Of the many taboo substances we put into our body—from mushrooms to those bizarre toad toxins—cannabis might be the most misunderstood. Some claim it causes psychosis while others spread rumors that you’ll wind up thinking you’re an heirloom tomato for the rest of your life. D.A.R.E. moms profess you’ll grow addicted to weed and the federal government says cannabis has no accepted medical use. So what’s the truth, and what’s nothing more than marijuana myths?
Let’s clear the air and settle things, once and for all. Of the countless marijuana myths you hear, these are the ones you should stop believing.
Marijuana is a “gateway drug”
This is the myth you hear on repeat as a kid. “Using marijuana will lead to using harder drugs and soon enough you’ll become addicted,” proclaimed your high school gym teacher. Unfortunately for your gym teacher (sorry Mr. Kennedy), marijuana doesn’t lead to the use of harder drugs in any way, shape or form. The gateway theory was one that took hold in the sixties as marijuana grew in popularity but was disproved by the eighties. Research indicates that marijuana may act as a substitute for alcohol and other “hard” drugs, but surveys suggest the use of dangerous drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine actually increase when cannabis is eradicated.
Cannabis kills brain cells
Government experts now admit that pot doesn’t kill brain cells. Such statements were originally based on findings from animal studies that showed structural changes within the brain after using high doses of cannabis, but a structural change isn’t remotely the same as cell death. Furthermore, research conducted by the University of Louisville has also debunked this myth. Even though there is no consistent or replicated evidence to back up this myth, users should still be aware that heavy cannabis use can alter short-term memory. Though it should be noted that alcohol and other drugs are in-fact known to cause brain damage.
Cannabis is worse for your lungs than cigarettes
Big tobacco would love for you to believe that Mary Jane is worse for your lungs than cigarettes, but unfortunately they couldn’t be more wrong. A 2012 large-scale study showed that smoke from cannabis is far less harmful than the additives and chemicals contained within your average cigarette. Not only that, but people often smoke a pack of cigarettes a day whereas marijuana users rarely smoke weed in such vast quantities. To do so would mean you’re stoned like Cheech & Chong for hours on end.
People that smoke pot are potheads
Being a pothead used to mean something; you sat around the house unproductive, fingers covered in a thin film of Cheeto dust (which apparently has a real name), contributing little to society. These days, marijuana has become a mainstream part of everyday life. Over 30 million people have used pot within the past year, and we’re all just as productive as we were before cannabis became legal not long ago.
Marijuana influences your memory
It comes as no surprise that marijuana impacts your short-term memory… Wait, what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, it impacts your short-term memory but actually doesn’t affect your existing memories in any way. It also doesn’t impact your long-term memory, or lead to memory-related illnesses like dementia. Just remember Adam Sandler’s Phone Wallet Keys rap, and you should be fine.
You can get high from eating raw cannabis
Though we’ve addressed this myth before, let’s dispel it once again. While eating raw cannabis is completely safe, it’s also pointless because it can’t get you high. In order for cannabis to make you feel all giddy and goofy, it has to be heated and combined with a fatty substance to function as an edible. So unless you want to waste all your weed, we don’t recommend you eat it raw.
You can overdose on weed
Again we’ve discussed this at length before, but the answer still remains the same: no, you can’t overdose on weed. You would have to consume around 40,000 times the regular dose of weed, all at once, in order to ingest a lethal amount of THC. It’s not gonna happen.
Weed will cure your anxiety
Some people are prescribed medical marijuana to combat anxiety, but weed can actually have the opposite effect for most of us by increasing our sense of paranoia. If you’re not sure how weed affects you (or if it will cure your anxiety), consider testing the waters with cannabis strains that are perfect for beginners. Preliminary research shows that CBD, not THC, is a better option for those with anxiety.
Weed makes you sterile
It’s true that frequently smoking weed can leave you with abnormal sperm, but there’s no evidence to suggest these effects last forever, or that you’ll be sterile. Maybe your sperm are just chilling real hard?
Cannabis makes you creative
Marijuana may make you feel more creative, but research doesn’t support this familiar legend. If anything weed only produces the illusion that you’re more creative (we’re sorry to disappoint). And if you’re looking to those creative artists, musicians, and writers as proof of weed’s creative powers, just remember those people were extremely creative before they found weed.
You can get high by drinking bong water
Nope. Please don’t ever do this. You’ll only end up regretting it.