Busting the myths of cannabis

HANNAH WILLIAMS / Editor-in-Chief

Since marijuana is becoming legal for recreational use this year it is time to put some some myths to rest.
Myth number one: Marijuana doesn’t affect the chances of young people reaching their full potential. One in 15 high-school seniors now use marijuana daily, and marijuana is one of the only legal or illegal drugs that shows a five year increase in the MTF (Monitoring the future) survey of drug use. Half of the teenage population try Marijuana before they graduate, and nearly 7 percent of high-school seniors who smoke pot daily or near- daily basis are already addicted or on their way. (Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse).
Myth number two: Holland and Portugal have legalized marijuana. Even though Holland has weed haze-filled “coffee shops”, this capital has never actually legalized cannabis. There has been an official policy since 1976 of not enforcing existing laws against the possession or selling of small amounts. However, growing and importing pot is still illegal in the Netherlands. As for Portugal, they decriminalized all drugs, but that does not mean they are legalized. (Source: Cato Institute, Time).
Myth number three: Marijuana use causes cancer. It may be true that both marijuana and tobacco contain carcinogens, a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue, but the consumption amount between the two is very different with tobacco use being greater than pot use. Even though marijuana does contain this cancer-causing chemical, it also contains the chemical THC, which may kill aging cells and avoid them from becoming cancerous. Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years, suggests that pot can prevent the growth of cancerous tumors. (Source: Washington Post).
Myth number four: Marijuana use leads to dependence or addiction. As marijuana remains the most widely used illegal drug in the United States, marijuana’s dependence seems similar to other chemical dependencies it is likely to be less severe. It is possible to become dependent on marijuana, but in minor cases of heavy users. About nine percent of marijuana users become clinically dependent, as compared to 15 percent of cocaine users and 24 percent of heroin users. (National Institute of Health).

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