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Marijuana Myths


Since the 1920s the supporters of marijuana prohibition have overstated the dangers of this drug. In different times, different claims have been made to advocate its prohibition. These claims to support the cause continue even today.

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  • For a while, in the 1970s scientific studies began to affect the government's policies. However the government allocated more funds towards scientific research through the newly-formed National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). To evaluate the impact of marijuana on the users, field studies were conducted in Greece, Costa Rica and Jamaica. The data from these studies covered the effects of marijuana on the brain, lungs, immune, and reproductive systems. It also included impact on behavior like personality, motivation and its addictive potential.

    These studies established marijuana as a relatively safe drug which may not cause serious harm to society or individuals. Further studies mainly by NIDA, reaffirm the margin of safety in the use of marijuana. While reviewing the work, we found that in many cases the toxicity in marijuana is reported as greater than it actually is.

    In the following points we will review the anti marijuana claims backed by scientific evidence.


    Myth #1: Marijuana Use Is Increasing At an Alarming Rate

    The fact according to government surveys is that the use of marijuana declined in 1980 and this continued till 1990. In 1990, the declining trend slowed down but usage remained much lower than in the 1970s.

    Myth #2: Marijuana Potency Has Increased Substantially

    This claim stresses that today's marijuana is much more dangerous when compared to the earlier ones. The fact is that potency has increased marginally since the 1970s. That does not imply that smoking marijuana had become more dangerous. In fact, higher potency products can be less harmful as it is inhaled less.

    Myth #3: Marijuana Is A Drug Without Therapeutic Value

    From times immemorial, marijuana has been used as a cure for various medical conditions like lowering intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma, reducing nausea and vomiting and even providing relief to cancer and AIDS patients. Although only 36 states in the US allow its use as medicine, its medicinal use continues in other states as well.

    Myth #4: Marijuana Causes Lung Disease

    The claim says that the marijuana users are at higher risk of developing lung disease than tobacco users. The fact is that the amount of irritants inhaled in case of tobacco is higher than that in case of marijuana.

    Myth #5: Marijuana Impairs Immune System Functioning

    The studies do not support this claim.

    Myth #6: Marijuana Harms Sexual Maturation And Reproduction

    Although it is claimed that marijuana causes infertility and affects sexual maturation in both males and females, there is no scientific evidence to prove it.

    Myth #7: Marijuana Use During Pregnancy Harms The Fetus

    It is claimed that marijuana causes birth defects in children if their mothers use it during pregnancy. The fact is that studies do not support the association between marijuana use and adverse fetal effects.

    Myth #8: Marijuana Causes Brain Damage

    Numerous studies comparing chronic marijuana users with non-users have found no significant differences in learning, memory recall or other cognitive functions.

    Myth #9: Marijuana Is An Addictive Drug

    The fact is that a majority of people who have experience with marijuana do not get addicted to it.

    Myth #10: Marijuana-Related Medical Emergencies Are Increasing

    Marijuana is accused to cause an increase in emergencies due to its ingestion. The fact is that in all marijuana-related visits to emergency rooms, only 1% of patients were involved in the use of marijuana alone.

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