Much of public perception about cannabis is based on misinformation. Whether it is a blatant denial of science, or just a misunderstanding of what it is all about, to make progress towards societal acceptance of cannabis, it is important to bust these four common myths.
Marijuana Is a Highly Addictive Substance
Dependence is one thing, addiction is another. While there are some people who have come to rely on marijuana to live their daily lives, this is more of a psychological dependence than a physical one. Additionally, the withdrawal effects are negligible when compared to those of alcohol or nearly any other hard drug, and the rate of addiction is much lower.
Marijuana Is a Gateway Drug
While many people who use drugs such as heroin and cocaine will often use marijuana, this doesn’t mean that the two are linked. In truth, a poor social environment is a more significant gateway to drugs, and association with drug users is a more reliable indicator of future drug use. Most of the evidence of this myth comes from correlation, and that simply does not mean causation. Anti-drug advocates would be better off trying to improve conditions in poor neighborhoods.
Talking About Marijuana Online Is a Risk
There are so many people talking about marijuana online (even fully admitting use) that the police couldn’t possibly attempt even a token arrest effort from online information. Additionally, any evidence provided online would be flimsy at best, and there are far more heinous (and legitimately threatening) crimes happening online that require police resources.
Using the internet to spread awareness and garner public support is important in the struggle to end the war on drugs and to develop fairer and more effective drug policies, so it is important to not shy away from speaking out. However, if you still think you’re being watched online as you discuss the benefits of marijuana, you can always utilize a proxy to keep anyone from discovering your identity.
Marijuana Makes One Susceptible to Commit Crime
There is no legitimate evidence whatsoever linking marijuana use with violent crime. The only way marijuana will make anyone more of a criminal is the criminal penalties attached to it in the first place, which is a direct result of the war on drugs.
The war’s propaganda is likely the source of this myth, as early on (and even now) every effort was made to demonize marijuana users. Since there was no restraint shown in the propaganda of the time, marijuana users still suffer from the stereotype of being out to ruin lives, rob stores and steal dreams. This has been shown to be a massive exaggeration.
What are some other common myths about cannabis you would like to see dispelled?
About the Author: Carla is a blogger and writer who regularly discusses political issues ranging from the war on drugs to the ways technology is growing more intertwined in politics. She hopes misinformation is removed as quickly as possible from the public consciousness so that there can be a real debate about medical marijuana and drug legalization.