Cannabis opponents have, for decades, controlled the message around this popular plant, and have spread a few lies about its actual effects. This caused the use of marijuana to be a stigmata, a cause with effects that haven’t still worn off. The failed and expensive US war on drugs continues, and it seems the criminalization of cannabis users and distributors is a main priority in this war. Some of the governmental agencies continue to stubbornly classify marijuana as dangerous and with no medical value, in spite of the stacks of evidence that prove the contrary.
While many know the truth about cannabis (that it is more effective than some prescription drugs in treating some illnesses and that it is healthier than alcohol) and while more than half of Americans want it legalized, the marijuana myths are still around in some mainstream circles. Those who oppose legalization are determined to ignore the evidence.
Here are 3 of the marijuana myths that persist to some degree today, and the facts that debunk them:
Myth 1 – Marijuana Causes Brain Damage
This myth surfaced only of late, and it is only based on one study in France. The study examined the brains of 20 heavy cannabis users and 20 non-smokers. There were differences in their brains, in the areas of cognitive and emotional processing. The media took these results to the open public, saying that marijuana reorganizes your brain, while the authors of the study clearly explained the results do not show this.
Myth 2 – Marijuana is Addictive
9% is the number of cannabis users who become addicted, according to a study from the 1990s. This still puts marijuana dependence risk below alcohol, which is 14% and tobacco, which is 24%, according to the same study.
Myth 3 – Marijuana is Worse than Tobacco for Your Lungs
Some argue that, because it is smoked without a filter, marijuana can cause damage to the lungs. A 2012 study on marijuana’s effects over the lungs came up with the conclusion that the marijuana use is not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function. On top of that, cannabis can be ingested and not smoked. You can inhale it as a vapor, take it in tablet or food form, or rub it on your skin as a lotion or an oil.