Marijuana has been one of the most misunderstood substances for years. Many myths have formed from misinformation and propaganda from anti-marijuana organizations. However, with marijuana becoming legal in several different states research has brought light to some of the biggest myths. Science continue to break some of these false stereotypes surrounding marijuana.
Marijuana Kills Brain Cells!
False. In 2003, the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, confirmed that marijuana does not kill brain cells. In this study 700 regular marijuana users were compared to 484 non-users on different brain functions including reaction time, language, motor skills, reasoning ability, memory and the ability to learn new information. There was minimal difference between the two groups. In fact, cannabis has actually been shown to help our brain recover. According to the journal of Cerebral Cortex marijuana can aid in healing a concussion or other traumatic injury. An experiment conducted on mice showed that marijuana lessened the bruising of the brain and improved healing after a traumatic injury.
Marijuana is Addictive
The myth that marijuana is addictive is still a long running misconception. Studies have shown that cannabis is no more addictive than nicotine, alcohol and even caffeine. In 1994 a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse surveyed more than 8,000 participants from the ages of 15-64 about their drug use. It was discovered that less than 9% of marijuana users fit the diagnosis of dependence, in contrast to the 15% of drinkers, 17% of cocaine users, 23% of heroin users and 32% of cigarette smokers. However, the word addiction can be tricky. About 10% of marijuana users can develop “cannabis use disorder” which can lead users to become overly dependent on cannabis. However, this stems from a mental attachment, similar to how people can become dependent on food, exercise or other activities.
Marijuana is a Gateway Drug
One well known myth that you have probably heard before is that marijuana is a gateway drug. It assumes that if you try marijuana that you will be tempted to try more dangerous drugs. This myth was formed because it was found that users of illegal drugs were statistically more likely to have used marijuana. However, correlation is not causation. The Marijuana Policy Project says that 107 million Americans, which is half of the U.S population have tried cannabis, while only 37 million have tried cocaine and less than 0.1% of Americans have used cocaine or heroin in the past month. The majority of marijuana users do not go on to use harder drugs, nor does it increase their chances of using other substances. Studies have actually found that marijuana has been effective in weaning people off hard drugs.
Smoking Marijuana is Bad For Your Lung!
Organizations such as the American Lung Association claim that smoking marijuana is just as bad as cigarettes. However, a study in 2006 conducted by UCLA debunked this. It was concluded that even with heavy cannabis use it will not lead to lung cancer.
Legalizing Marijuana is Bad For The Country
Colorado made one billion dollars last year from marijuana dispensaries alone. This made over $150 million in tax dollars that went towards schools, public programs and the community. In addition,16,000 new jobs were created. This has become an important part of Colorado's economy. There has been no increase in Colorado’s crime nor an increase of teen use of the drug.
Marijuana Has No Medicinal Value
Stating that marijuana has no medicinal value couldn't be any farther from the truth. In a 2014 national survey, the majority of doctors agreed that marijuana should be fully legalized or at least be allowed for medical use. Marijuana has been making huge strides in the medical field and has proven to help with an array of medical conditions. Some of these conditions include Epilepsy, Hepatitis C and Alzheimer’s. To further read about the medical applications of marijuana read our previous blog Marijuana is Medicine.
Weed Stays In Your System For 30 days
Though this can be complicated when you consider potency and THC levels, however for the majority of situations weed typically stays in your system depending on how often you use it. For those who smoke daily, weed will show up in your body for a month or even longer depending on your level of fat and your metabolism. Users who smoke a few times a week, will be in the clear after about two weeks. For those who only use cannabis rarely or very occasionally will be THC free in a matter of days.
As more studies and information is uncovered, the potential of marijuana continues to grow. It is essential that marijuana is given fair representation in order to break these stereotypes and make way for progress.
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