Despite the fact that marijuana has been legalized in multiple states across the US, society has yet to view cannabis as a socially acceptable drug. There is no denying the fact that there are certain side effects of consuming weed, but these side effects are not typically harmful. If you are smoking weed or intend to do so in the future, you should be aware of these common myths of cannabis.

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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 also play a large role. ADDICTS, young men using drugs, group of men using illegal drugs That being said, it is important 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.

Stoned Driving Leads to As Much Harm as Drunk Driving

According to a research study conducted by “National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)”, alcohol intoxication is responsible for 30 deaths in America every day. While a similar research study conducted by the NHTSA about weed consumption and driving have not found any similar results regarding marijuana fatalities. The NHTSA states that, "current knowledge about the effects of marijuana on driving is insufficient to allow specification of a simple measure of driving impairment outside of controlled conditions." Which means that the scientific research behind smoking marijuana and driving is flawed. Carcrash, man sitting on the ground near wrecked car, man upset after car wreck Although there is no definitive research to confirm that marijuana increases the frequency of road accidents, it is reasonable to assume that it would raise the risk of an accident. However, the research does not support or confirm that the use of marijuana and driving is just as harmful as drinking alcohol and driving. It is also important to take into account the fact that regular pot smokers are less likely to be impaired after smoking marijuana than users who do not smoke regularly. This is because regular users develop a higher tolerance to marijuana, which will decrease the side affects of consumption.

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Cannabis Causes Brain Damage

This myth has scared people on the internet for quite some time now. The fear of brain damage has recently resurfaced due to a research study done in France. The study compared the brain size and function of 20 cannabis users with that of 20 non users. Their research showed that there were some differences in the areas of the brain that are responsible for cognition and processing emotions. brain, MRI Brain scan, Doctor explaining an MRI brain scanAt no point did the researchers in France claim that their study is definitive proof that marijuana leads to brain damage. In fact, it is possible that the  study only confirms that people with certain brain structures are more likely to enjoy marijuana, instead of being the cause of these differences in brain function. It should also be taken into account that the sample size of the study was extremely small. Out of all the millions of pot smokers in the world, 20 people is not an appropriate sample size in the scientific community. 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

It is common knowledge that the existence of drug cartels is a danger to the lives of many innocent people around the world. Cartels who participate in the business of trading marijuana are also known for participating in acts of violence, physical assaults, murders, extortion and human trafficking in order to push their agendas.

Marijuana leaves, used bullets and money. (Istock/ Darren415)
Legalizing marijuana would be an effective way of weakening these cartels. This is because if people can avail marijuana through licensed traders, then the demand for weed from criminals would decrease significantly. Legalization would allow licensed sellers to steal the market and thereby reduce the cartel’s ability to fund their criminal operations.

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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 and hard drug users. If there is any relation between crime and cannabis, it is likely the unreasonable laws are to be blamed instead of the drug. SELLING DRUGS, three people selling drugs, three people selling pills, cocaine and cannabis This has been confirmed by a Norwegian study which shows that involvement in crime by marijuana users is usually in the form of possession or distribution of the drug. If cannabis were to be nationally legalized across the United States, then these adolescents would no longer be deemed as criminals. Studies also suggest that weed consumption has increased among adolescents in recent years even though the use of heroin, cocaine and meth has declined.   With all of the myths surrounding marijuana floating around, its important to know what is true and what to watch out for. Hopefully this article will help you to combat some of these common rumors and help you make an informed decision about cannabis.