5 Cannabis Myths Debunked
Just a short time ago, cannabis was still a relatively taboo topic that was viewed by many as a gateway drug with no medical use. Now, we’ve made strides in accepting and understanding the benefits of marijuana, especially with legalization in states across the country. Yet there are still several myths and questions surrounding cannabis, so we’re here to set the record straight.
Cannabis use causes cancer
It is a common misconception among cannabis opponents to say that smoking marijuana is more harmful than tobacco, leading users to develop lung disease and cancer. However, as shown by research led by UCLA’s Dr. Donald Tashkin, this is simply not the case. Findings stated that while cannabis smoke does contain carcinogens, they are not enough to cause cancer. In fact, the study showed that cannabis even exhibits a protective effect, inhibiting the growth of cancerous tumors. Additionally, cannabis can be consumed using alternative methods.
Cannabis is highly addictive
This age-old trope that has been repeated by cannabis opponents for decades, but it turns out that only a very small minority of heavy users fall under the category of addiction. Research has shown that less than nine percent of users have become clinically dependent at some point, and this is after years of heavy use.
Cannabis causes schizophrenia
Another warning for cannabis users is that it can cause serious mental conditions including schizophrenia. However, cannabis has been used by countless people who suffer from mental illness as a form of treatment to help relax. It is worth mentioning that THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, can induce paranoia and anxiety if ingested at high enough levels. This is why it’s important to ensure you are purchasing your cannabis from a reputable, legal source that clearly defines the amount of THC.
Cannabis will kill your brain cells
This one is a favorite among aggressive anti-cannabis expressionists and was the first thing taught to me in anti-drug seminars in elementary school. The increased prevalence of cannabis studies have led to the discovery that cannabinoids are actually neurodegenerative and neuroprotective, meaning they help protect the brain from disease as well as injuries caused by a stroke or head trauma. It is important to note that when it comes to the adolescent mind, the brain is still very much developing, so cannabis in minors should be avoided unless for health conditions that have been affirmed by a physician.
Cannabis is a gateway drug
A term coined during the War on Drugs in the ’80s, you would often hear people say something along the lines of, “Take one puff of marijuana, next thing you know, you’ll be doing heroin!” While it is a beloved thing to say among cannabis alarmists, research shows that there is no evidence clearly linking cannabis use to the subsequent abuse of harder drugs. It is true that cannabis is often the first ‘illicit’ drug used by people, it is not a substance that is linked to those who go on to try other substances. The two substances that are often found among those who developed serious addictions to narcotics such as methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine, are, you guessed it – alcohol and nicotine.