Let’s be honest here. We’re a lot further away from the days of the Reefer Madness hype than we’ve ever been. In fact, Marijuana acceptance in the last decade alone has improved almost by unimaginable leaps and bounds since the 90’s and early 2000’s. Marijuana use is even more acceptable today than it was back in the 60’s, which was considered the era of free love, and experimental drug use. After all, even then during the heyday of recreational drug use, Marijuana was seen as a gateway drug to the order, more illegal, and frankly more dangerous drugs. Most of which was due to the public fear of what Marijuana was.
So because of that here’s 8 different myths that still persist even now that people seem to still believe despite the myriad of different scientific research that’s debunked these myths time and time again.
1. Marijuana is addictive
It’s believed still that smoking marijuana is an addicting thing, and studies have come out that suggest that as many as 9% of people who smoke marijuana on a regular basis develop a dependent habit with it, and become addicted to it. However, what’s not mentioned is that even in these so-called studies that mention the magical “9%” number as a truth, it’s still significantly less than tobacco and alcohol addiction rates which rate at about 24% and 15% respectively. Meaning that it’s still safer to smoke Marijuana than it is to smoke tobacco. Plus, what a lot of people also don’t realize is that anything that releases endorphins to a person can become addicting. Marijuana is no more addicting than video games, food, or even an addiction to sleeping.
2. All Marijuana Smokers Are Stoned Slackers
Let’s assume that you’re reading this, and you have never smoked marijuana before. What’s the first image that comes conjured in your mind of what a pot smoker looks like? If you think someone with red eyes, a lazy disposition who’s constantly dazed, confused, and who has long hair, and on the verge of a constant giggle, then you’ve conjured up the stereotypical image of someone who uses marijuana. However, the truth of it is is that’s just a stereotype. In fact, studies have shown that regular smokers of pot are actually wide ranging in terms of economical successes. While yes, you might have people who are more or less “hippy” looking, it’s also possible to have professionals, teachers, blue collar workers, or even stay at home mothers be regular consumers of marijuana.
3. Marijuana causes Brain Damage
Let’s take a look at that stereotype image from #2. Why is it that that is the stereotypical image of a pot smoker? Surprisingly, it’s because of a belief that Marijuana use causes brain damage in people, which was backed by a study from France that only had 20 participants to it over several year periods. However, what most people fail to realize is that in that study itself the authors even claim that there is only a correlation, which means it doesn’t necessarily mean causation. So while that image of the slow, dazed, and confused stoner is a stereotype, there’s no evidence that backs up fully that marijuana use causes any negative effects in a person’s mind.
4. Marijuana Use Leads To Crime
This one is especially hard to debunk mostly due to the way that the current laws in the United States are written. Essentially the laws as is make it more or less a catch 22. For regular Marijuana use, people must purchase it from someone else, but the act of purchasing, growing it, using it, or even possessing the drug is itself a crime. In fact even looking at marijuana could land you in legal trouble. However there’s no statistics that show that smoking marijuana actually leads to crime in any way, and in some studies show that the opposite to be true. That smoking marijuana instead might actually lead people away from crime in the first place.
5. Marijuana Is A Gateway To Worse Drugs
This one is easily understood, as out of everything on this list it makes somewhat sense. Essentially humans are always looking for something that brings them pleasure, and the more they indulge in something the more tolerance the human body builds up, making people want to seek a higher and higher high. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse actually produced a study recently that showed that while regular marijuana use was on the rise in recent years due to its growing acceptance, opiates, cocaine, meth, and even barbiturate rates have steadily been falling in recent years, suggesting that the possibility for this is the ease of access to getting Marijuana instead.
6. Marijuana Use Turns Good People Into Criminals
This more or less is a repeat of #4, which is a remnant of the Reefer Madness days which was used as a scare tactic among parents that stated that smoking marijuana would turn an otherwise good kid into a delinquent. However, this is thoroughly debunked as the previous entries have shown that marijuana use is not only wide-ranging through different economical and sociological stations in life among adults, but that regular use even lowers the chances of committing crimes or using harder, more dangerous drugs.
7. Marijuana Legalization Won’t Hurt Organized Crime
This one is perhaps one of the most widely, and most inaccurate, entry on this list as it states that legalization won’t have an effect on organized crime. In fact, studies have shown that legalization is the only thing that can effectively combat organized crime. Organized Crime and the Criminals that operate under that term use the fact that Marijuana is contraband and use the sales through the black market to funnel money into their illicit and illegal activities. By legalizing Marijuana and turning it into a taxable industry, it’ll not only create jobs for citizens, but rob cartels, gangs, and other criminals of a valuable market that they can exploit, but give money back to the community as well to pay for police to combat those same criminals.
8. Opposition to Legalization Is Focused on Safety
It’s true that there are a lot of concerned people out there who are still hung on the reason to legalize wide. However, the truth of the matter is for everyone citizen who’s guided by caution on the legalization and it’s ramifications, there’s an entire industry behind them that feels that legalization of Marijuana and hemp based products would compete with their business in alcohol, cotton, tobacco, and other things. Thus, legalization is quickly becoming less and less and the issue of caution, and more of a money issue than anything.
The difference now though is that Marijuana legalization had happened in Colorado and is soon to happen in several other states, and it’s quickly showing the positives heavily outweigh the negatives. Colorado itself showed a massive surplus in its budget one year after legalization, and other states are soon to follow. In fact, who knows what the public perception of legalization and marijuana use will look like in the following decades. One thing is for sure, though, the further along we go. No matter how well the public views Marijuana use,Myths will always crop up along the way. As a group, it’s our duty to educate people on Marijuana use and to debunk all of the myths that come.