Given its reputation as the “gateway drug”, it doesn’t come as a surprise that cannabis has so many misconceptions. From playing a part in the deaths of youths that were suffering from “reefer madness” to the aforementioned gateway drug, here are five common misconceptions about cannabis.
1. It’s a gateway drug
C’mon, that’s not even close. Just because you like to elevate in the evenings, or just smoke the occasional joint, it doesn’t mean that it’s a slippery slope into addiction – that is just one of those “alternative facts.”
There is just no scientific evidence that smoking weed will lead to the use of other substances. Sure, someone who smokes weed might also try other drugs, but that doesn’t mean one toke will lead to a line or a needle. In fact, D.A.R.E. has even removed cannabis from its gateway drugs list.
2. It’s a killer
Of course, right after calling it a “gateway drug”, certain people – at all levels of authority – will mention that is capable of killing users. Just like cannabis being called a gateway drug, this is entirely false.
Do you want to know how many people have died from weed? That would be a big fat zero. Unlike alcohol and tobacco, which are factors in over half a million deaths a year in America alone.
3. It turns you into a killer
“Look out, he’s got the reefer madness!” Despite being used in what was a propaganda film from the 1930s (that was funded by the church), the exploitation quickly became satire, but not before the stereotype of a dangerous stoner was associated with users of marijuana.
That’s why so many people are serving prison sentences – some life without parole – for simply possessing almost any amount of weed. When you factor in the long-standing prejudices of the current political climate, it means so many offenders are jailed for long periods of time, which only assists in adding to the stigma of those false stereotypes.
4. It is harmless
While others drugs and alcohol are far more harmful, it doesn’t mean that weed is harmless, since inhaling smoke will always affect your body in some way. The way it can affect you can go from changing your heart rate to changes in brain function (of those under the age of 25 that smoke).
Just like going outside to enjoy the sunshine, there are some downsides to smoking, but those can be lessened if you consume responsibly.
5. It does nothing to help you
Along with the aforementioned stereotypes, some – including the DEA – would have you believe that cannabis has no medicinal value, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
From being used to treat seizures in adults and children, cannabis can be used to alleviate the effects of many illnesses and disorders, such as chronic pain and anxiety to Crohn’s disease and aid cancer treatments.