I had to take a deep breath before I even began thinking of the slew of myths about marijuana. I am not even sure if you could call them myths. I feel as if the word “arguments” would be a better fit. I feel as if in the present day you either have people who are radically for or against the stuff.
On one side of the weed coin you have the people who are all for it. And these people tout over and over again the benefits of marijuana; it cures cancer! And they lessen its dangers by comparing it to alcohol and cigarettes, and believe all the positive “myths” (arguments?) about it. Then on the other side of the coin you have those who just can’t stand the stuff. These people believe every negative “myth” (argument?) about marijuana; that pot smokers are burnouts, it lead to other drug use, that it kills brain cells and decreases motivation. They will find everything wrong with it they can and without realizing it liken themselves to many of the anti-pot crusades from the 80s.
So what is the truth? Are the people who shout for marijuana and more marijuana right? Or did Reefer Madness have the facts all along? This is a touchy subject and I am going to do my best to just get the facts. Luckily, I am a Libra so I pride myself on being pretty good at finding a middle ground. So here it goes.
This is drug myths debunked: Marijuana
I feel as if our first myth should be about one that is fairly relevant to today’s thought:
Marijuana cures cancer.
This myth probably started due to misleading headlines that look kind of like these that I just saw actually!
“Cannabis Cures Cancer.”
“Marijuana Prevents or Cures Certain Cancers”
Which no offense to pot argument pro-pot and anti-reefer people are one and the same. Taking the truth and skewing it a little in favor of your opinion is not truth and both anti-reefer and pro-pot people do it.
But anyways this is a myth. Marijuana has in no way shape or form been proven to cure cancer. Marijuana can slow the growth of tumors but the research with that is still in the early stages and is not a “cure”. The studies being done with marijuana and cancer are extremely hopeful and great! Anything that can help with cancer should be researched and that’s what they are doing with marijuana, research. Nothing has been proved. Let me say this though the research is pretty amazing. Also, marijuana while it may have some new and budding research about its “curing cancer” effects it also has some research behind it that shows it can increase the risk of lung cancer and as well as testicular cancer in men.
Take this one for what it is: A myth.
Marijuana Kills Brain Cells
It’s a claim you have probably heard before and is made still to this day by many anti-drug organizations. It is the claim that marijuana smoking causes permanent memory loss and/or brain damage. The evidence used to back this up is the picture of someone whose mind has become (supposedly permanently) fried or burnt.
See this egg? This is your brain.
Smashed egg. This is your brain on drugs.
And you can’t put humpty dumpty back together again can you?
Actually when it comes to your brain you can.
The truth is that yes, while under the influence of marijuana users can have some loss of short-term memory, but any long term loss has not been found. Also, marijuana doesn’t kill brain cells. It does alter neurotransmitters in the brain or latch on to them. But after the marijuana leaves the system they slowly go back to normal and are not permanently damaged.
So this myth is FALSE.
Reefer madness started in the 1930s which might tell you something. In the 1930s and 40’s, there were a lot of misconceptions about drugs which is understandable because they didn’t have the kind of technology we do now. Anyways, this myth was the basis for films like Reefer Madness and was also used by Harry Anslinger of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics as justification for criminalizing cannabis. The myth was that even the calmest, most normal person could be transformed into a psychopathic killer or rapist from merely smoking joint. Obviously this is a stretch and there has never been a proven link between such crimes to being high on marijuana alone. This is false, false and false.
Marijuana use is harmless
Just like reefer madness was a little extreme; the statement that marijuana is harmless also is extreme. Heavy marijuana use can be harmful. Pot smoke is very similar to tobacco smoke, so heavy pot smokers are at risk for some of the same health effects as cigarette smokers. For instance, smoking pot can cause bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses. Also, car accidents can be caused by driving while high even if the risk is lower from drunk driving. The American Lung Association says pot smoke has more carcinogens than cigarette smoke. Pot smokers also tend to inhale more deeply and hold the smoke in their lungs longer than tobacco smokers do, which increases the lungs’ exposure. And then you have the research being done on it causing lung cancer and testicular cancer too.
Marijuana is not harmless. But you already knew that right?
Marijuana is a gateway drug
Honestly, I would like to know what your personal opinion on this one is. Because I think some people believe even for themselves that it was. But the science says this is a myth. What they mean when they say marijuana is a gateway drug is that if you smoke pot you run the risk of moving onto other drug such as cocaine and heroin.
The truth is there is a high chance that a young teen that smokes marijuana may want to do cocaine and heroin later on but did it really have anything to do with marijuana? Or maybe it has more to do with the cause behind why they smoked the marijuana in the first place? The numbers say it is the latter and so does the science.
In 2008, 15.2 million Americans admitted being past month users of marijuana but only 1.9 million were past month cocaine users and only 200,000 past month users of heroin. Chances are that when “marijuana is a gateway drug” it is that marijuana opened the gateway but the individual may have had an addiction gene or something to begin with that leads them on to use other drugs.
And that is it for now. The myths about marijuana could literally go on for pages and pages. Marijuana has such a checkered past that it is hard to get it all down in one sitting. Either way I hope you enjoyed this article of drug myths debunked: marijuana.
The truth shall set you free.
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