Myth 1 – Marijuana is Harmless
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Too many people believe that marijuana is a benign drug and has no real bad affects. However, this is simply not true.
Marijuana is anything but harmless. In fact, marijuana use leads to all kinds of problems – from legal, emotional, behavioral, psychological, and cognitive, as well as many health-related issues.
Many studies have shown the ill effects associates with marijuana use. For example, studies have shown that marijuana users are more likely to perform poorly in school than non-marijuana users. Other studies have shown substantial deficiencies in math, verbal, and coordination skills for people who frequently abuse marijuana.
Marijuana users can subject themselves to the negative affects associated with many hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine. In particular, marijuana abuse disrupts the flow of chemical neurotransmitters in the brain. Frequent use of marijuana leads to burn-out. Other studies have shown that marijuana users are more likely to have depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, and other health problems.
Further, and perhaps even most importantly, the use of illicit drugs like marijuana (when not used for medical reasons) puts the user in greater risk of being involved with other criminal activities. Why? Because people using drugs are more likely to make bad decisions, and drug use is invariably tied to violence and crime. In other words, illegal drugs and violence generall go hand-in-hand. So, even a "harmless" user of marijuana may become the aggressor or victim of a violent act or crime.
This is just a snapshot of some of the problems associated with marijuana abuse. We’ll explore this myth in greater detail as we look at the use of marijuana later in this article.
Myth 2 – Marijuana Use Will Not Affect My Driving Abilities
Wrong! As previously mentioned, marijuana use does affect a user’s coordination abilities. According to studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, even a little "weed" can impair driving performance. In other words, marijuana use impedes a driver’s normal ability to pay attention to the road, look in the rear-view mirror, see other drivers and pedestrians on the road, and comprehend the relative speed of vehicles.
So, smoking weed should be viewed the same as driving under the influence of alcohol. In other words, if you commit a vehicle infraction while under the influence of marijuana you will face additional criminal penalties similar to driving under the influence of alcohol.
Myth 3 – Marijuana is Not Addictive
For a long time many people (including research scientists) believed that marijuana was not addictive. Clinical studies have not been able to show that marijuana is an addictive drug.
However, newer studies have shown that frequent marijuana users are more likely to develop a psychological dependency on the drug. And psychological dependencies can be just as difficult to overcome as other types of dependencies.
Further, marijuana has generally been thought of as the gateway-drug. In other words, marijuana has been associated with the type of drug that leads to the abuse of other more serious drugs like cocaine and heroine – which are highly addictive. In fact, the earlier in time that youth start using marijuana, the more likely they will become dependent on marijuana or other drugs. So, the facts do support that the abuse of marijuana can, and often do, lead to addition.
Next, we’ll go over myths 4 – 6.