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According to a recent report by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 80% of states have legalized some form of medical marijuana, and 23 have broadly legalized marijuana use for medical purposes. Four of those states, along with the District of Columbia, have also legalized marijuana for recreational use. This is the will of the people coming to fruition, despite the overwhelming obstacles set in place by the very government meant to fight for that will.
Children’s lives have been saved, cancers fought off, and more everyday are rescuing their lives from a debilitating illness due to the medical efficacy of cannabis. Yet, the opposition would have Americans see these grateful citizens as dangerous drug using criminals that are breaking the law. In the eyes of the anti-marijuana campaign, these stories of triumph over sickness are counted as a loss in the war on marijuana. There is no denying the influence this movement has had on the perception of cannabis and civil rights across the world. However, many still cling to lies that any rational minded person would have cast aside. The following are the top ten myths that a rational, open-minded and intelligent person should no longer believe; based on cold hard evidence and scientific discovery.
MYTH #1 – MARIJUANA IS MORE HARMFUL THAN CIGARETTES, ALCOHOL AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
The most important thing to point out when discussing this topic is that anything is harmful in excess. If one chooses to eat a pound of salt they would die, which is actually true. That does not make salt itself dangerous, rather the danger lies in the excessive use. Cannabis consumed in excess will have its negative effects like anything else, however the fact remains that no one has ever died from cannabis use, ever. Some will continue to shrug that statement off as a fabrication, but these articles are for those who put their faith in facts, not in preconceived prejudice.
Cigarettes – It is hard to believe that anyone would argue that cigarettes are safer than cannabis yet many sites with obvious and specific agendas continue to lie to the public. Every year almost half a million people die due to cigarettes. According to the CDC, there is an estimated 5.5 million YPLL (years of potential life lost) every year in this country due to cigarettes, and this does not include second-hand smoke. If a rational mind was to make a judgement call based on the afore-mentioned science and indisputable facts, cigarettes are quite obviously more harmful than cannabis.
Alcohol – Alcohol has become so ingrained in everyday society that the public chooses not to see it as the dangerous drug that it truly is. Many scientists believe that alcohol is more dangerous than the entirety of the Schedule I listing. Professor David Nutt was fired for even speaking the words, despite the irrefutable results proving his theory correct. In the U.S. approximately 50,000 cases of alcohol poisoning are reported annually. One patient dies each week in the U.S. from said poisoning. When compared to the zero overall death toll attributed to marijuana, it is clear that alcohol is a far more dangerous substance
Alcohol is the drug that is involved in more murders than any other drug on planet earth.” – Howard Bloom, expert on mass behavior.
Prescription Drugs – The most ridiculous hypocrisy is that of prescription drugs, which are resting comfortably in Schedules II, III and IV which allows them to be sold to the public by our very own government. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, over 100,000 deaths are caused annually due to prescription drugs. The CDC states that prescription drugs are the fastest growing cause of death in this country, naming the issue an “Epidemic.” Two-hundred and ninety people in the United States are killed by prescription drugs every day. That’s one American death every 20 minutes and yet these drugs are actively given out to adults and youth alike. According to KVTX 19, In 2010 doctors prescribed enough painkillers to give a 45mg percocet and 24 5mg vicodins to every person in the United States. With such a rising death toll, one would think the FDA would reevaluate the dangers of overdose and addiction associated with these dangerous drugs, yet prescriptions continue to rise day-to-day.
The fact that most marijuana opposition campaigns are almost fully funded by pharmaceutical companies is a tightly guarded secret known only to those concerned enough to unearth the deeply rooted conflict of interest buried at its core. This fact is only just beginning to come into light for the masses.
One should ask themselves why these billion dollar companies would waste money to fund an anti-marijuana campaign. The answer is simple: Cannabis scares them. The sad fact is that there is no money in curing, only in treating. These companies fear a medicine that cures and can be grown in one’s back yard. According to the British Medical Journal, every 1 dollar that pharmaceutical companies spend on research and development, they spend 19 dollars on promotion and marketing of their drugs. Their focus is not on what is most helpful to the public, but rather what is the most profitable. These companies are legalized drug dealers, nothing more, and yet marijuana, which has never taken a life, is illegal.
“The number of people killed each year by heroine and cocaine is tiny, TINY, just minuscule, microscopic, compared to the number killed each year by prescription drugs.” – Graham Hancock, Writer, Journalist
MYTH #2 – MARIJUANA IS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE
One of the longest standing myths about marijuana, that still continues to find its way into political debate, is the claim that the substance is highly addictive; thus explaining the Schedule I placement, or so the government would have the public believe. This is the most frequently cited perceived harm associated with marijuana today.
Can marijuana be addictive, yes, but in order to understand addiction in relation to marijuana, one must first have an understanding of the psychology behind addiction in the first place.
“People can have sex without being addicted to it, they can go shopping, but some people become seriously addicted to all these pursuits. Is a pack of cards addictive? Well no or yes depending on the individual. So it’s the same process no matter what the addiction. The only difference really is whether the substance addict is getting his dopamine from an outside substance or the behavior addict is having it triggered by outside behavior. The person that occasionally smokes marijuana, but generally has no negative consequences, it does not impair their health, it does not endanger their lives, it does not impair their personal relationship, you can’t call these people addicts and you can’t call those behaviors addictive.” – Dr. Gabor Maté, Addiction Specialist, “The Culture High”
Marijuana can be addictive in the way that anything or any action can become an addiction, and that is psychologically. There have been some recent studies that show even that type of addiction is relatively rare, having a rate of only 9% of users who regularly use cannabis. This major distinction between a chemical and a psychological addiction is abused in a political fashion to manipulate the masses who do not understand the difference. One can become psychologically addicted to anything that is abused, but that does not make everything addictive, especially not enough to be added to the Controlled Substance Listing.
A chemical addiction is one that produces the widely known physical effects of withdrawal. The body adapts to the drug, requiring more of it to achieve a certain effect (tolerance) and eliciting drug-specific physical symptoms if drug use is abruptly ceased. This is the form of addiction that the Controlled Substance List was created to impede. In comparison to physical addiction, psychological addiction occurs when a person does not have a physical need for a drug but rather a mental desire for it. There is a fundamental difference between the two that is widely disregarded when discussing the “addictive” properties of cannabis. In most cases one can be addicted to cannabis in the same fashion that one can be addicted to jogging. Obsession is not the same as addiction, especially when determining a possible restriction on that basis. The intention is not to diminish the very real effects of a psychological addiction, of which there are many, rather to demonstrate the game of misdirection used to maintain the placement of cannabis on a restrictive listing.
There have been recent studies that show some minor withdrawal symptoms associated with long-term, everyday cannabis consumers suggesting a very small percentage of chronic users do develop a chemical, albeit minor, addiction. These symptoms were relatively mild, elevated pulse, irritability and headaches, when compared to even the lowest level opiate (Schedule II). It is important to understand that these were the only negative withdrawal symptoms from a lifetime of cannabis use. One could hardly consider this withdrawal, being less intrusive than a caffeine addiction. An everyday, long-term opiate user would have an extreme and possibly deadly withdrawal.