The 5 Most Common Cannabis Myths And How To Respond
Although prohibition seems to be on the way out, there are still a lot of cannabis myths about. Here are our top 5, and the arguments to counter them.
It’s been nearly a century since cannabis was made illegal, yet anti-pot campaigners are still happy to spout the same outdated rhetoric, ignoring modern advances in science and medicine.
Back in the late 1920’s, the arguments for outlawing cannabis were outlandish, and often, openly racist – playing on the fears of the white middle class in order to see this peaceful herb criminalised. It is an ignorance and prejudice that has persisted up until very recently. For example, during the 1970’s in the US, cannabis was classed as a Schedule I drug because there was a lack of evidence that it was harmful. That’s right, lack of evidence. Instead of finding out more about it, lawmakers went with their prejudices.
And here in lies the problem, the arguments against cannabis, which are based in fear and ignorance, have had 85 years or so to fester without any sanctioned scientific research to counter them. Fortunately, science HAS now come to the rescue, and the mounting evidence showing the finer qualities of pot are slowly dispelling the hate and stigmatism that has lingered for so long.
With this in mind, here are some scientifically based counterblasts that you can use when people start telling you the reasons they think weed is bad.
1. Cannabis Is Addictive
This is a favourite of those against the legalisation of cannabis, and it is an argument that has been blown completely out of proportion. It is claimed that 1 in 11, or 9% of people who use cannabis will develop a dependence. They are getting this from an old study from the 90’s which assessed the addictive qualities of multiple substances.
Firstly, this data has been cherry picked, as the study found that both alcohol and nicotine were far more addictive than cannabis, yet these remain legal and socially acceptable.
Secondly, the research has been heavily criticised for being obsolete, biased, and for practicing poor methodology. For example, within the study, anyone who answered yes to at least 3 of 7 questions was deemed to be addicted, without any actual lab based addiction being established. It has led many scientists and professionals to believe that even this 9% figure is inflated. Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction medicine specialist, was recorded expressing shock at the concept, stating that cannabis dependence “was very uncommon”, and that it was nowhere near the 1 in 11 stated.
A 1999 report to the US Congress stated that marijuana dependence was rare, and when it did happen, it was much less severe than in those who suffer from alcohol or nicotine addiction.
2. Marijuana Is Bad For You
We can safely say that things like alcohol, tobacco, prescription medicine, and poor dietary choices pose a much greater danger to your health! According the report published by the World Health Organisation, alcohol kills 3.3 million people worldwide, annually. Also, it is thought that in the US, someone dies from prescription medicine overdose every 19 minutes. Guess how many people have died from cannabis use since records began? Zero.
Research has even shown that there is no link between smoking cannabis and developing cancer.
3. Cannabis Has No Medical Application
This is one of the most ridiculous and antiquated arguments we have ever come across. It is an argument based on cannabis scheduling in the US, where any drug classed as Schedule I has no recognised medical value. There is now a mountain of research proving the medical benefits of cannabis on humans, and it is even being developed into various medicines by big name pharmaceutical companies. Go tell Charlotte Figi, and the thousands of other people suffering from chronic pain, seizures, MS, PTSD, cancer, glaucoma and many other ailments, who are all currently benefiting from the use of cannabis, that they are wrong.
Here is a list of organisations, from local to international, that have all recognised and advocate the use for marijuana for medical purposes - for your viewing pleasure.
4. Marijuana Is A Gateway Drug
Another argument spouted often by worried moms. The fear that cannabis use leads to harder drugs is unfounded and has no solid scientific backing. In fact, research into the matter has found that it is alcohol, not cannabis that acts as a gateway drug. And we are pretty sure that many people who are anti-cannabis manage to drink alcohol without moving on to heroin, so cannabis smokers probably can too.
It is a myth that has been known for a long time, but simply won’t go away. To further iterate our point, in 1999, after a very detailed and extensive amount of research, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences submitted a very detailed report to the US Congress outlining how there was no conclusive linking of cannabis use to the use of harder drugs.
5. Won’t Somebody Please Think Of The Children!
This is an infuriatingly stupid argument, and is often the fallback for those who argue against cannabis use when all else has failed them.
Yes, it is an important subject to address, and cannabis use by anyone who is still developing should not be encouraged. However, when cannabis is illegal, anyone with a €20 note can buy weed, child or otherwise. The potential effects of cannabis on adolescents is certainly an area that needs more research, but simply browbeating them with ambiguous messages and propaganda, instead of sending a clear message and educating them with facts, is not going to help.
It has been shown that in Colorado, since the legalisation of cannabis, and the education of teenagers on the facts about weed, that teenage use has actually gone down! If anything, people who are concerned about underage use should be all for the legalisation and regulation of cannabis. That way it can be controlled.
At the end of the day, cannabis should not be pushed on anyone who doesn’t want it. But to advocate its outright ban, when it helps so many people, causes minimum harm, and could potentially be an economic boon, is an exercise in pure insanity.