5 Outdated and Dangerous Myths About Cannabis Users
By Zelda Flowers
Propaganda is one of the most effective tools a government uses to influence the minds and opinions of its citizens. The propaganda campaign against marijuana in the United States has had a lasting and damaging effect on its populace. Far from promoting the health and medical benefits, the government’s campaign focused on cannabis ruining the lives of youth, leading them into a devil’s orgy of drugs, sex and crime. Living in the heart of cannabis country, it’s easy misconstrue marijuana’s acceptance in today’s society. The truth is that there are still people trapped in the dark ages of marijuana falsehoods who hold dangerous beliefs about cannabis users. Here’s some we need to dispel ASAP:
- Cannabis users are addicts. Addiction is characterized by being unable to stop using/doing something that causes disruption in your daily life. While some cannabis users will experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and insomnia, most have no problem abstaining when necessary. The National Institute of Drug Abuse estimates that thirty percent of cannabis users have a “marijuana use disorder, which in severe cases takes the form of addiction.” But ask yourself, is cannabis the cause, or would these same people exhibit addictive traits for alcohol, eating or gambling had cannabis not been available to them? Cannabis has never been proven to be a gateway drug, in fact, many cannabis users only use marijuana. Again, who is to say that the people who transition to hard drugs after using cannabis, wouldn’t have done the same regardless of what substance they started with. Could it be that cannabis is simply the easiest of “drugs” to get in America?
- Cannabis users are irresponsible. This dangerous stereotype disproportionally affects women, many who are in danger of losing custody of their children. Drug-addled mothers are dangerous to their children goes the theory. By this logic any woman who has more than a single glass of wine should lose their children. As should any fathers who drink in the home. Also, you need to remove children from any homes containing painkillers of any kind, including America’s favorite: opiates. Sleep aids should be taken into consideration as well. After all, parents must remain clear-headed and alert 24/7/365. But this isn’t the case, is it? Somehow we’re able to understand that a person who has a glass of wine or takes a painkiller can still be a safe and effective parent. Contrary to what people think, medical marijuana users aren’t sitting around all day nodding off, baked out of their minds. Like any medicine, you take it as needed, when needed. Some cannabis users only take a hit or two before bed to help sleep. Others use it to unwind after a hard day. Before you go judging cannabis using parents, stop by a happy hour and count how many parents drive home after drinking a few.
Cannabis users are lazy and lack ambition. Millions of people in the United States use cannabis and they don’t all work part-time at record stores and headshops. They’re bankers, doctors, workmen, teachers, researchers, scientists and serve our military. Barack Obama inhaled. As did Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Carl Sagan. In fact, you’d be hard pressed not to find high profile cannabis users in any industry, but you’ll most definitely find them in high concentrations in creative industries and…sports. Professional athletes from all arenas use cannabis, from the NFL to cricket. I challenge you to find a professional snowboarder that hasn’t smoked herb. Go call Michael Phelps lazy to his face, I dare you!
- Cannabis users are unhealthy. See #3 above. Cannabis is not an unhealthy habit like tobacco in any of its forms. Many people who are drawn to cannabis may not fully understand its benefits, only that it makes them feel good and offers relief, mental and physical. They’re self-treating, self-medicating without realizing it. However, once you begin to treat cannabis seriously, learning about the cannabinoid system and terpene profiles, it can be used as a targeted treatment for myriad conditions like anorexia, nerve conditions, cancer, nausea, anxiety, insomnia and arthritis. After all, you don’t walk into the drugstore and randomly pick a box off the shelf and hope it works for what ails you, do you?
- Cannabis users just want to get high. Everybody knows MMJ users just want to sit around and get baked all day every day, right? Wrong. Study after study has shown true, powerful medical benefits from cannabis. Even more convincing are the personal testimonies, many from parents who don’t use cannabis themselves, but have opted to treat their children or senior parents with cannabis and see tremendously positive changes. Cannabis offers so many medical benefits in fact, that we’re still discovering them. The truth is that our most vulnerable citizens can benefit the most from cannabis; children, seniors, veterans and the mentally ill. According to personal testimony after personal testimony (my own included), cannabis provides the same or better benefits than many prescription drugs without awful side effects.