Why so many cannabis users are primed to believe conspiracy theories

Published Nov 8, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
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We know that the title of this article isn't going to sit well with all cannabis enthusiasts. Still, it is a reality that we must all face together, especially now that we're living in a time where misinformation is rampant and dangerous. With the introduction of online platforms such as social media, conspiracy theories have only grown more than ever before to include some convincing but mainly outlandish claims, most of which are about the government.

A general mistrust

Suppose the latest pandemic is proof of anything. In that case, it's that far too many people have very little confidence in their government's ability to be truthful, transparent, or honest about any given situation. We've seen massive protests against mask laws, law enforcement, and lockdown measures, with what seems like no end in sight, and it's never been more evident than it is right now that society, in general, is losing faith in the government, but it isn't a new trend.

People have long had reason to question what their governments have to say, as historically, we've seen numerous dictators rise to power, but that's not the only thing standing in the way of public trust. The government themselves are to blame for this serious issue, and they're the only ones who can fix it by being as open and honest now as possible. Sadly, with how both US and Canadian officials handled announcing COVID-19 to the world, it doesn't seem like this is going to happen anytime soon, but that's not the only problem here.

The big green lies

Cannabis users, in particular, seem to have a fondness for conspiracy theories, and this is likely due to a long history of exposure to what we now know are lies. Many of us grew up being fed government-driven propaganda and materials that pushed the so-called war on drugs, and now that we're all adults and we know so much better. It truly only makes sense to question everything from that point forward, so we can't say that we can blame anyone. Still, it's essential to consider a few different things if you find yourself overwhelmed with information concerning conspiracy theories.

1. Motivation

The war on drugs was driven by massive companies, corporations, and individuals who were bigoted and racist, and this is a proven fact. So when you look at conspiracy theories, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is, would the government have a motivation to keep this information a secret? If the answer is yes, then you could be onto something, but this alone is no guarantee that you're truly onto something.

2. Disincentive

We talk about the motivation, but it's just as essential to consider the disincentive in all conspiracy theories. Who would benefit from keeping the information a secret, and why? In the case of cannabis, it was large paper, plastic and fuel manufacturers who didn't want the competition to drive them out of business. Companies that many higher up officials would have had a stake in, be it through investment or payments maintained to keep things quiet.

3. Fact check

Conspiracy theories will quite often be bourne from a shred of truth, and this is where fact-checking can come in handy. When it comes to verifying propaganda, you'll need something to compare it to, and once you figure out what that is, you'll likely uncover some truth to the story. Sadly, conspiracy theories are rarely as exciting as they might first appear to be, mostly once you've dissected claims used to prove their existence, but you might still learn something along the way, which makes the journey worth it.

Conclusion

Of course, not all cannabis users are conspiracy theorists at heart, but many of us have a genuine distaste for government and the way these supposedly trustworthy people have hurt us in the past. This, unfortunately, creates the perfect breeding ground for us to think about what else they might be keeping from us. As our experience with cannabis has proven, it's a good thing to question everything, no matter what the source, but it's best to stick to realistic expectations.

Groups like Qanon who claim that the elite, rich and famous are feasting on the blood of innocent children to stay youthful are simply not realistic. Still, advocacy groups who are speaking out against government intervention when it comes to all-natural medicines is a conspiracy theories bandwagon that we wholeheartedly encourage you to jump in on.

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