Debunking cannabis myths
Let's begin by stating the obvious: cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the world. It's estimated that more people use cannabis than those who use cocaine, heroin and ecstasy combined. But is cannabis as harmful? There are a lot of myths floating around and the Internet is full of half-truths, misinformation and downright lies about the plant. In this article we will look at some of the most common myths about cannabis and debunk them by examining scientific evidence for each topic.
Cannabis is a Gateway drug
The gateway theory of drug use has been around since the 1930s and used as a propaganda tool; For years people have been scared into thinking that if use cannabis you will use harder drugs and become addicted. As more and more countries around the world legalise the plant for medical and recreational use there is evidence to prove this is not the case! For example studies that have been carried out in Colorado and Washington show that “marijuana was not associated with an increase in adolescent or emerging adult SUD treatment admissions for opioids, cocaine, or methamphetamines” compared with rates of such substance use in other states where marijuana legalization has not occurred.
In fact there decades' worth of research on that can be found online and its potential link with other drugs like alcohol abuse, opioids and cocaine addiction, the research concludes that "there is little evidence for any substantial gateway effect."
The role of cannabis as an entry point into other drug use is overstated and research shows that young adults who smoke weed are at a significantly lower risk of developing an addiction to other substances compared with non-users of the same age group—and some studies have even suggested that cannabis could reduce withdrawal symptoms from other drugs like nicotine or alcohol!
Cannabis is a dangerous drug.
First of all cannabis is not as dangerous as people think and far less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco.
Cannabis can be used for medicinal and therapeutic uses. The most dangerous thing about cannabis in the UK is that the market is run by gangsters and llicit drug dealers, which in turn fuels gang violence.
Cannabis is highly addictive
While cannabis dependency is a problem, it actually “produces dependence less readily than most other illicit drugs”.
In fact, studies found that 9% of people who try cannabis will become addicted to it, while around 14% of the UK population are addicted to smoking cigarettes. Although the risk of addiction goes up when you factor other variables into the equation: chronic pain, depression and anxiety disorder all increase your risk of developing a cannabis use disorder (CUDS). The same applies to alcohol—you could get drunk once with no problem, but if you drink every day for years on end then it may develop into an addiction. This is also true for all drugs but you can not become physically dependent on cannabis any way whatsoever.
It has been suggested that cannabis is a highly addictive substance, but the evidence proves this is not true.
Cannabis has been compared to tobacco because of their similar chemical makeup, but the comparison doesn’t hold up when you consider that nicotine is the addictive compound in tobacco — and nicotine isn’t present in cannabis.
Instead, studies have shown that people who smoke weed may have a lower risk of developing an addiction than those who drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes (or both).
Prohibition protects children
It's easy to see why prohibition would be attractive to parents. After all, it's an easy way to keep children safe from drug use. But the truth is that prohibition doesn't actually protect kids at all—it just makes it harder for them to get their hands on cannabis, which in turn makes them less likely to try it.
If you think about it, if you are a parent like myself and you want your children not to do drugs because they're bad for them and could lead them down a dark path toward addiction or other problems, wouldn't you want those drugs kept away from your kids? Or would you rather those drugs are regulated so that they are quality checked and that only adults could buy them?
The best way to protect children is to eliminate the criminal and often violent market, encourage safer cannabis consumption, and educate children along with parents about the effects of cannabis, leading to more informed choices.
It is time to end the war on drugs. It has been a failed policy since its inception and it's been proven so by countless studies, including the ones mentioned here. The idea that cannabis will lead people towards harder substances is not backed up by any evidence whatsoever. Legalising cannabis will reduce drug-related harm because people who are using it won’t turn to other substances to relieve their symptoms!
When cannabis is or becomes a problem for people especially children they are more likely to ask for help if they are not going to be arrested and criminalised. If legal they would also have access to evidence based advice and services.