijuana Is More Potent Today Than In The Past. Adults who used marijuana in the 1960s and 1970s fail to realize that when today’s youth use marijuana they are using a much more dangerous drug.
Fact: When today’s youth use marijuana, they are using the same drug used by youth in the 1960s and 1970s. A small number of low-THC samples seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration are used to calculate a dramatic increase in potency. However, these samples were not representative of the marijuana generally available to users during this era. Potency data from the early 1980s to the present are more reliable, and they show no increase in the average THC content of marijuana. Even if marijuana potency were to increase, it would not necessarily make the drug more dangerous. Marijuana that varies quite substantially in potency produces similar psychoactive effects.
Myth: Marijuana is a Gateway Drug. Even if marijuana itself causes minimal harm, it is a dangerous substance because it leads to the use of “harder drugs” like heroin, LSD, and cocaine.
Fact: Marijuana does not cause people to use hard drugs. What the gateway theory presents as a causal explanation is a statistic association between common and uncommon drugs, an association that changes over time as different drugs increase and decrease in prevalence. Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the United States today. Therefore, people who have used less popular drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and LSD, are likely to have also used marijuana. Most marijuana users never use any other illegal drug. Indeed, for the large majority of people, marijuana is a terminus rather than a gateway drug.
Myth: Marijuana is More Damaging to the Lungs Than Tobacco. Marijuana smokers are at a high risk of developing lung cancer, bronchitis, and emphysema.
Fact: Moderate smoking of marijuana appears to pose minimal danger to the lungs. Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains a number of irritants and carcinogens. But marijuana users typically smoke much less often than tobacco smokers, and over time, inhale much less smoke. As a result, the risk of serious lung damage should be lower in marijuana smokers. There have been no reports of lung cancer related solely to marijuana, and in a large study presented to the American Thoracic Society in 2006, even heavy users of smoked marijuana were found not to have any increased risk of lung cancer. Unlike heavy tobacco smokers, heavy marijuana smokers exhibit no obstruction of the lung’s small airway. That indicates that people will not develop emphysema from smoking marijuana.
Myth: Marijuana Policy in the Netherlands is a Failure. Dutch law, which allows marijuana to be bought, sold, and used openly, has resulted in increasing rates of marijuana use, particularly in youth.
Fact: The Netherlands’ drug policy is the most non punitive in Europe. For more than twenty years, Dutch citizens over age eighteen have been permitted to buy and use cannabis (marijuana and hashish) in government-regulated coffee shops. This policy has not resulted in dramatically escalating cannabis use. Rates of marijuana use in the Netherlands are a lot lower to those in the United States and rank average when compared to other European countries.