In 1996, cannabis use became legal in the U.S. again after a long, winding history of racially-charged condemnation. While California legalized the plant strictly for medical purposes, the decision to decriminalize this natural health supplement ignited a domino effect that has led to 39 states following suit.
Even with growing government support, however, cannabis still carries a heavy social stigma that will take time to dissolve. The best way to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about cannabis is to talk about them. Although there’s no guarantee that the other party will agree with you, it’s worth giving them factual tidbits to marinate on and hopefully ease their perspectives.
Myths that fuel the cannabis stigma
The stigma around cannabis is only a recent phenomenon. For centuries, cultures around the world harvested the cannabis plant for its psychoactive properties, which provided a slew of health benefits. From nausea and inflammation to stomach issues and viral diseases, civilizations consumed cannabis believing it could heal the body. In colonial America, parts of the cannabis plant were intentionally grown to produce textile material goods; later on, some societies branched out and explored its medicinal properties, creating over-the-counter prescriptions using extracts.
Fast forward to the early 20th century — Mexican immigrants are moving to the U.S., the Great Depression unfolds, and talks of prohibition are in the air. With social unrest bubbling, increased crime was unjustly pinned on the immigrants who recreationally used cannabis. Shortly after, cannabis was formally deemed “illegal” in the U.S. with The Marijuana Act of 1937, sparking the beginning of its negative reputation.
Since then, cannabis has been wrongly grouped with harmful drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and tobacco. Here are some common myths about cannabis you may have heard:
- Cannabis is a “gateway” drug: The CDC states there’s limited evidence that cannabis consumption increases the risk of hard drug use and that most people don’t venture beyond cannabis.
- Cannabis leads to more crime: A 2019 study published in Justice Quarterly shows otherwise. Analyzing data from Colorado and Washington, the study found that legalizing cannabis for recreational and medical use had little to no long-term effect on crime rates in these states.
- Cannabis can lead to addiction and overdose: Dependence is possible for anyone who consumes cannabis, but it mainly happens among heavy users. Only 3 in 10 cannabis users have an extreme dependence on the plant; while harmful, it’s impossible to die from an overdose of THC.
To dive more into the facts and fibs of cannabis, check out our Cannabis 101 guide.
Setting the record straight
Staying silent keeps the topic of cannabis taboo and gives a place for these misconceptions to live. It can be scary speaking to a loved one or legislative figure about cannabis if they don’t support its use. However, it’s a step toward leading constructive conversations about how cannabis is misunderstood.
Most of the time, the stigma around cannabis stems from a lack of knowledge. You can start an open discussion by outlining false perceptions about cannabis and emphasize how its benefits are helping millions of Americans, including you, find relief from debilitating symptoms. Don’t be afraid to explain how cannabis has enhanced your quality of life. Whether it has helped you sleep better after many nights of insomnia or eased gastrointestinal discomfort, humanizing this humble plant highlights its personal and medicinal value.
Although it might be tempting to veer away from the cons of cannabis, you want to be transparent about its possible side effects. Like any other external substance, cannabis can cause health issues when abused. Compared to many prescription medications, however, cannabis is a much safer alternative when responsibly consumed.
After you’ve talked things out, don’t stop there! Get involved in bigger discourses to help destigmatize cannabis in your community and keep the conversation going.
Rev-ving up the cannabis conversation
One strong advocate for combatting the cannabis stigma has been former Red Sox player and Baseball Hall of Famer David Ortiz. With his line of Papi Cannabis products, David hopes to erase the shame associated with cannabis by sharing how it can be integrated into a healthy, holistic lifestyle. Through his Sweet Sluggers and Moonshot vape cartridges, Big Papi wants others to feel their absolute best, guilt-free — and so do we at Rev Clinics.
In addition to Big Papi’s products, our Massachusetts dispensaries carry an extended, diverse line of cannabis products that fit any lifestyle and are formulated to treat various health conditions. From tropical fruit chews and velvety chocolates to bubbly beverages and topical elixirs, Rev has just what you need to help you reach new heights with your health.
We’re also thankful to be a part of a supportive community that understands the importance of cannabis and how it holds the power to change patients’ lives. Our dispensaries offer a Rev Clinics Access Card — an affordable membership program with perks and discounts for our products and local businesses. With this card, patients get a first look at upcoming strains and receive free delivery on all qualifying orders. By partnering with neighboring shops, we aim to help patients feel more confident seeking the medicine they need.