Cannabis disinformation has existed for decades. This can lead people to not know what to believe, because they do not know what is fact and what is a myth.
One of the first forms of cannabis disinformation were scare-tactics. A well-known example was a movie called “Reefer Madness” that was released in the late 1930s. The film attempted to convince individuals that smoking marijuana would cause people to commit serious crimes, and could result in permanent insanity.
Although many people did not fall for these scare-tactics, disinformation has taken the opposite approach in recent years. While it continues to be illegal under federal laws, Washington DC and four individual states currently allow it for recreational use. News sources have shown one of these states already regrets this decision.
In Colorado, between 25 percent and 40 percent of DUI arrests involved individuals who were under the influence of no other drug but marijuana. In nationwide rankings, Colorado is fourth in marijuana use amongst teenagers. Marijuana accounted for a huge increase in student suspensions. There have also been large increases in hospitalizations and emergency room visits due to marijuana use.
In addition to legalization, there is false information about the complete safety of this drug. When older people, especially, take this approach, more and more young people believe it is safe to use it. While marijuana use is reaching younger and younger children, another concern is its impact on teenage drivers. One poll shows that of teenage drivers, one in five has driven under the influence. Approximately 33 percent stated they believed their ability to drive was not affected by being high on pot.
With safety disinformation, young people often do not realize the long-term effects it can have on their brains and bodies. While an adolescent’s body is not fully developed, neither is his brain. This puts teenage users at a higher risk of health problems and psychological problems.
Teens who smoke regularly lose IQ points and cognitive abilities. These effects cannot be reversed, even if they stop using the drug. Teens are also at a greater risk of suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and depression.
One example is the claim that marijuana is not addictive. First, we can look at the wide range of recovery programs, rehab programs, and treatment programs that are specifically geared to marijuana users. If this drug were not addictive, there would not be so many people attempting to recover from their addictions.
Second, there are many individuals who have smoked marijuana for decades. It is easy to find large numbers of Baby Boomers and Senior Citizens who began smoking when they were young, and never stopped. Despite all the evidence, they insist they are not addicted, and that cannabis is not an addictive substance at all.
Another common theme is cannabis is healthy and safe because it is natural. Scientific studies have found it contains 483 chemical compounds. Some of these compounds are carcinogenic. Benzapyrene and tar can be found at the same, or even higher, levels as found in tobacco smoke. There is also a much higher level of ammonia in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke.
Regular marijuana use affects the lungs. It can affect the heart rate, and increase the risk of a heart attack. Many individuals experience mental health problems, lack of motivation, and social problems. Babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy have an higher risk of behavioral problems and brain problems.
In recent years, cannabis has been approached as the ideal solution to a variety of health and medical problems. Some states in the U.S. have made it legal for medicinal purposes. However, most have not addressed issues such as how accessible it is to individuals without medical conditions, or how these new laws may affect people who drive under the influence.
One notable exception is Iowa. Iowa allows Cannabidiol for certain medical conditions, and when recommended by a medical specialist. An important difference between Cannabidiol and cannabis is the former does not contain any psychoactive properties.
As cannabis disinformation continues to spread, there are many individuals who want it to be completely legal, without any restrictions. You are likely to find many who claim it should be legal for medical purposes actually have the goal of legalization for recreational purposes.
Most people today are aware that “Reefer Madness” was a scare-tactic. Marijuana use does not necessarily mean a person will commit serious crimes or go insane. It does not mean a person who smokes marijuana will definitely proceed on to harder drugs.
However, disinformation has gone too far in the opposite direction. It is not harmless, and it is not as natural as many are led to believe. A person who starts smoking should reasonably expect to experience problems. His health, or his life in general, will be affected.