With the exception of the few countries, like Canada and parts of the US, weed is still an illegal substance in many places around the world.
Since it has been in existence for such a long time, and most people consume it regardless of whether or not it’s legal, there’s a lot of confusion around weed and a lot of misinformation that has been spread around.
It’s no surprise that while most people see it as a miracle drug, others still view it as a demon drug.
While both sides have a voice in the debate, it’s important to look at some of the biggest pieces of misinformation out there. This way we can avoid confusion about subjects that people would, otherwise, believe to be true.
Here are ten lies about Marijuana that seem to be true but are not.
1. 4.20 is a police code
For most marijuana smokers, 4.20 is a popular code. Some smokers light up at 4.20. In some places, countries have April the 20th as their unofficial weed-smoking day. But few know exactly what it is or what it means.
So, what is 4.20?
According to most accounts, 4.20 is actually a police code for possession of marijuana, or juvenile delinquency. Even though this might be a popular belief or assumption, it’s not true. 420 was coined in 1971 when a group of five stoners in their teens happened to learn about a stash of pot plants that had been abandoned. These high school kids from California were so determined to get their hands on the weed that they agreed to meet at 4.20 daily to search for the reserve. After weeks of searching, they ended up never finding the plants, but the code stuck. Their friends and the friends of their friends then took up the expression before a popular band finally caught on and started using it. And that’s how we ended up with 420.
2. Weed is a gateway drug
A lot of people tend to think that weed is a gateway drug that leads them to other the usage of more advanced drugs. They believe that after using it for a certain period of time, they will develop a tolerance for it and crave for other harder drugs like cocaine. This could not be further from the truth. A 2013 study found that 32% of American students at various levels of education have consumed weed at some point in their life. However, only 1.8% of those had ever tried cocaine, and a mere 0.6% used heroin. Clearly, weed doesn’t automatically lead you to use other drugs. If you use this type of logic, you might as well say that energy drinks are gateway drugs, too.
3. Weed kills brain cells
In most weed smoking circles, you will likely find people arguing that weed consumption kills brain cells. Unfortunately, this was a myth created by Dr Robert G. Heath, a researcher whose work was funded by the US government. In his study published in 1974, monkeys were forced to smoke two joints of weed daily for a year. A gadget was then wired to the primates’ brain. The study concluded that weed destroyed the brain cells of the monkeys. However, this study was discredited in 1990 when a similar study found out that weed did not harm the brain cells of monkeys in any way.
The author of the first study did little to convince the world about his findings. In fact, he made his findings even more laughable when he claimed to have transformed a homosexual into a straight man by simply zapping his brain with a ton of electrodes. So, you wouldn’t be wrong if you discredited his findings. Would you?
4. Holding in smoke gives you a high
Most pot smokers can confess to having heard their friends claim that holding in inhaled smoke gives them a fast high. While it sounds practical, it’s not true. According to a 1989 study conducted by the University of Chicago, any THC compounds inhaled by a cannabis user is absorbed into the bloodstream immediately. In fact, holding your breath only deprives your brain of oxygen, giving you a sensation of a high. Holding in smoke actually does more harm than good and should be avoided.
5. Weed causes cancer
Smoking is generally associated with health risks. However, the risks will largely depend on what you’re smoking. For instance, smoking cigarettes can lead to lung cancer because of the carcinogenic properties of cigarettes. Is it the same with smoking Marijuana? Most people believe that the risks of smoking weed and those of smoking cigars are similar but this is not the case. A 2006 study found no relation between cancer and marijuana smoking whatsoever.
When conducting the study, Dr Donald Tashkin of the University of California thought that smoking weed could increase the risk of lung cancer. However, researchers found that smoking weed is not a health risk, as marijuana smoke tends to damage a specific type of cells, which are eventually prevented from turning infectious. While smoking weed is not the best thing for your lung health, it could actually help you to keep lung cancer at bay.
6. Weed is addictive
Addiction occurs when you have strong uncontrollable cravings for a substance even when you know that the substance is harming you or others. Marijuana isn’t addictive, as it doesn’t contain any addictive compounds. However, heavy users have a 9% chance of developing a physical dependence on weed. Physical dependence sets in when your body grows a certain tolerance for marijuana, creating a chemical imbalance when you consume the drug and withdrawal symptoms when you don’t take the drug. As bad as it may sound, physical dependence is not comparable to addiction, which is synonymous with heroin, cocaine and cigarettes.
7. Weed makes you more creative
There are so many artists and painters who swear by marijuana. They basically believe that smoking weed enhances their creativity. This was found to be untrue. In fact, a 2014 study by a leading university found that weed consumption, even that with high THC content, doesn’t enhance creativity at all. Surprisingly, the opposite was true. Weed made it harder for creative people to come up with ideas. Additionally, even when smokers were not creative, weed consumption made them believe they were. That’s why a lot of people believe they have great ideas when high.
All in all, it seems that nothing beats a sober mind when it comes to the generation of new ideas. It’s only that a stoned brain will be more impressed by all ideas, regardless of whether they are good or bad.
8. Pot makes you less ambitious
Most people visualize a stoner as a person who’s probably lying on the couch, watching Netflix and basically doing nothing all day. Indeed, smoking weed has always been associated with laziness and lack of motivation. But despite the bad reputation, many stoners have gone ahead to become great in their respective careers. Think of Barrack Obama, who rose to the presidency of the US. He said he used to smoke pot in his formative years. Virgin Records magnate, Richard Branson, is another stoner who confessed he still smokes pot. Other notable stoners include Snoop Dogg and Joe Rogen.
9. All marijuana is the same
For most people, any weed gives you a high and the different strains are just marketing gimmicks. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Cannabis strains fall into three main categories namely Indicas, Sativas and Hybrids. Indicas are known for their relaxed body highs that calm you to sleep. Sativas are for mind lifting and give you energetic highs. And hybrids are a mix of these two strains. Each strain has its own medicinal properties. For instance, Indicas help with pain relief and sativas are for relieving stress, depression, fatigue and ADHD.
10. You can overdose on marijuana
What happens when you take too much marijuana in one go? Some try to tell you that you’ll end up on a hospital bed — and that is if you’re lucky to survive the ordeal. But while this may happen with other drugs types, then it will never happen with Marijuana, as it has no known overdose. In fact, there’s no recorded death that has ever been attributed to a marijuana overdose. According to most doctors, it’s almost impossible to die of cannabis, as it doesn’t control parts of your brain that regulate breathing.
If you would try to get an overdose of weed, it’s important to note that it has a therapeutic index of 40000:1, meaning that you will have to consume 40000 joints in one sitting to kill yourself. This means chocolate could kill you faster than weed.
What are some other lies you’ve been told or heard of marijuana?