Marijuana Myths

Marijuana stories and myths are often thrown around in debate as fact, usually by people who haven’t researched the subject themselves. Below is a list of common marijuana myths and misconceptions, as well as referenced explanations as to why these are only myths, and nothing more than that.

Marijuana Myths

  • Marijuana causes lung disease & is worse for you than tobacco.
  • The risk of developing lung diseases, such as lung cancer, black lung and emphysema, from smoking marijuana is often said to be equal to or greater than that of smoking tobacco.

    Since 1982, UCLA researchers have evaluated bronchial cell characteristics in marijuana-only smokers, tobacco-only smokers, smokers of both, and non-smokers. Although they have found changes in marijuana-only smokers, the changes are much less pronounced than those found in tobacco smokers.

    The nature of the marijuana-induced changes were also different, occurring primarily in the lung’s large airways – not the small peripheral airways affected by tobacco smoke. Since it is small-airway inflammation that causes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, marijuana smokers may not develop these diseases.

    There is also no clinical data suggesting that marijuana-only smokers develop lung cancer. However, since some bronchial cell changes appear to be pre-cancerous, an increased risk of cancer among frequent marijuana smokers is possible. Except for their psychoactive ingredients, marijuana and tobacco smoke are nearly identical. However, tobacco is grown with radio-active fertilizer; radio activity is proven to cause cancer.

    Smoking is harmful due to the properties of smoke itself, therefore the more one smokes, the more harm one does to their lungs. Most tobacco smokers smoke more than 10 cigarettes per day, with heavy users smoking upwards of 40 (2 boxes or more). The average marijuana smoker smokes far less, averaging anywhere from 1-10 joints per day (10 being on the high end of the scale).

    Marijuana smokers also have the option of different methods for ingesting the herb, which eliminates many of risks associated with smoking. Pulmonary risk might be reduced if marijuana were smoked in water pipes rather than cigarettes. Using a vapourizer or cooking with cannabis eliminate the risks associated with smoking entirely. And if you consider yourself a “chronnoisseur”, pulmonary risk is further reduced due to smoking stronger, high-quality weed, as less smoking is required to achieve the desired effects.


  • Marijuana kills brain cells.
  • Contrary to what you’ve been taught at school and by your parents, marijuana does not kill brain cells. There is no evidence that marijuana users—even long term users—suffer permanent impairment. Numerous studies comparing chronic marijuana users with non-users have found no significant differences in learning, memory recall or other cognitive functions.

    This myth has been preached as truth for about 30 years, after some “scientific” studies were conducted on monkeys, who apparently experienced heavy brain cell damage after being ingested with cannabis smoke.

    After years of requests about how the study was conducted, the methods of the study were eventually released. Researches administered 63 joints worth of marijuana in five minutes to the monkeys through gas masks, with no air in take in-between. This resulted in a lack of oxygen to the brain. In reality, they suffocated the monkeys. The monkeys lungs began to collapse after 90 days.

    Many people still go on to claim marijuana kills brain cells as fact, not knowing the origins of the study.

    In fact, recent studies that have been conducted have not shown any signs of marijuana killing brain cells, but instead has been proven to cause regeneration of brain cells, which in it self was previously thought impossible. These studies have not seen the same amount of attention.

    The findings from the monkey studies in the 70’s have not yet been duplicated, and have actually been disproved by a more recent study: Rhesus monkeys were exposed through face-mask inhalation to the smoke equivalent of four to five joints per day for one year. When sacrificed seven months later, there was no observed alteration of hippocampal architecture, cell size, cell number, or synaptic configuration. The authors conclude:

    “While behavioral and neuroendocrinal effects are observed during marijuana smoke exposure in the monkey, residual neuropathological and neurochemical effects of marijuana exposure were not observed seven months after the year-long marijuana smoke regimen.”

    Thus, 20 years after the first report of brain damage in two marijuana-exposed monkeys, the claim of damage to brain cells has been effectively disproven. Here are some more studies disproving brain cell damage due to marijuana use:


  • Marijuana is stronger today than in the past.
  • This myth is the result of bad data. The researchers who made the claim of increased potency used as their baseline the THC content of marijuana seized by police in the early 1970s and 1980s, and compared it to indoor, high-grade marijuana seized today. Independent assays of unseized “street” marijuana from the early 1970s showed a potency equivalent to that of modern “street” marijuana.

    Of course the THC content will be higher today. Growers have perfected the art and have new nutrients and new technology. There has always been a range in THC levels between strains and grows, but now that seeds and information are readily available online, everyone has access to growing high quality marijuana.

    There is also no medical evidence that shows that higher potency marijuana is more harmful than low-potency marijuana. Marijuana is one of the least toxic substances known to man. In fact, high-potency cannabis is preferred as it generally means it is grown in better and cleaner conditions. You also have to consume less of it to get the desired effect; thereby reducing the amount of smoke that enteres the lungs and lowering the risk for any respiratory health hazards.

    Sources:

  • Cannabis 1988, Old Drug New Dangers, The Potency Question – by Tod H Mikuriya, M.D. and Michael Aldrich, Ph.D., Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, ibid.

  • Marijuana has no medical value.
  • Marijuana has been shown to be effective in reducing the nausea induced by cancer chemotherapy, stimulating appetite in AIDS patients, and reducing intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma. There is also appreciable evidence that marijuana reduces muscle spasticity in patients with neurological disorders. A synthetic capsule (Marinol, which contains a synthetic version of THC, the main chemical ingredient in marijuana) is available by prescription, but it is not as effective as smoked marijuana for many patients. Pure THC may also produce more unpleasant psychoactive side effects than smoked marijuana. Many people use marijuana as a medicine today, despite its illegality. In doing so, they risk arrest and imprisonment.

    Countries such as America and Canada have already legalized medical marijuana in certain areas. In America, medical marijuana is legal in the states of California, Colorado, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Nevada and New Jersey just to name a few. Germany is also currently in talks about legalizing medical marijuana.


  • Marijuana is addictive.
  • First, lets define what physical addiction is; A substance that when taken for long enough produces gross physiogical changes in the way the body works, so that normal operation of the body is impossible without that substance being injested.

    Marijuana is not physically addictive, meaning there are no physical withdrawal symptoms when one stops smoking, as there are with drugs like cigarettes and cocaine. However, marijuana use can become habitual. However in saying this, there are many people who have used marijuana casually for years and have not gotten into the habit of smoking it regularly. And for those who do, if they were to stop smoking over night, the physical effects on the body would be non-existant, besides the craving to smoke and get high which they have since become used to.

    It is true that there are more children in addiction clinics for marijuana than ever before, therefore marijuana must be addictive, right? What they don’t tell you is why this statistic is true. In a country where marijuana is illegal, and you get arrested for possession, you will need to go to court and plead your case. You won’t necessarily be thrown straight into jail, but instead you might be given the option to attend a treatment center. The government then gets to use this statistic to back up their claim that marijuana is addictive.

    Dopamine, a neurochemical produced in the central cortex of the brain, is thought to provide the brain’s “reward system.” Interference with dopamine production is considered a major symptom of biochemical addiction. While two studies alleged a minor link between THC and dopamine production in the brains of rats, these were refuted by several subsequent studies showing that cannabis does not radically affect dopamine levels. Even so, minor evidence of dopamine activity is not the sole indicator of addiction. If it were, than all pleasurable activities would be defined as addictive.

    Compared to drugs such as caffeine, alcohol, heroin, cocaine and nicotine, marijuana sits right at the bottom of the list when it comes to addiction.

    In conclusion, if there are no physiological withdrawal symptoms; there is no addiction. Any substance, whether it be food or television can become habituating. This is no indication for addiction.


  • Marijuana is a gateway drug to harder drugs.
  • This is a myth that has been drilled into us since we were children. The gateway theory suggests that if one uses marijuana, you are at risk of experimenting with harder drugs.

    Many studies have been done, and all show that there is nothing in marijuana that makes one want to try harder drugs. However, the studies do suggest that one’s environment plays the most important role in determining what drugs a person decides to take. I.e. if it’s easier for a kid to get his hands on some weed than it is to buy beer or cigarettes, then he’ll be more likely to smoke pot.

    In essence, the gateway theory does hold some truth. Because marijuana is an illegal substance and is controlled by drug dealers, children are more likely to experiment with hard drugs because dealers often have these hard drugs on offer.

    So yes, one can see some truth in the gateway theory. However, the gateway to hard drugs is not caused by marijuana, but instead caused by the prohibition of marijuana and the blending of the hard and soft drug markets.

  • Marijuana causes road accidents.
  • Driving under the influence of anything is always a touchy subject. It is clear as to the effect that alcohol has on ones driving, with empirical evidence linking drunk driving to directly to car crashes and a loss in psychomotor skills. However, linking marijuana to such claims is a lot less convincing. Driving under the influence of marijuana has been studied extensively over the last 20 years and has shown that marijuana has little to no effect on driving capabilities.

    Weed smokers are “aware of their impairment”, which is a decline in “psychomotor skills” such as slower reaction times and eye movement. This means, that while drinkers will tend to overestimate their driving skills, smokers underestimate their capabilities. They are more likely to refuse to drive in the first place, but can also become all the more aware of their actions and more cautious on the road. Although, that’s not to say their driving isn’t slightly impaired.

    Nevertheless, this impairment does not appear to play a significant role in on-road traffic accidents. A 2002 review of seven separate studies involving 7,934 drivers reported, “Crash culpability studies have failed to demonstrate that drivers with cannabinoids in the blood are significantly more likely than drug-free drivers to be culpable in road crashes.” This result is likely because subject under the influence of marijuana are aware of their impairment and compensate for it accordingly, such as by slowing down and by focusing their attention when they know a response will be required.


It’s important to remember that anything can be abused if used too much. Use marijuana responsibly; if you have important things to do which you shouldn’t be high for, don’t get high!

Feel free to suggests more myths to bust.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

About the Author: Sticky Scissors

Co-founder and editor of Below The Lion. Hippie with a haircut. Appreciator of fine herbs and spices. Nature lover. Animal Lover. Skateboarding is not a crime. Proudly South African.


37 Responses so far

Want to say something?


  1. CBC says:

    Quite shocking what we put animals through for for some information for our peace of mind.

    Great article though!

  2. Chris says:

    Awe,

    What a solid article, A favourite saying of mine (have no idea who said it and where i heard it) “saying cannabis is addictive, is like saying you can get addicted to cornflakes”

    Keep up the solid work boys,
    keep it burning,
    much love

    • KrisKronik says:

      I think im addicted to weed, but not a physical addiction, its just nice in all ways, and i cant go without it. :)

  3. DKTS says:

    is this information from the union?

    • Chris Bure says:

      im no detective but it seems to me the information is exactly where they say it is from. Under each article there is a reference. look there and you shall find your answers

      • Sticky Scissors says:

        Thanks Chris, yes, you’re right. All the references are under each myth.

        @DKTS, the Union does cover many of the same myths in this article, and yes, some of the information is taken from the Union, but mostly elaborated on.

        Peace

  4. Chris J says:

    Nice article, but some interesting points, Dagga as a gateway drug, that it sure is, its it gateway for thousands to have a life WITHOUT drugs, ex heroine addicts especially. Nicotine, alcohol and chocolate are the real gateway drugs, or lets start from the beginning,coffee anyone?

    Marijuana is different to that what we had in the past. Gentically modified, more THC, less CBD, indoor growing, more trichomes, better technology for the home user to understand cannabis cultivation. It may not be stonger but surely it has changed over the years with commercial people messing with genetics.

    One Old wives tale that still floats around with some tannies is that eating the dagga pips makes men sterile. The cannabis seed is the most nutritious seed in the world, proven.

    Marijuana is addictive, wait until you try your hand at growing a plant.

    • Dean Fowler says:

      Cannabis has NOT been genetically modified! It has been selectively bred, exactly the same way apples, roses, corn, horses, cattle etc. have been for thousands of years.

  5. Up in Smoke says:

    Chris j, I totally agree with your last line.I haven’t even started growing, been researching and reading weed.co.za/below the lion (and many other foreign forums and websites) etc. for a few weeks, and still I cant stop google-ing the topic DAILY!The thing is the more you learn about growing ur own, the more you want to learn!really addictive!!

  6. Up in Smoke says:

    Chris j, I totally agree with your last line.I haven’t even started growing, been researching and reading weed.co.za/below the lion (and many other foreign forums and websites) etc. for a few weeks, and still I cant stop google-ing the topic DAILY!The thing is the more you learn about growing ur own, the more you want to learn!really addictive!!!

  7. [...] ”Marijuana Myths” Posted by Sticky Scissors, Dec 6th 2010 on (Below The Lion) [...]

  8. [...] and possibly destroying that persons relationship with the herb forever. Talk to people about the truths of Cannabis, and let them want to try it for themselves – don’t force it upon anyone, [...]

  9. powerpuff says:

    ive been told many times that marijuana can cause schizofrenia which i personaly believe is total Shit ive only read that it can expose cases of underlying schizofrenia? isnt that kind of doing you a favour bringing is out so people notice befor you go home and stab your mom with your dank scissors? peace

    • Daniel says:

      powerpuff,

      actually cannabis has been found to be beneficial in treating schizophrenia. Its discussed in Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis. Its a fantastic documentary, clearly stating both sides of the argument. But its apparent that the winner is the pro Medical-MJ side, but you’ll see why. Highly recommended.

  10. just wanted to add says:

    Marijuana is a lung cleaner and expectorant to clear the human lungs of smog, dust, and phlegm associated with tobacco use. Weed smoke dilates the airways of lungs the bronchi opening them to allow more oxygen. It has been known to stop asthma attack. It also lowers your blood pressure but increases the heart rate a slight tad but that is the only effects it has on the respiratory system. Its all in this book chapter seven http://www.jackherer.com/thebook/

  11. TheGreenComposer says:

    Great article! I have been reading up on these subjects for a few years now and this is the most comprehensive (yet concise) article!

    These myths are cr@p but unfortunately we have to battle against the “Human Condition” which is all about upbringing…if you are brought up wrong, you will believe wrongly!

    Peace

  12. Mmstickybuds says:

    Good article, though there is nothing I can’t do high… :)

  13. [...] Marijuana Myths. Share [...]

  14. kaalvoet says:

    Great Stuff! I never really believed any of these myths but it’s very nice to see some proof and references to actual studies done.
    Im sending this to everybody I know. People need to be enlightened on the truth about Mary Jane.

    Peace

  15. kaalvoet says:

    Another myth that should be bust is that Marijuana causes depression!!!!

    In my personal experience ganja has helped me a lot with my depression. Not the other way around. I’ve been on all sorts of anti-depressants and sleeping pills to help me cope in my younger years, and the only thing that sorted me out was meditating with Mary.

  16. Kaeli says:

    If anything marijuana takes depression away :)
    Besides when I’m upset, after I smoke, I don’ t feel like being upset anymore :D

  17. Munch says:

    Great article now in my book marks, im keeping a bunch of info, documentaries etc.
    Just incase my folks ever find me out i want to have the resources to try and educate them, if thats even possible.

    The older generation seem to just be so brainwashed by all the propoganda and lies that revolved around weed, i wish i could get them to see the light.

  18. Skwatch says:

    “Women, athletes their Nike Running is special, the most famous and Nike facts except that it is the goddess of victory, for women to be created in a way as that of the male is different from that to use them You must be excited to use the Nike shoes.
    Nike shoes for both men and women certainly well-known players. In fact, NIKE originates its name from the goddess of victory, Nike, according to Greek mythology, Nike because the management in the history of the battlefield and oldest rule, as, and weightlifting in Greece in the game sheet for the game of wrestling They are, when you say nike running, their part of the line of the field of sport is good at, do not surprised, “When we win and go to battle, we say with Nike that” if it satisfies the long jump .
    Your feet, you will feel very calm this type of running shoes. When it comes to Nike shoes, Nike shoes outlet, will help to locate the exact type of shoes will fit your specific needs. I think they think they have the correct type of shoes in very low-cost price, today, would like to have a brand type of shoes are simply a lot of people. It is the manufacturer of the world’s best shoes cheap shoes in order to give their sense of security on your feet certainly. If you are planning to get a new pair of shoes you will be meant for the needs of the right, you know that there is an outlet of Nike shoes that can help you, it becomes the best You. They also Nike sneakers, offers a discount coupon to the customer value.
    Kick and women, beginning in 2005, started online in 2006, is a brand of multi-face. Blog of new young people become sister site of KicksAndCHicks.com, entertainment blog of more than 100,000 monthly unique users have visited.
    Speaking anatomy, shape and contour of the legs of women nike running men, weak and thin legs of women, in particular, but Asian women, when you want to breaking the news of the shoes of Nike sneakers collector for women , please check the FemaleSneakerFiend NikeTalk, or NiceKicks,. Web surfers, when they want a cute girl and sports cars, they will be able to confirm or MotorTrends FastCoolCars. This week, a new blog of youth, he established a combination of three healthy subjects Air Max, the children love it.”

  19. 4sak3n says:

    Skwatch said:
    “Women, athletes their Nike Running is special, the most famous and Nike facts except that it is the goddess of victory, for women to be created in a way as that of the male is different from that to use them You must be excited to use the Nike shoes.
    Nike shoes for both men and women certainly well-known players. In fact, NIKE originates its name from the goddess of victory, Nike, according to Greek mythology, Nike because the management in the history of the battlefield and oldest rule, as, and weightlifting in Greece in the game sheet for the game of wrestling They are, when you say nike running, their part of the line of the field of sport is good at, do not surprised, “When we win and go to battle, we say with Nike that” if it satisfies the long jump .
    Your feet, you will feel very calm this type of running shoes. When it comes to Nike shoes, Nike shoes outlet, will help to locate the exact type of shoes will fit your specific needs. I think they think they have the correct type of shoes in very low-cost price, today, would like to have a brand type of shoes are simply a lot of people. It is the manufacturer of the world’s best shoes cheap shoes in order to give their sense of security on your feet certainly. If you are planning to get a new pair of shoes you will be meant for the needs of the right, you know that there is an outlet of Nike shoes that can help you, it becomes the best You. They also Nike sneakers, offers a discount coupon to the customer value.
    Kick and women, beginning in 2005, started online in 2006, is a brand of multi-face. Blog of new young people become sister site of KicksAndCHicks.com, entertainment blog of more than 100,000 monthly unique users have visited.
    Speaking anatomy, shape and contour of the legs of women nike running men, weak and thin legs of women, in particular, but Asian women, when you want to breaking the news of the shoes of Nike sneakers collector for women , please check the FemaleSneakerFiend NikeTalk, or NiceKicks,. Web surfers, when they want a cute girl and sports cars, they will be able to confirm or MotorTrends FastCoolCars. This week, a new blog of youth, he established a combination of three healthy subjects Air Max, the children love it.”

    Lolskwatchwut?

  20. Munch says:

    4sak3n said:
    Lolskwatchwut?

    I kinda browsed over that wall of text, i think it bruised my face a little when it slapped me. Doesnt look relevant to anything lol.
    As for the myths, unfortunately its going to take lots of time to undo all the damage that the govt. It’s not easy to change some-ones mind on something that has been imbedded in their mind over decades :(

  21. Edd says:

    Cannabis cures cancer! And if you like cannabis then you will love GlassFeed.com its a website all about glass pipes, bubblers, bongs, and smoking the reefer ;)

  22. Well thanks alot for the myths !

  23. Cancon says:

    IMHO Irregular usage of cannabis stabilises sufferers of Cyclothymia completely!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclothymia (quick n’ easy explanation)

    Users no longer experience states of hypermania or manic highs, no rapid cycling, no depression, no loss of appetite, no insomnia, no irrational and uncontrolled emotional or physical outbursts. Just a happy homeostatic baseline!

  24. [...] or reinventing a wheel that smarter people than me have already perfected, have a look at this article for some enlightenment into the myths surrounding dagga [...]

  25. Bananarama says:

    Well done article :)

  26. Bananarama says:

    Something to add to medicinal value as well as lung disease:

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/healthprofessional/page4

    THC kills cancer and helps prevent tumours (proven fact).

  27. Thanks for sharing your thoughtts bout lyrics. Regards

  28. Hardcore gamers, regardless if they are playing on the web or on a method in their living space, enjoy mastering new tricks
    and methods to attain certain levels.

Leave a Reply