A more liberal approach to cannabis can be dated back to 1988 when Paraguay decriminalized possession for up to 10 grams.
But, in Canada, cannabis has long been viewed as a medicine and was legalized for medicinal use in 2001. In doing so, it became the first country to legally put in place a system that allowed for its therapeutic use.
But still, around the world, cannabis is classified as a schedule 1 drug alongside the likes of heroin and cocaine. As a result, many ludicrous notions and weed myths have risen and fallen. Did you know that weed will turn you into a sex-crazed maniac?
These propaganda posters from the mid 20th century in the U.S. would like you to think that.
The truth is that cannabis has a wealth of medicinal benefits. And on a recreational level is far safer than alcohol.
We’re going to tackle some of the most common marijuana myths and facts to clear the air.
1. Driving while under the influence is safe
Many people claim to be better drivers while stoned. The perceived notion is you’re more careful and a better driver. These are the kinds of marijuana myths and facts that are just dangerous.
Driving under the influence is not safe for you. We recommended waiting at least 2 hours after your last joint before driving.
2. With weed legal, more kids will smoke
Cannabis legalization has done the exact opposite. With less access via the black market and strict regulations at dispensaries, kids are no longer able to purchase cannabis as quickly.
3. Cannabis used to be stronger
You often hear the old-timers talk about, back in my day, weed wasn’t so strong. There is a lot of validity to it. After THC was discovered as the psychoactive compound by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, a surge in selective breeding took place. Growers focused on creating high THC strains. This, in turn, leads to “stronger” marijuana strains.
4. Weed can make you infertile
This myth was first reported by Dr. Gabriel Nahas, an anti-cannabis activist at the University of Columbia. He claimed, among many more things, that weed makes you sterile. This was soon dismissed, as was much of his pseudo, anti-cannabis reports. Who knew that you couldn’t trust a Reagan appointed doctor to provide legitimate science-based research?
5. Marijuana is a gateway drug
The term gateway drug gets thrown around like a hot potato. Cannabis was labelled as the gateway drug to the masses. Smoke weed and you’ll be hooked on heroin in no time. The truth is marijuana is not a gateway drug. Numbers of cannabis smokers have steadily risen, while the use of harder drugs has declined.
6. You can’t overdose on weed
This is where things can get a little confusing. A fatal overdose when consuming cannabis is virtually impossible. You would need to smoke roughly 15,000 pounds in 10 minutes! But, a non-lethal overdose, on the other hand, is very much possible. You’ve probably heard of “greening out.”
7. Weed stays in your system for 30 days
The half-life of cannabis doesn’t produce a cookie-cutter timetable for cleaning out your system. Cannabis is stored in your fat cells and to clear your system of THC is dependent on several factors. The amount consumed, your level activity, weight and metabolism all play a role.
8. Marijuana is addictive
There is zero proof that marijuana fits the traditional model for an addictive substance. It is possible to become comforted by your smoking sessions, but this is only mentally. Recent studies show that only 9 percent of heavy smokers will become mentally dependent. This being much less than dependency rates for coffee or even fast food.
9. Using cannabis leads to crime
The only reason using cannabis leads to more crime is that cannabis in most parts of the world is still Illegal. As Bill Murray eloquently put, “I find it ironic that the most dangerous thing about weed is being caught with it.”
10. You will form man boobs from smoking cannabis
Gynecomastia is a condition that affects mostly male teens while going through puberty. It is created by the influx of estrogen from the changing hormones.
11. Marijuana causes memory loss
But, it is generally confined to the duration of your high, and not permanent. CBD can be used to prevent memory loss, helping to fight catabolic reactions in the brain.
It’s essential to keep in mind that you won’t lose your memories because of smoking a few joints. Even if you are super high at the time. The worst thing that’s going to happen is possibly forgetting where you put your keys.
Or maybe not being able to remember if you ordered Chinese or Indian food. Compared to alcohol blackouts, these effects are minor.
12. Smoking cannabis causes lung cancer
This myth is perpetuated by most people smoking cannabis. More deaths are resulting from tobacco than HIV/AIDS, suicides, murders, and car crashes combined.
You can buy cigarettes in almost every convenience store if you’re above a certain age. There has never been a definitive link between lung cancer and cannabis smoke.
13. Cannabis makes you lazy and unsuccessful
People who are against marijuana will tell you that smoking makes you lazy, unmotivated and unsuccessful. It depends much more on the type of personality rather than the amount of weed smoked.
Countless successful people partake in cannabis. Michael Phelps would like to have a word with you.
14. Marijuana is harmless
The notion that marijuana is harmless gets used a lot. Like anything, when used in moderation, it is safe. But, when abused, it can have some adverse effects on health.
Mostly due to the combustion and inhaling of smoke. These side effects are negated by using a vaporizer instead of smoking joints.
15. The munchies aren’t real
To say the munchies aren’t real is like discrediting the existence of the moon. Cannabis affects the hypothalamus, the part of our brains that regulates hunger, among other functions.
Not all strains will make you as hungry as others. But, After a good puff, the fridge and pantry will be looking much barer.
16. All strains produce the same effects
Thanks to the varying wealth of cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis, each strain will have a different effect. No longer exclusive to Sativa and Indica, which was once thought to be the deciding factor for the effect of the strain.
For instance, Myrcene is more prevalent with Indica strains, causing it’s more substantial and more sedating effects. Pinene, which is found in pine trees, promotes the healthy function of our lungs.
17. Drug tests can be cheated
Unfortunately, the use of marijuana drug testing is still commonplace for many jobs throughout North America.
For tasks that require attention and are dangerous, such as operating heavy machinery, it’s important to be sober. It doesn’t mean that workers shouldn’t be able to smoke a joint in the comfort of their own homes.
If you think that you can pass a random drug test by cheating the test, guess again. Any website that offers a service to cleanse your system or flush the THC out of your system is selling snake oil.
18. Synthetic cannabis is safe
In line with the previous myth, due to specific jobs banning weed, people have been forced to seek alternative sources. Sometimes it comes in the form of synthetic weed. These are very dangerous and have been known to kill people. Stay far away from them, even if the allure of passing a urine test may seem captivating at the time.
19. You won’t get high the first time
It’s not that you won’t get high the first time, it’s more than likely you aren’t smoking it properly. If you do inhale and hold the smoke for a couple of seconds, there’s almost a zero percent chance you won’t feel any effects.
20. Smoking pot will flatten your brainwaves
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America sponsored an advertisement that depicted “flatter” brainwaves of a 14-year-old smoking marijuana. This ad was removed as the commercial didn’t feature any substantiated evidence.
21. The number 420 is the police code for marijuana
The marijuana myth of where 420 got its origin has long been debated. Rumours of its origin have long since been dispelled.
It was discovered that a group of kids from San Rafael High School used it as a code word to smoke pot. The reason it spread in fame was due to one of them being close to the Grateful Dead. Which then spread the code name even more.
22. Cannabis makes you more creative
This is a bit of a mixed bag, as cannabis doesn’t make you more creative. It does allow you to open more channels for creativity.
Marijuana relaxes and helps make connections with objects or subjects that don’t seem to have anything in common. Which could be described as creativity, but not in the typical sense of it.
23. Smoking weed will take away your anxiety
It all depends on the type of strain that’s consumed. To alleviate anxiety, a high CBD strain is recommended. Cannabis can cause paranoia and anxiety when consumed in large amounts. More so over a long period. Less is more!
24. Cannabis doesn’t have any medicinal benefits
Cannabis’ current status of a Schedule 1 controlled drug in the United States would mean it has “no medicinal benefits.” It’s proven that it’s the opposite. Cannabis has shown promise in a wide range of illnesses and ailments. From chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, IBS, depression, glaucoma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, the list goes on.
The issue is cannabis didn’t have any financial benefits to companies making billions off of medication.
25. Drinking bong water is safe and will get you stoned
Please, for the love of God, do not drink the bong water. Bong water acts as a filter for cannabis, trapping tar and toxins from the smoke when it passes through.
There’s a reason it smells, looks gross and tastes horrible. For your safety, do not drink bong water.
26. Edibles and joints have the same effects
Having too many edibles and being sent to another stratosphere is an experience that more than a handful of people have encountered. When THC is consumed via an edible, our liver converts it to 11-hydroxy-metabolite.
While that word may be foreign, all you need to know is it makes the effects much more potent and even psychedelic. Always remember when eating edibles, start slow and gradually increase your intake.
27. Tobacco is healthier than cannabis
Smoking any combustible material will have some adverse effects on our respiratory system. The tar from cannabis can lead to a slight decrease in the function of our lungs. We urge patients to have a balanced diet of vaporized cannabis as well. However, burning cigarettes creates more than 7000 chemicals, 69 of which cause cancer.
28. Legalizing cannabis is bad for a country
The positives of taking cannabis from the black market and planting it in the legal sector are growing. For one, it no longer makes you a criminal to smoke weed. It also gets the proper research it deserves.
As well, cannabis has better quality controls, takes profits away from organized crime, makes it harder for children to access it. All while creating a new industry with jobs and economic growth. Ask California how it feels about its projected USD $7.7 billion cannabis industry by 2022.
29. Cannabis cures cancer
This one gets thrown around a lot, and it’s a bit of a dangerous claim. Cannabis has shown the potential to eliminate and stop the growth of cancerous cells in mice.
But, curing cancer is still a title that it’s not yet ready to receive. On the other hand, patients going through chemotherapy benefit from their nausea and pain-reducing effects. Cannabis also opens up the appetite, an issue many chemotherapy patients struggle with.
30. Coughing makes you higher
Some cannabis users swear up and down that by coughing; you will get higher. There is no scientific evidence backing these claims.
Taking a bigger hit will get you more stoned, and in turn, you will likely make you cough. But there has been a pseudo correlation between the two. Taking smaller hits instead of one big toke will produce the same effects.
Every Myth is Best Served with a Grain of Salt
Myths about marijuana have plagued us all thanks to government-funded propaganda for years. It’s hard to remove such a pervasive negative connotation that has spilled lies to the masses.
While it’s not safe to say that marijuana myths will no longer exist, the severity and quantity of them are sure to decrease.
The funding behind properly studying and researching marijuana is ever-increasing, thus churning out new knowledge and dispelling marijuana myths day by day.
It also helps that with safer access and legal status, new users that once may have been put off by some of these myths will finally realizing they were nothing but a farce.