12 Most commonly believed myths about marijuana use

Published Mar 7, 2019 12:04 p.m. ET

The worst parts about being a cannabis user are the taboos and myths that are caused by famous stereotypes. Many people keep their drug of preference to themselves simply because they do not want to be labelled as something they aren’t in the eyes of those they know and love. It’s time to smash those entirely wrong ideas and replace them with the facts. Here are 12 of the most commonly believed myths about marijuana use debunked.

1. All cannabis smokers look and dress the same
There is a commonly believed stereotype surrounding marijuana use that focuses on the way the average pothead should look. Think The Big Lebowski who strolls about in robes all day, or Dazed and confused and Cheech and Chong where all of the characters are either gothic or follow a bright, colorful retro style. The truth is that could be further from the case, and in fact, most people who admit to marijuana use are business people, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals that have no problem taking care of themselves and dressing in a more modern and stylish way.

2. You can get high from eating raw cannabis
Everyone knows that THC is an incredibly powerful cannabinoid that produces the psychedelic high that most cannabis users are after. What most don’t know is that marijuana produces THC’s precursor which is called THCA. THC doesn’t make an appearance until the cannabis flower is decarboxylated which requires it being heated to dramatically high temperatures. This process is necessary to convert the THCA into THC, so unless you are eating partially burnt or oven cooked marijuana, you won’t get a buzz no matter how much you manage to eat raw.

3. Cannabis is highly addictive
There has been some evidence that shows chronic users may come to rely on marijuana use after constant exposure and we think that we know why. When a person continues daily marijuana use over an extended period of time, the brain will come to rely on the introduction of THC to release dopamine which is essential in regulating mood and pain within the body. However, the most you will get from a cannabis withdrawal is a slight headache and grumpiness as your body readjusts to providing optimal levels of dopamine without THC. It does not induce common symptoms of highly addictive drugs and will not cause cold sweats, vomiting, or any other dangerous state of being. There is no way possible to become addicted to marijuana through occasional use as this sort of dependence takes years to create.

4. Marijuana use kills brain cells
There have been two studies conducted that proved this misconception wrong including one done by the University of Louisville and another that was published in the Journal of International Neuropsychological Society which both determined that using cannabis does not kill off brain cells.

5. Weed is harmful to a person’s sex drive
Though there are many powerful and potent weed strains that may hinder your abilities in the bedroom, there is now reason to believe that the opposite is most often true. One study conducted in Canada showed that over 50% of cannabis users have a more fulfilling sex life than their non-smoking counterparts. THC can act as a sedative, but in mild doses can also provide aphrodisiac like results that can help to relax and increase sexual performance.

6. Marijuana use impacts your memories
This one is partially true, but it is important to note the distinct difference between which kinds of memories are at risk. Using cannabis can negatively affect a user’s short term memories while they are under the influence, but it does not affect those who are already logged away called your long term memories.

7. Munchies and hysterical laughter aren’t real side effects of using cannabis
This one is partially true and depends on the particular weed strains used as well as the individual’s tolerance levels. Experienced marijuana users are much less likely to report these kinds of symptoms at any concerning level. Those who are newer to the substance or consuming higher amount than what they are used to can most definitely find themselves in a fit of giggles and uncontrollable munchies. Cannabis can alter your perception making things seem unnecessarily funny, and THC is well known for its appetite inducing characteristics that make you crave food and also cause it to taste better due to an increase in sensitivity to both smells and tastes.

8. Everyone who smokes cannabis is a pothead
This is another widely believed myth about marijuana use. The fact is that many surveys and investigations have been conducted to find out, and all of them had similar results. There are a reported 30 million marijuana users in the world and just 6 million which is less than ⅓ of those consumers smoked regularly with the only ¼ of them using cannabis once in the last year.

9. Scare tactics like those used in the DARE program are beneficial in keeping kids away from cannabis
This is one of the most damaging myths circulating, and the statistics show the complete opposite. With the highest levels of cannabis smokers coming from generations that were exposed to these programs for several years throughout school. It appears as though these kinds of tactics have the opposite effect when they are used. The lowest numbers of marijuana users come from areas that educated their children on the realities of the plant rather than scaring them from using it.

10. You can overdose from marijuana use
This myth has been debunked time and time again, but the media who keeps publishing headlines like “Child Overdose” sounds scary and encourages the spread of this kind of misinformation. The term overdose is used about marijuana use when it results in an intimidating, overwhelming, or uncomfortable feeling in the user. This is not the same thing as an overdose where drugs like opioids are concerned. The most treatment you could ever possibly need from consuming too much cannabis is a tall drink of water, a long sleep, a hearty meal, and perhaps some monitoring and comfort. It would take smoking over 3000 joints at the same time to even come close to a toxic amount of THC.

11. Marijuana is a gateway drug
Cannabis has long been feared for its gateway drug status and has since been touted as a tool used by drug dealers to real you into harder substances. It turns out that exposure is more likely to cause a person who is using cannabis to turn to a different substance, and that the only reason why it appears that marijuana could be viewed as a gateway drug is due to its status as an illegal substance. Forcing consumers to interact with less scrumptious dealers who likely have other drugs on hand. Once the plant is decriminalized the number of people, who go from using weed to using other drugs practically disappears.

12. Cannabis makes you lazy
Though there is a significant number of weed strains that can make you feel tired and lazy, that isn’t always the case. There are hundreds of types of cannabis out there, many of which provide lighter and more energetic effects. Seeing as we have UFC fighters, hockey players, and other successful athletes who regularly use cannabis to unwind I think it’s easy to see that it is entirely possible to enjoy using marijuana without being lazy.

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