Cannabis is perhaps the world’s most misunderstood crop. Surrounded by emotion and misinformation, we are deprived of its benefits while we jail hundreds of thousands merely for possessing it. In addition to setting the record straight and removing the lies, the true facts about cannabis will allow reason to prevail - increasing access, allowing its use as a true medicine, and causing the cessation of widespread and unjust incarceration.
So here are the facts:
Marijuana is NOT a gateway drug.
The fact is most marijuana users never use any other illegal drug. It is crooked logic to suggest that people addicted to cocaine or heroin started by using marijuana. Marijuana is the most easily accessible and therefore logic would dictate that people using “heavier” drugs also used marijuana. This does not alter the fact that the overwhelming majority of people who have smoked marijuana have never used cocaine or heroin.
The evidence demonstrating marijuana’s medicinal benefits is irrefutable.
The opponents of medical marijuana try to suggest that there is no evidence that marijuana has medicinal benefits. This is just plain wrong. The vast majority of the medical research conducted on marijuana proves beyond all reasonable doubt that marijuana is useful for a wide range of pathologies.
Marijuana’s medicinal benefits have been the subject of peer-reviewed controlled studies for decades. The evidence shows marijuana’s positive effects oncancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), epilepsy, Crohn’s Disease, and glaucoma.
It’s science. It’s fact. Marijuana has medicinal benefits.
Legal medical marijuana does NOT lead to an increase in marijuana use among teens.
The fact is that studies, including one by the Institute of Medicine, show that in states where medical marijuana is legal, youth use of marijuana has decreased not increased. The decrease is being assigned to the diminishing “forbidden fruit” effect and a decrease in the availability of street sold marijuana (now sold legally in dispensaries).
Marijuana does NOT cause long-term cognitive impairment.
It has been claimed by legalization opponents that marijuana use can cause long-term cognitive impairment. There is no evidence to demonstrate this as true. In fact, most studies show that any effects marijuana has on adults are short-term and last only for the duration of the intoxication.
Marijuana use does NOT contribute substantially to traffic accidents and fatalities.
Certainly marijuana use does not cause more traffic accidents and fatalities than alcohol, and quite possible less than many legal medications. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise. However, it is true that marijuana affects perception and psychomotor performance, and therefore public education about the safe use of marijuana is warranted. The only way education can be introduced is if marijuana use is legalized.
In fact, most of the negative consequences of marijuana use – the illegal sale, the illegal possession, the illegal use, the uncontrolled use, the risk of teen use – all stem from it being illegal. With regulation and a responsible, reliable industry controlling marijuana all these concerns can be managed and reduced – and ultimately eradicated.