Dispelling Common Misconceptions About Cannabis

While the FDA has not officially approved the use of marijuana as a cure or treatment for any health condition, some research proves it can be beneficial for a list of physical and mental diseases and illnesses. However, this article is intended for information only and you should consult your doctor before using cannabis for any health reason. 

With that disclaimer out of the way, it's important to be aware of the common misconceptions and myths that surround the use and benefits of cannabis, whether recreationally or medically. It's not legal on the federal level yet but is legal in some states, so you need to know the laws before you choose to use or not. In the meantime, read through this guide to marijuana myths so that you have the facts straight and can make an informed and educated choice regarding its use.

What is Cannabis?

Before we talk about the myths that surround cannabis, you should be familiar with what it is. Cannabis is actually not just one plant, it's a family of flowering plants and there are more than 100 species with over 100 cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the plant compounds present in cannabis. They bind to cannabinoid receptors in your brain and each of them produces some kind of effect, from hallucinogenic to euphoric to relaxation, and more. 

The two main compounds in cannabis are CBD and THC. CBD, or cannabidiol, won't get you high and usually produces feelings of relaxation and calm. It's often used to treat seizures, inflammation and chronic pain, as well as anxiety and stress.

THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the marijuana compound that produces altered perception and the psychoactive effects most commonly associated with cannabis use. It's most often a recreational choice, but also has positive benefits for increasing appetite and treating certain heart rhythm disorders. 

On the federal level, marijuana is illegal, though many states have legalized it. With that legalization comes the potential for research. As more studies are conducted on cannabis, it's becoming more widely accepted as a way to treat many mental and health problems.

Keep in mind that CBD on its own is federally legal, making it increasingly available for medicinal purposes. However, despite a fuller understanding of cannabis, there are several misconceptions that people hold onto. Dispelling those myths can help you decide of cannabis use might be right for you. 

Marijuana is a Gateway Drug

This is perhaps one of the biggest and most common myths out there. Many people mistakenly believe that cannabis consumption opens the door to using narcotics and other dangerous substances.

A host of research counteracts this claim and the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that very few cannabis users go on to experiment with harder drugs. According to medical experts, environment and individual predispositions play a bigger role in the use of narcotics and other drugs and cannabis has very little influence, if any. 

Cannabis Causes Cognitive Decline

Naturally, you understand that your cognitive function is pretty important. Some will tell you that using marijuana can interfere with your IQ score and cognition. This is simply untrue, provided you are an adult using cannabis moderately and responsibly. It is established however, that marijuana use can have a negative impact on the still-developing adolescent brain, particularly when used irresponsibly and heavily. It's best to forgo use until you are legally allowed to use it. 

It's Addictive

Many people are under the incorrect assumption that marijuana is a highly addictive substance, another myth that pervades the community of non-users. While some individuals may become dependent on cannabis, the risk of addiction is quite low when compared to substance use disorders based on harder substances, such as alcohol, opioids, and nicotine. Very few marijuana users experience withdrawal symptoms, but when they occur, these symptoms are generally much milder than those seen with withdrawal from other recreational substances. 

Every Strain Works the Same

One of the biggest misconceptions about marijuana is that all strains of cannabis plants are the same. This is patently untrue because the composition of chemical compounds differs between strains and knowing the difference can help you choose the right product for your marijuana goals.

Whether you use recreational marijuana for its psychoactive effects or you use medicinal cannabis for its health and therapeutic benefits, it's best to know your options.

In general, sativa strains are great for boosting energy and creativity, while indica strains are better for relaxation and stress relief. Part of being a responsible cannabis user is knowing what strains and cannabis products best suit you.

It's Only Smokable

If your image of marijuana use is the classic lazy stoner sitting with a lit joint in his hand, you have fallen prey to one of the many cannabis myths. While smoking marijuana is one of the easiest ways to achieve the high you're looking for, it's certainly not the only one.

You can also vape, eat edibles, use tinctures and topicals, as well as concentrates. Each product offers a different potency, longevity and onset time, so you have loads of options when it comes to taking advantage of the array of therapeutic benefits, medicinal benefits or simple high offered by cannabis. 

Legality Promotes Use by All Ages

Like alcohol and cigarettes, there is a legal age limit required to purchase and use marijuana. While it's accepted that some younger people will find ways to get around this, in general, statistics show that because there's no unrestricted access, there's more control over who can buy and use cannabis.

Many laws in place help control usage, including age limits, packaging, age verification and restrictions on how much can be purchased at one time. This helps cut down on illegal usage and makes cannabis use safer. 

Medical Marijuana Allows for More Teen Usage

Many people fall prey to the cannabis myth that medical marijuana increases teen usage. Federal restrictions are in place for this reason. However, statistics from states that have legalized medical marijuana dispute this idea. Because of restrictions on use, data shows that teen usage has decreased. 

Legalization Increases Crime Rates

When formerly illegal drugs are legalized, many assume that crime rates will increase as a result. However, in states that have legalized marijuana, data indicates no rise in property or violent crimes. That includes states that have legalized cannabis as a recreational drug, as well as those that have legalized it for medical patients. In reality, legalizing marijuana allows police officers and other law enforcement officials to focus on other crimes.

Marijuana Isn't Therapeutic

There's a certain degree of stigma that marijuana carries and one of the most prevalent misconceptions is that it has no potential benefits. However, numerous studies have found that many of the compounds found in cannabis plants including THC and CBD, have an array of uses, both for mental and physical conditions, including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and chronic pain relief. It has also been found to provide relief for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. 

If you're considering using marijuana for your health, be sure you work with a qualified healthcare provider so you can safely add it to your treatment plan. 

It's Safe to Use

While there are quite a few potential benefits of using cannabis, one of the myths about marijuana that is gaining traction is that it's completely safe. While it does come from a plant and isn't filled with the chemicals used to make many illicit drugs, there are still some safety concerns to keep in mind.

All people react differently to cannabis, depending on the strain, the potency and the person's makeup. Beginners may notice more negative effects than seasoned users and misusing the drug in any capacity can lead to negative consequences. For that reason, it's vital to do your research and be well-informed before it becomes part of your routine. 

In Summary

Debunking myths surrounding marijuana and its use is important, particularly in places where it's legal. This helps users understand what to expect and how to choose the product that suits their needs. The use of cannabis is predicted to continue rising, as it has benefits for a broad range of conditions. It's up to you, the consumer, to be educated and knowledgeable so you can use it responsibly. 

Always buy from a reputable retailer/dispensary. DC Collective offers a range of cannabis products in a safe and secure environment you can pick up in store or have delivered to your home. 

January 12, 2024

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