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  • Olivia Castro

Common Marijuana Myths Debunked

There is a huge stormy cloud of stigma that has surrounded medical marijuana for decades now. This stigma has been the cause of so much of the controversy surrounding medical marijuana legalization and simply marijuana in general. It has been the reason as to why the “war on drugs” was started which resulted in locking up more incarcerated people in the criminal “justice” system than ever before in American history.

This has caused a lot of tension in our society due to the gap between those who agree that marijuana should be legal, either recreationally or medically, and those who do not. While the issue is obviously rooted in something a little bigger than “stigma,” it is one of the fights that cannabis advocates easily draw up the sword to combat.

The stigma surrounding marijuana use has created a sort of fog around marijuana education. It is dense, it is hard to see through and most people give up trying to find their way through it so they settle on easily digestible theories that are outdated and ultimately, not factual. The stigma cloud almost blurs out marijuana discussions altogether in everyday society. This leaves many medical marijuana patients feeling isolated, having to hide that marijuana helps them from even close family and friends, and those that are potential patients so far from the truth that they are afraid to even think about medical marijuana being an option for their needs.

But what are the facts? Can the decades of long standing stigma be dismantled? Will patients ever feel the true freedom of being able to choose which health care is best for their medical condition and also the confidence to be open about it?

Here at Louisiana Marijuana Card, we fight every day to make this possible, not only for our patients but for people all over the state. We believe that relief is not a privilege but a right that everyone deserves access to, especially those that are battling chronic medical conditions. We are here to bridge the gap and break the stigma!

Debunked Myth #1: “Marijuana is a gateway drug.”

We have all heard this one before as it is probably one of the most widely used tall tales about marijuana. I’m sure you have either heard this in your “D.A.R.E.” class back in your old middle school days or maybe you were even the one to tell your kids to arm themselves with this information in one hand while outstretching the other into a stop sign to “say no to drugs.” Either way, this long standing myth has been one major player for the marijuana stigma side and has burrowed itself deep into societal thoughts on marijuana.

Marijuana is by no means a gateway drug. There is no evidence that once you start using marijuana, you then start using hard illegal drugs. This myth has been spread from the “war on drugs” which has scheduled marijuana a Schedule I drug. Unfortunately, this category is reserved for highly addictive drugs with no medical value which we know isn’t true for marijuana. Cannabis activists have been trying to have marijuana rescheduled since the 1970’s and it is still a fight that lives on to this day.

This false scheduling is most likely what led to the myth of marijuana being a gateway drug. The idea behind this was that Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous therefore those who struggle with additions and use one of these drugs will more than likely use another Schedule I drug. Unfortunately, this myth applied to marijuana even though there is no evidence that shows marijuana causes other drug use.

Actually, marijuana has been shown to do the exact opposite! Marijuana can help those with drug addictions wean off of them and provide a track for a fast and safer recovery time. This has been seen in treatment centers for opioid addiction all over the nation!

Debunked Myth #2: “Marijuana is addictive.”

This myth can be easily debunked because the answer is actually just not that easy. Saying firmly that marijuana is addictive ignores the nuances of addiction and is way too general of a statement.

On one hand, there can be very real, very diagnosable addictions to many different things. One can be addicted to alcohol, painkillers, sugar, or gambling and these are just the major addictions we hear about. There are many more rare addictions that are less known, in fact there is an entire TV-show about it! So just like anything else, of course marijuana can be misused, over consumed and an emotional dependency can be created. But in this sense, marijuana is not any more likely “addictive” than anything else in life.

There is a major aspect to marijuana that sets it apart from other drugs, it is not lethal. Anyone who has a loved one struggling with true drug addiction knows that the scariest part is losing them. With marijuana, there are no overdoses. While there have been a few suspected isolated cases, the deaths were not very clear and could have been linked to pre-existing medical conditions. Other deaths that have been linked to marijuana are not a direct link either; they usually have other contributing factors such as driving under the influence. Saying marijuana is addictive is just another way to brush off marijuana’s medicinal, healing values and scare people away from using it!

Debunked Myth #3: “People who use marijuana are lazy.”

Although this myth is not as potent as the first two, it still stings a little bit. There has been a relentless stereotype of the “pothead” or “stoner” based on the media's portrayal of the marijuana user. It’s been in countless movies such as “Cheech & Chong” and “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle.” These movies are out for fun and games but definitely leave a false impression on society as to who marijuana users are. They stereotype users as being lazy, silly, and dumb when in reality marijuana users can be an entire plethora of things!

What this stereotype really does is gloss over the fact that marijuana is really beneficial for its users! There definitely are strains that make you relax and chill which can contribute to the “couch potato” stereotype but what this ignores is the fact that some of our patients actually need that for their health and wellness. We have had patients that have chronic or intractable pain with countless surgeries that only find relief with relaxing marijuana strains. And there is nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, there also are plenty of strains, such as sativa strains, that have the opposite effect making you feel motivated and energetic to get those tasks done! These strains are great for daytime use and really help aid those with depression, anxiety or PTSD.

Debunked Myth #4: “Using marijuana kills your brain cells.”

Over the years, the stereotype of “potheads” has contributed to the myth that using marijuana kills your brain cells. This is actually an offensive belief to hold about marijuana users because it is alluding to marijuana users being dumb aka killing their brains cells. We know this is not true and that in fact marijuana users lie all over the “smart” spectrum, just like any other group of people.

We also know that there is no direct link between using marijuana and memory loss or negative effects on the brain! Back in 2012 a study came out showing a link between marijuana use and lower IQ over time for adolescents, which was later replicated by other researchers. But what these studies overlooked was the fact that correlation does not equal causation (hello stats 101)! A more recent twin-study took a deeper look at the methodology behind the previous study and found that it was making unsupported assumptions about marijuana’s role in IQ decline. What this study found was that marijuana doesn’t cause a decline at all! Instead, genetic and environmental factors were completely ignored which both are leading contributions to lower IQ and increased marijuana use.

Debunked Myth #5: “Medical marijuana is just a way to get ‘high’ all the time.”

This myth is a very dangerous one! Many people who are against marijuana use believe that medical marijuana is just an excuse for people to get access to marijuana legally just to get “high” all the time. This thought is rooted in the belief that marijuana has no medicinal value, so of course people are using marijuana to get “high” and not for their medical condition.

We know this to be completely and utterly false for two reasons. Most people who consume marijuana are not looking to party but are actually looking to find relief for their medical condition. This fact alone debunks this myth since it is showing that people are not using marijuana just to get “high” and have a good time, they're actually in a lot of pain and looking to find relief. This is not to say that marijuana doesn’t have a place in recreational use because we all know it certainly does. But we also know that marijuana has impressive healing qualities that keeps users coming back to aid their medical conditions such as cancer, Crohn's Disease, intractable pain, multiple sclerosis, PTSD and more!

We Are Here To Help!

Here at Louisiana Marijuana Card, our number one job is to focus on you and your needs. We are only here to help you! This includes debunking myths and stereotypes of medical marijuana users so Louisiana residents can feel more free to choose the best health care options for themselves, whether it is medical marijuana or not. We believe that self care and relief can come from medical marijuana and we will help you every step of the way!

Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Louisiana Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Louisiana!


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