Medical Marijuana: Science Versus Myth

Medical Marijuana: Science Versus Myth

As medical marijuana becomes more socially accepted and the medicinal benefits recognized, more people will start becoming proponents of legal marijuana. And yet, some major marijuana haters still say things like “weed is a gateway drug” and “smoking pot will make you dumb.” We are here today to debunk these medical marijuana myths with science.

Myth 1 – Marijuana is a gateway drug.

For years, proponents of the war on drugs claimed that legalizing marijuana will lead to increased abuse of marijuana and other, more harmful drugs. However, this claim was never truly proven. Although there is a correlation between people using marijuana and other drugs, there is no proof of causation. Meaning, studies show that recreational users who smoke pot are more likely to also be taking other drugs. However, marijuana does not cause people to use other drugs, and the majority of marijuana users do not wind up using other drugs.

In fact, since marijuana started becoming legal across the country, marijuana use is on the incline but associated problems are on the decline. Although more people are using pot, less pot-related problems are being reported. Another study showed that reports of young people using marijuana were significantly lower today than they were 15 years ago. The fact is, contrary to popular belief, there is just no evidence of an increased amount of teens using pot as a gateway drug – even in pot legal states.

Myth 2 – Driving under the influence of pot is just as bad as driving while under the influence of alcohol.

We are by no means promoting people drive under the influence of marijuana. We are, however, making the point that marijuana drivers are not nearly as dangerous as drunk drivers. Stoned drivers are slow drivers. Marijuana will still impair their reaction times and judgment. However, alcohol is shown to have a four-fold increased crash risk, while marijuana is shown to have comparatively less risk.

Myth 3 – Marijuana kills brain cells, affects memory and makes you dumb.

After many decades and debates, the University of Louisville determined that marijuana does not actually kill brain cells. This finding coordinates an earlier report with the same findings. Marijuana does not make you dumb. We do admit that marijuana affects your short-term memory… wait, what were we talking about? Joking! But, in all seriousness, marijuana has been shown to have virtually no effect on your existing memories and long-term memory loss.

So who needs short term memory anyways? For those thinking “fine, marijuana doesn’t kill brain cells or long-term memory, but it does make you dumb, unmotivated and unsuccessful,” we can’t help but disagree. There is no proof that weed dumbs you down, and this list of successful “pot heads” might make you think otherwise. Did someone say JFK?

Myth 4 – Weed leads to violence.

Some say that, because criminals are more likely to smoke marijuana, this means that marijuana leads to more criminal activity. This is false. As stated above, correlation does not mean causation. Smoking weed will not make regular people want to engage in criminal activity. Criminals who happen to smoke weed also smoke cigarettes, drink and gamble more than the average non-offender. So marijuana does not cause criminal activity, but criminals have a much higher rate of engaging in the risky/illegal behavior, which happens to include pot (“illegal” for the time being).

Myth 5 – The jury is still out on the medical benefits of marijuana.

This falsehood is just bias. The more researchers study pot, the more medical benefits they find. New reports of marijuana’s medical benefits for cancer, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, PTSD and many other conditions come out every week. A national survey conducted back in 2014 found that the majority of doctors agree that marijuana should be legal for medicinal purposes. Studies found that marijuana inhibits cancer growth, stifles seizures, and even helps treat autism, among a laundry list of other medical conditions. The fact is marijuana is medicine. And people deserve to have legal access to a medicine that will help them feel better for a variety of different debilitating ailments.

Myth 6 – Legalized weed is bad for the country and the war on drugs.

Colorado brought in over $60 million in its first year with recreational legalized pot. Do you know where that money went? The schools, public programs and the elderly. Here in Nevada, the taxes made on medical marijuana also go to the schools. In a country where, unfortunately, funding for education is not as important as it should be, the new marijuana industry is the school districts’ saving grace. But this is just one benefit of legalized weed. Colorado also created 16,000 new jobs, making the marijuana business a viable part of Colorado’s economy. Plus, the fact that there’s been no spikes in crime or teen marijuana use, it’s hard to see the negative effects of legalized marijuana.

These aren’t the only myths holding marijuana back. Ridiculous myths from the “Reefer Madness” days still exist, such as “marijuana will make you gay” and “reefer will make you sterile.” These myths are so far from the truth, we don’t even need to bother officially debunking them. Common sense will.

With marijuana myths slowly being debunked and scientific truths about marijuana coming to light, weed proponents are increasing. States across the country are legalizing the medical and recreational use of marijuana, with very little, if any, negative effects on their people and their economies.

In Nevada, medical marijuana is currently legal and available in local medical marijuana dispensaries, such as the Las Vegas ReLeaf dispensary. But many are saying that it is only a matter of time before Nevada legalizes recreational marijuana too. It is rumored to be on the ballot in November, giving the people of Nevada their chance to decide if they want legal recreational marijuana. So, do you?,

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