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Marijuana Myths

A man who believes too many marijuana myths

Make no mistake, marijuana is a popular drug. Among high school seniors, nearly half use marijuana at least once in their lifetime. However, this doesn’t mean the drug is safe. Today, we know more than ever about the dangers of marijuana use and the need for marijuana addiction treatment. Unfortunately, many people use marijuana without concern for the damage it can do. Let’s take a closer look at some of the facts and myths about marijuana use.

Myth 1: Marijuana Is a Natural Substance

Marijuana is often described as a form of herb, plant, or grass. People who use the drug may claim that it is safe because it grows naturally and is nurtured only by sunlight and rain. If you’re getting it from a legal dispensary, that’s probably true. However, the situation with illegal weed is completely different. Dealers will lace their illegal marijuana with all sorts of unnatural chemicals such as PCP, formaldehyde, codeine, and cocaine to extend the product or heighten effects for users.

Obviously, these underground dealers aren’t regulated in any way. As a result, they can do whatever they want to the marijuana they distribute. Users may never know what they’re consuming until it’s too late.

Myth 2: People Have Used Marijuana for Decades, Proving It’s Perfectly Harmless

In the 1960s and 1970s, marijuana entered the cultural consciousness. As a result, it is relatively easy to find songs, movies, television shows, and even artwork that glorifies marijuana use. Today, nearly half the states in the nation allow some form of recreational marijuana use.

Some people who abuse marijuana point to these cultural touchstones as proof that the drug is harmless. That logic doesn’t hold up. Alcohol is a perfectly legal drug, yet it destroys lives every day.

According to research, THC levels in marijuana have been on the rise for years, and marijuana is approximately seven times stronger today than it was in the 1970s. This affects both legal and illegal marijuana being grown.

Myth 3: Marijuana’s Effects Are Temporary

There is a commonly accepted myth that when an individual uses marijuana, the drug only changes the user’s feelings for a short period of time. Once that effect wears off, the user feels normal once again. In reality, the changes caused by marijuana can linger, and they can change the way people feel for long periods.

For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests that marijuana can change portions of the brain responsible for learning and memory. As a result, people who abuse marijuana may struggle with names and faces, and they may even have lower IQ levels. Even if the individual stops drug use, the damage remains. It’s clear that this drug doesn’t just cause temporary changes—the damage can be permanent.

Myth 4: Marijuana Isn’t Addictive

Some people claim that marijuana isn’t an addictive drug because it doesn’t cause persistent chemical changes in the brain that might lead to drug addiction. They claim that even heavy users can stop using the drug anytime. In reality, marijuana can and does cause addiction in people who use it, and chemical changes are to blame for this behavior.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that one in 11 people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. In addition, those who begin using the drug in adolescence have a one in six chance of dependence. These people may find that they need to take higher doses of the drug in order to feel the same effects. Escalation of use and withdrawal syndrome are components that are found in people who use and abuse marijuana. Without question, marijuana use is harmful—legal or not.

Myth 5: Marijuana Changes Only the Brain

Some of the common signs of marijuana use include relaxation, slurred speech, and a feeling of lethargy. All of these sensations begin in the brain. As a result, it’s reasonable for people who take marijuana to believe that the drug they’re using only works on the brain. However, scientists know that marijuana can cause changes in other parts of the body, and these changes might not always be easy for people to feel or understand.

For example, marijuana use may double the risk of stroke in young adults. In fact, strokes may take place long after sobriety has returned, which seems to indicate that the drug can cause long-term damage. Those who believe that the drug impacts only the cells of the brain overlook the damage that takes place in other parts of their bodies.

Get the Help You Need from Michael’s House

If you or someone you love struggles with a marijuana problem, it’s time to take the next step. At Michael’s House, our caring, compassionate staff can help you on the road to recovery. Once our drug treatment program is complete, individuals have a chance to live a life without drug abuse or dependence. Our center, nestled in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains, can help you find a peaceful new life without drug dependence today. Contact us today at 760.548.4032 and begin your journey to recovery.