1. Cannabis Causes Brain Damage
Studies of human populations of cannabis users have shown no evidence of brain damage. For example, two studies from 1977, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed no evidence of brain damage in heavy users of weed.
That same year, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially came out in favor of decriminalizing cannabis. That’s not the sort of thing you’d expect if the AMA thought weed damaged the brain.
2. Cannabis Damages The Reproductive System
Studies of actual human populations have failed to demonstrate that weed adversely affects the reproductive system.
3. Cannabis Is A “Gateway” Drug It Leads To Hard Drugs
This is one of the more persistent myths. A real world example of what happens when weed is readily available can be found in Holland.
The Dutch partially legalized marijuana in the 1970s. Since then, hard drug use, heroin and cocaine, have declined substantially. If marijuana really were a gateway drug, one would have expected use of hard drugs to have gone up, not down.
This apparent “negative gateway” effect has also been observed in the United States. Studies done in the early 1970s showed a negative correlation between use of marijuana and use of alcohol.
4. Cannabis Suppresses The Immune System
Interestingly, two studies done in 1978 and one done in 1988 showed that both hashish and green may have actually stimulated the immune system in the people studied.
5. Cannabis Is Much More Dangerous Than Tobacco
Smoked weed contains about the same amount of carcinogens as does an equivalent amount of tobacco. It should be remembered, however, that a heavy tobacco smoker consumes much more tobacco than a heavy marijuana smoker consumes marijuana.
If weed were legal, it would be more economical to have cannabis food and drinks, which are totally non-carcinogenic. This is in stark contrast with “smokeless” tobacco products like snuff which can cause cancer of the mouth and throat.
6. Legalising Weed Would Cause Carnage On The Highways
Although marijuana, when used to intoxication, does impair performance in a manner similar to alcohol, actual studies of the effect of marijuana on the automobile accident rate suggest that it poses much less of a hazard than alcohol.
7. Cannabis “Flattens” Human Brain Waves
This is an out-and-out lie perpetrated by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. A few years ago, they ran a TV ad that purported to show, first, a normal human brain wave, and second, a flat brain wave from a 14-year-old “on marijuana”.
When researchers called up the TV networks to complain about this commercial, the Partnership had to pull it from the air. It seems that the Partnership faked the flat “marijuana brainwave”.
In reality, cannabis has the effect of slightly increasing alpha wave activity. Alpha waves are associated with meditative and relaxed states which are, in turn, often associated with human creativity.
8. Cannabis Is More Potent Today Than In The Past
This is not a myth, on average the THC content of marijuana tested from 2000-2005 was about two to three times as high as it was in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
9. Cannabis Impairs Short Term Memory
This is true but misleading. Any impairment of short-term memory disappears when one is no longer under the influence of weed.
Often, the short-term memory effect is paired with a reference to Dr. Heath’s poor rhesus monkeys to imply that the condition is permanent.
10. Cannabis Lingers In The Body Like DDT
This is also true but misleading. Cannabinoids are fat soluble as are innumerable nutrients (like Vitamin A) and, yes, some poisons like DDT.
11. There Are Over A Thousand Chemicals In Marijuana Smoke
Again, true but misleading. The 31 August 1990 issue of the magazine Science notes that there are over 800 volatile chemicals present in roasted coffee.
12. No One Has Ever Died Of A Cannabis Overdose
This is true. Scientists have conclude that the ratio of the amount of cannabinoids necessary to get a person intoxicated (i.e., stoned) relative to the amount necessary to kill them is 1 to 40,000. You would have to consume 40,000 times as much marijuana as you needed to get stoned.
In contrast, the ratio for alcohol varies between 1 to 4 and 1 to 10. It is easy to see how upwards of 5,000 people die from alcohol overdoses every year, and no one ever dies of marijuana overdoses.