Marijuana is making headlines in most states as the debate about legalization of the drug continues. Unfortunately, much of the information provided in this ongoing debate is misleading or incorrect. To help you separate the facts from the fiction, the staff at Pasadena Recovery Center has listed some of the top myths currently circulating about marijuana and the truths about those claims.
Myth #1: Marijuana is No More Dangerous than Alcohol
This statement is often backed up by misleading statistics showing more costs of alcohol abuse to society than costs of marijuana use. However, alcohol is legal and widely available in all 50 states, which explains why there is a greater societal cost of alcohol abuse. If marijuana continues on its legalization track, it is very probably we would see increased consequences and cost from marijuana use as well.
Myth #2: Marijuana is Safer than Cigarettes
Actually, marijuana contains many of the same harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, including tar and carbon monoxide. In fact, marijuana users consume higher levels of these chemicals than cigarette smokers, increasing their risks for lung damage and some types of cancers. In addition, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that smoking marijuana can significantly damage the respiratory system at a fairly young age and that 3-4 joints can do as much damage as up to 20 cigarettes.
Myth #3: Marijuana is Not Addictive
It is true that marijuana may not be as physically addictive as other drugs. However, the drug does meet the following criteria for dependence outlined by the American Psychiatric Association:
- Giving up other activities for marijuana use
- Needing more of the substance to get the same effects (tolerance)
- Using the drug even if it is causing personal or professional problems
- Withdrawal symptoms if the drug is stopped
The risk for marijuana addiction increases when the drug is started at a younger age. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one in six teens that uses marijuana will become dependent on the drug.
Myth #4: No One Dies from Marijuana Use
Deaths from a marijuana overdose are extremely rare. However, that doesn’t mean no one has ever died as a result of marijuana use. Marijuana impacts your judgment and reaction time, which can lead to dangers especially behind the wheel of a vehicle. Marijuana may also lead to risky sexual behavior with potentially deadly consequences. Long-term marijuana smoking can lead to diseases similar to those seen in smokers, which can be deadly in some cases.
Myth #5: Marijuana has Medicinal Benefits
As legalization of “medical” marijuana continues to increase, this myth becomes more prevalent and widespread. However, the facts indicate marijuana is not widely accepted as having medicinal benefits by experts in public health. Most doctors will not “prescribe” medical marijuana due to the health risks of smoking the drug. The FDA also has not approved marijuana for medicinal use, which means the drug does not receive any type of oversight or regulation by the federal government before it gets into the hands of patients.
The staff at Pasadena Recovery Center have seen firsthand the devastating impacts these myths have had on marijuana users. If you are struggling with marijuana abuse, contact us today at 866-663-3030 to get the help you need.