Although Cannabis is currently ranked second to last by risk of harm on 2018’s Global Drug Survey’s list there is still a lot of prejudice and misconception from a lot of people regarding the drug. The USA has been making serious moves to completely legalize cannabis in all its states with medical cannabis being used freely in 33 states already. A lot of what people know about cannabis is mostly myth and this article is here to shed light and bring the truth to everyone to help them discover the hidden beauty of this drug.
Firstly we need to understand more about cannabis. This drug that causes the psychotropic effects people get is actually a strain of cannabis. It is a mixture of dried shredded leaves, seeds, stems and flowers from the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa). There are over 400 compounds in Cannabis but the two most common are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the strain responsible for the high feeling people get by stimulating the brain’s receptors, changing its normal activity, and distorting the way the mind perceives the world. CBD is the opposite of THC, having non-psychoactive effects that help reduce inflammation, depression and even anxiety.
Below are some of the most common myths about cannabis that need to be set straight.
1. CANNABIS HAS NO MEDICAL BENEFITS
Due to the controversy surrounding the drug there has been so much research and study put into the plant numbering up to about 29,000 scientific papers even more than conventional drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen and even with these well-documented benefits people still does not want to acknowledge the drug. Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of National Organization for the Reform of Cannabis Laws (NORML) said that “the cannabis plant is among the most studied biologically active substances of modern times”.
The USA has recognized the medical benefits of cannabis and even the National Academy of Sciences has confirmed the list of medical applications for the drug.
2. YOU CAN’T OVERDOSE ON CANNABIS
People believe that users of any drug start little, get addicted, eventually overdose and die. Firstly, an overdose happens when you take more than the normal amount of a substance so essentially you can take an overdose of anything including cannabis but the most side effects you could get would be paranoia, dizziness, anxiety, and coordination loss.
A judge in a 1988 petition wrote that in order for a person to die from cannabis usage he would need to consume about 15,000 pounds of cannabis in 15 minutes which is equivalent to a 154-pound person trying to take in more than 46 pounds of cannabis at once which is impossible so it is basically impossible to overdose and die from usage of the substance.
3. CANNABIS WILL MAKE YOU INTO A CRIMINAL
People believe that continued usage of cannabis will push people into a life of crime which is not true. A recent study showed that cannabis usage is not actually responsible for higher crime rates. Although users are found more among offenders than non-offenders it does not mean that cannabis is responsible for such crimes. Anyone willing or intending on committing a crime does not need cannabis to do it because the effects of cannabis do not lean towards aggression unlike hard drugs and alcohol so there is no connection between usage of cannabis and crimes being committed.
4. CANNABIS USE CAUSES DEPENDENCE AND ADDICTION
It is understandable that a person that smokes cannabis would like to recreate the feeling of highness over and over resulting in the urge to smoke but research shows that only about 9% of cannabis users become dependent compared to 15% of cocaine and 24% of heroin users. Surveys have shown that people that stop taking cannabis do not experience the dreaded withdrawal symptoms or cravings associated with dangerous and hard drugs with only a minority of users that cannot stop even though they want to.
5. CANNABIS IS A GATEWAY DRUG
The Gateway Theory posits the idea that using a particular drug will pave the way to experimenting and using much more dangerous drugs which is one of the worst myths about cannabis.
David L. Nathan, New Jersey-based psychiatrist and founder of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation said “Strong winds can be observed when windmills turn faster, but that doesn't mean that windmills produce wind.” Some users of cannabis step up to use harder drugs because most times the factors that pushed them into cannabis push them to pursue other drugs.