Smoking marijuana is a very polarizing activity. People are either going to love you for it or they are going to look down upon you for being a pot head. Despite the fact that marijuana has been legalized in multiple states across the US, the country is yet to view cannabis as a socially acceptable drug.
Some critics of the cannabis compare pot heads to cocaine or heroin addicts. It goes without saying that their comparisons are completely unfair and should not be taken seriously. These are the same people who are very enthusiastic about creating irrational myths about cannabis and posting them on the internet with the hope of misleading people.
There is no denying the fact that there are certain side effects of consuming weed. But these side effects are not what the critics are pointing out. Instead, they are more focused on making up stories about marijuana and spreading fear among potential users of this recreational drug.
If you are smoking weed or intend to do so in the future, you should be aware of the myths of cannabis before someone scares you with information that has no scientific basis.
Smoking Weed Turns You into an Addict
There are a lot of different theories about how addiction really works. Most experts today believe that an emotional crisis or a psychological trauma is what forces people into addiction. Addictive elements within a drug can also be held responsible for inducing addiction, but the psychological factors play a much bigger role.
That being said, it is important for people to remember that only 9% of cannabis users end up being dependent on the drug. To put this statistic into perspective, you need to compare it with the alcohol dependence rate which stands at 14% and the tobacco dependence rate which is estimated to be around 24%. Alcohol and tobacco, despite having a greater ability to turn people into addicts, is much more socially acceptable than weed is. This makes very little sense.
What is worse is that the 9% weed dependence rate was probably inflated because it did not take into account marijuana’s criminalization. Certain measures of dependence such as whether a person took an extensive period of time to acquire the substance is a result of criminalization and has very little to do with the person’s dependence on the drug.
Stoned Driving Leads to As Much Harm as Drunk Driving
According to a research conducted by “Mothers Against Drunk Driving”, alcohol intoxication is responsible for 28 deaths in America every day. Studies about weed consumption and driving have not found any similar results. There is also no definitive research to confirm that marijuana increases the frequency of road accidents, although it is reasonable to assume that it raises the risk of an accident.
Marijuana is known to elevate a person’s consciousness. This heightened consciousness can actually convince people to not drive when they are high. Hence, to argue that marijuana is killing people on the road is absolutely illogical.
People also need to take into account the fact that regular pot smokers are less likely to be impaired after smoking than casual users because they develop a tolerance to the usual side effects of consuming weed.
Cannabis Causes Brain Damage
This myth has scared people on the internet for quite some time now. It has resurfaced recently because of one research in France that gave naysayers an excuse to speak out against marijuana once again. The study compared the brain size and function of 20 cannabis users with that of 20 non smokers. Research showed that there were some differences in the areas of the brain that are responsible for cognition and processing emotions. The media took these research results and blew them out of proportion to run their sensational new story.
At no point did the researchers in France claim that their study is definitive proof that marijuana leads to brain damage. As a matter of fact, there is no confirmation of whether cannabis changes the brain structure of people or people with certain brain structures are likely to enjoy marijuana more.
It should also be taken into account that the sample size of the study was extremely small. Conducting a research on 20 odd people isn’t going to provide conclusive results under any circumstances, especially when you have millions of pot smokers in the world. Even if it is assumed that cannabis changes the brain structure, there is no research to verify whether these changes are positive or negative.
Legalizing Cannabis Will Not Harm Drug Cartels
The existence of drug cartels is a danger to the lives of innocent people. Not only are cartels trading marijuana, but they are also actively participating in violent acts of crime including physical assaults, murders, extortion and human trafficking to make sure that they rake in the money without being caught by the authorities.
The simplest and most effective way of weakening these cartels would be to legalize marijuana. If people can avail marijuana through licensed traders, then the demand for weed from criminals would decrease significantly. This would hurt the wallet of the cartels and they would be forced to abandon operations in a lot of different places near the US-Mexico border.
Legalization would allow licensed sellers to steal the market and thereby reduce the cartel’s ability to fund soldiers and bribe politicians. Crime would go down and lives would be spared.
Cannabis Leads to Crime and Harder Drugs
This myth is not hard to debunk at all. But the critics remain persistent in putting forward the theory that cannabis use turns people, especially adolescents, into troublemakers. If there is any relation between crime and cannabis, then the unreasonable laws are to be blamed instead of the drug.
This has been confirmed by a Norwegian study which shows that involvement in crime by stoners is usually in the form of possession or distribution of drugs. If cannabis was to be legalized all across the United States, then these adolescents would no longer be deemed as criminals.
As far as the gateway effect is concerned, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the specific use of marijuana is responsible for creating an affinity towards harder drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
People who try hard drugs are likely to have smoked pot before. But they are also likely to have smoked cigarettes and consumed alcohol. Studies also suggest that weed consumption has increased among adolescents in recent years even though the use of heroin, cocaine and meth has declined.