Myth: Today’s marijuana is more potent and more harmful than it was many years ago.
Fact: There is no medical evidence that shows high-potency marijuana is more harmful than low-potency marijuana. Marijuana is literally one of the least toxic substances known. High-potency marijuana is actually preferable because less is of it consumed to obtain the desired effect; thereby reducing the amount of smoke that enters the lungs and lowering the risk of any respiratory health hazards. Claiming that high-potency marijuana is more harmful than low-potency marijuana is like claiming wine is more harmful than beer.
Myth: Smoking marijuana can cause cancer and serious lung damage.
Fact: There chance of contracting cancer from smoking marijuana is minuscule. Tobacco smokers typically smoke 20+ cigarettes every day for decades, but virtually nobody smokes marijuana in the quantity and frequency required to cause cancer. A 1997 UCLA study (see page 9) concluded that even prolonged and heavy marijuana smoking causes no serious lung damage. Cancer risks from common foods (meat, salt, dairy products) far exceed any cancer risk posed by smoking marijuana. Respiratory health hazards and cancer risks can be totally eliminated by ingesting marijuana in baked foods.
Myth: Marijuana contains over 400 chemicals, thus proving that marijuana is dangerous.
Fact: Coffee contains 1,500 chemicals. Rat poison contains only 30 chemicals. Many vegetables contain cancer-causing chemicals. There is no correlation between the number of chemicals a substance contains and its toxicity. Prohibitionists often cite this misleading statistic to make marijuana appear dangerous.
Myth: Marijuana is a gateway drug—it leads to harder drugs.
Fact: The U.S. government’s own statistics show that over 75 percent of all Americans who use marijuana never use harder drugs. The gateway-drug theory is derived by using blatantly-flawed logic. Using such blatantly-flawed logic, alcohol should be considered the gateway drug because most cocaine and heroin addicts began their drug use with beer or wine—not marijuana.
Myth: Marijuana is addicting.
Fact: Marijuana is not physically addicting. Medical studies rank marijuana as less habit forming than caffeine. The legal drugs of tobacco (nicotine) and alcohol can be as addicting as heroin or cocaine, but marijuana is one of the least habit forming substances known.
Myth: Marijuana use impairs learning ability.
Fact: A 1996 U.S. government study claims that heavy marijuana use may impair learning ability. The key words are heavy use and may. This claim is based on studying people who use marijuana daily—a sample that represents less than 1 percent of all marijuana users. This study concluded: 1) Learning impairments cited were subtle, minimal, and may be temporary. In other words, there is little evidence that such learning impairments even exist. 2) Long-term memory was not affected by heavy marijuana use. 3) Casual marijuana users showed no signs of impaired learning. 4) Heavy alcohol use was cited as being more detrimental to the thought and learning process than heavy marijuana use.
Myth: Marijuana is a significant cause of emergency room admissions.
Fact: The U.S. government reports that marijuana-related emergency room episodes are increasing. The government counts an emergency room admission as a marijuana-related episode if the word marijuana appears anywhere in the medical record. If a patient tests positive for marijuana because he/she used marijuana several days before the incident occurred, if a drunk driver admits he/she also smoked some marijuana, or if anyone involved in the incident merely possessed marijuana, the government counts the emergency room admission as a “marijuana-related episode.” Less than 0.2% of all emergency room admissions are “marijuana related.” This so-called marijuana-causes-emergencies statistic was carefully crafted by the government to make marijuana appear dangerous.