Myths Vs. Facts

Every day, the available information about cannabis becomes more plentiful and accurate. But there’s
still a lot to learn! There are many misconceptions out there about cannabis, and Revolutionary Clinics is
working to dispel some of the misinformation.


Marijuana prohibition effectively protects kids


In 2011, use of marijuana by teenagers hit a 30-year peak, with one out of
every 15 high school students reporting they smoke most days, and for the
first time U .S. teens reported smoking more marijuana than cigarettes. But
teenagers don’t smoke any more marijuana in states where medical marijuana
is legal than in ones where it’s not. Legalization advocates argue that the best
way to reduce use by minors is to legalize and regulate marijuana.
Sources: New York Times, AP, Centers for Disease Control

Holland and Portugal have legalized marijuana

The Dutch have never formally legalized marijuana. They have an official policy,
since 1976, of not enforcing existing laws against possession of small amounts
or “coffeeshops,” about 700 of them, selling small amounts. But growing,
distributing and importing marijuana is still a crime in the Netherlands. While
Portugal decriminalized all drugs, that is not the same thing as legalization.
Acquisition, possession and use of marijuana are administrative offenses in
Portugal, punishable by civil sanctions such as fines or community service.
Sources: Cato Institute, Time

Prisons are full of people in for marijuana possession

About 750,000 people are arrested every year for marijuana offenses in the
U.S. There’s a lot of variation across states in what happens next. Not all arrests
lead to prosecutions, and relatively few people prosecuted and convicted of
simple possession end up in jail. Most are fined or are placed into community
supervision. About 40,000 inmates of state and federal prison have a current
conviction involving marijuana, and about half of them are in for marijuana
offenses alone; most of these were involved in distribution. Less than one
percent are in for possession alone.
Source: Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know

Using marijuana leads to crime and delinquency

The rate of marijuana use is higher among offenders than nonoffenders, but
that definitely does not mean that marijuana causes criminal behavior. Another
factor may be driving both results – or it could be that the causality goes
the other way, and criminals are just more likely to use drugs. Furthermore,
marijuana, unlike alcohol, doesn’t generally unleash aggression, so it’s much
harder to link it to violent crime.
Source: Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know

Marijuana use causes cancer

It’s true that marijuana smoke, like tobacco smoke, contains carcinogens. But
even hardcore marijuana smokers typically consume much less marijuana
than tobacco smokers do cigarettes, probably not enough to cause cancer.
A 2006 UCLA study concluded that even heavy marijuana use does not lead
to lung cancer. “We hypothesized that there would be a positive
association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association
would be more positive with heavier use,” said the study’s lead author.
“What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of
some protective effect.” This and other studies suggest that marijuana can
actually inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors. Finally, what risks there are
involve smoking, and there are other ways to consume marijuana.
Sources: Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know,
Washington Post

Marijuana use leads to dependence or addiction

It’s possible to become dependent on marijuana, but this only happens in
a minority of the already relatively small category of heavy users. Research
suggests that about nine percent of marijuana users became clinically
dependent at some point, compared to 15 percent of cocaine users and 24
percent of heroin users.
Source: National Institutes of Health

Marijuana is a ‘gateway’ drug

Kids who use marijuana are statistically more likely to go on to use other
drugs, but that doesn’t mean marijuana use causes use of other drugs. The
same factors driving marijuana use probably explain use of other drugs. A
report by the Institute of Medicine found “no conclusive evidence that the
drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of
other illicit drugs.”
Sources: Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know,
Institute of Medicine, Time

Marijuana is completely harmless

Heavy use can be harmful. Since marijuana smoke is chemically very similar
to tobacco smoke, heavy marijuana smokers are at risk for some of the same
health effects as cigarette smokers, like bronchitis and other respiratory
illnesses. Again, though, the risks are from smoking, which isn’t the only
way to use marijuana. Another hazard: car accidents caused by driving while
high, though the risk is lower than from drunk driving.
Sources: NORML, National Institutes of Health, Harm Reduction Journal,
Scientific American

Marijuana is a dangerous drug

Study after study has found that marijuana is much less harmful than alcohol
and tobacco, and “hard” drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Sources: Journal of the American Medical Association,
Journal of Psychopharmacology

Most marijuana smokers are heavy users

Between 40 and 50 percent of people who have tried marijuana report a
lifetime total of fewer than 12 days of use. About one-third of marijuana
smokers report having used marijuana for 10 days or less in the past
year. About 6 million of America’s 30 million users over the age of 12 use
marijuana on a daily or almost-daily basis according to household survey
data – a fifth of those who say they have used marijuana in the past year –
but they account for about 80 percent of all marijuana consumed.
Source: Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know