In comparison to legal drugs, marijuana is not killing people
In 2015 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributed 33 thousand deaths to opioid overdose. Opioids trick the brain into believing it can control pain and emotions. In some cases, these drugs can drive consumers to harder or more intense consumption of dangerous substances like cocaine. However, other non-addictive alternatives, like marihuana infused painkillers, have been proposed.
Ironically, lawmakers have focused most much attention on the incarceration of cannabis smokers because there is a belief that it introduces consumers to hard drugs. Yet, legally prescribed drugs have taken more lives than marijuana. As a matter of fact, there is very little evidence of weed being the cause of someone’s death. Now that five states in the US declared recreational marijuana legal and 25, including the District of Columbia, allowed the plant to be used as an alternative medicine, we can knock down some myths regarding cannabis.
Myth: Cannabis leads to harder drugs
False. According to a study by Dr. Patricia Morgan of the University of California in Bakersfield, the persecution and abstinence of marijuana in communities leads to the search for stronger drugs. In other words, when smokers are restricted from weed, they tend to use other alternative.
Myth: Cannabis damages the brain
False. Studies where animals were exposed to severe doses of cannabis showed no damaged in brain activity. There are also no records of people being hospitalized for marijuana overdose.
Myth: Marijuana leads to incarceration
In one year, 750 thousand smokers are arrested in the US. This is due to the legal system which declared a war on drugs during the past decades. In addition, recreational and medical legalization of marijuana has only been in effect for a few years, leaving 40 thousand inmates in state and US federal prisons convicted for crimes related to plant.
Myth: Cannabis causes cancer
Just like tobacco, marijuana contains carcinogens, which can lead to cancer. However, in order for a pot smoker to get cancer from weed he or she would have to consume a triple dose in order to reach the same amount that causes tobacco smokers to get cancer. "We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," says a 2006 UCLA study.
Myth: Cannabis is dangerous
Marijuana studies like the one performed based on 20 years of data by the University of California, San Francisco in 2012, have found that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. Apparently, the difference was found in the way smokers inhale a joint.
Myth: Cannabis is addictive
It is possible to become dependent on the drug but only a small percentage of the population actually does,and these cases are all associated with heavy smokers. According to a study by the National Institute of Health, “some 9 percent of those who try marijuana develop dependence compared to, for example, 15 percent of people who try cocaine and 24 percent of those who try heroin.”
In 2015, Americans spent $5.4 billion on legal and recreational cannabis, meaning that the states that have legalized it will see a big increase in tax revenue. Another point to be considered, is that no American state has turned into the anarchy that it was believed to become by lawmakers. Perhaps the legalization of the plant can be the economical and medical solution for many in the country.
Images by: @thiscannabislife