Common Weed Lies and Misconceptions
Let’s address the elephant in the room. We all know there’s a lot of misinformation out there about cannabis. For as long as there has been a political stance on cannabis, there have been stigmas, and misconceptions. Lucky for us, there has been an even greater push by well informed scientists and researchers to debunk the misinformation since the very beginning. Thanks to these individuals, much of the lies we have been told have been discredited, as have the “scientists” who made them.
To do our part, we’ve collected a few common misconceptions about cannabis that have been thoroughly debunked, and sprinkled in a few more gentil corrections to help make you a walking pot FAQ forum. We know you’ll know most of this already, but you can send your skeptical friends here if they decide to put up a fuss about how dangerous weed is.
Here are eight misconceptions about cannabis to share with your skeptical friends and family, or even curious fellow potheads.
Cannabis causes brain cell death.
Funded by the Nixon administration in 1974, Robert Heith conducted a study on lab monkeys that supposedly reported high cannabis use killed brain cells, and could eventually lead to death. He used masks and pumped dozens of joints worth of cannabis into the money’s lungs daily for the length of the study. He concluded that cannabis caused brain cell death and led to eventual death of the user from excessive brain damage. But the monkey mask experiment was an incredibly flawed, cruel experiment using intentional suffocation tactics on monkeys in labs to induce brain cell death to tie cannabis use to brain damage in humans. The masks were air tight, not connected to any oxygen supply, and were left on until the monkeys either passed out or died of suffocation. Long story short, the man was a psychopath with a big budget that was hired to generate a result. He has since had all of his research discredited, and awards rescinded. He died several decades ago, but his lies unfortunately live on.
Holding a toke helps you get higher.
You simply don’t get higher from holding in the smoke longer. The reason for this is that the bio-availability of THC through inhalation is so pronounced that it can be absorbed almost instantly. People who hold in smoke any longer than a normal breath is likely just feeling higher from the lack of oxygen, and having alot of burned plant matter and CO2 in the lungs. So don’t hold your toaks. Remember what a lack of O2 and holding smoke in the lungs did to the unfortunate monkeys exploited by Heith.
Vaping and smoking are the same thing.
Vaping cannabis is generally much better for your lungs than smoking a joint, a pipe, a waterfall, a bong, or anything else that results from having to set plant matter on fire.
Cannabis has no medical benefit.
Up until fairly recently in Canada and some parts of the US, cannabis was listed as a Schedule I (one) drug, and remains so at the federal level in the US to this day. In case you’re not sure what Schedule (I) one means, it’s a classification of drugs that have no medical benefit or other use whatsoever. To give you even more of an idea on what that means, heroin and cocaine are considered Schedule (II) two. Are we missing something here?
You can smoke cannabis leaves and get high since they also have trichomes.
The leaves of weed plants cannot get you high. Yes, we understand there’s trichomes on the leaves that look alot like the ones on the flowers we all love to smoke. But according to Dr. Ethan Russo, a cannabis pharmacology expert from Washington state, the trichomes on the leaves make different chemicals that are better for helping the plants survive and reproduce, than they are for any benefits or intoxication effects for us humans.
Humans breeded cannabis into existence.
Cannabis did not co-evolve with humans. Species wise we’re about 600,000yrs old, and cannabis is over 60,000,000 years old, again according to Dr. Russo. That’s quite a gap for anyone thinking cannabis exists to serve us. They are what they are for reasons they originally dictated, not ones we did later on.
Eating raw cannabis flowers and leaves can get your high – a la Cheech and Chong.
Eating raw weed buds and leaves will not get you high. Without THCA being decarboxylated into active THC, the body doesn’t register the molecule as psychoactive. That’s not to say the plant phytocannabinoids aren’t active in other ways that help with our health though. For example, THCA has many of the same neuro-protective effects and calming effects of CBD. There’s years of data to dive into here, but for the sake of your curious friends, this is enough to let them know they should learn a little more about weed if they’re thinking smoking leaves is a good idea.
Cannabis causes anxiety disorders.
Weed does cause anxiety in some people – approx 9% of users experience a THC related anxiety episode when they smoke, the other 91% of people are those that report that THC is very sedative, euphoria inducing, awesomeness. If you or a friend do get anxious with smoking weed, then find a low THC (10% content or less) and high CBD (5% content or more) strain with a lemon-pine scent profile. The reason for lemon and pine is that those are terpenes associated with focus and energy. Meaning you’re less likely to get panicked and lose your concentration.
We hope you learned something interesting with there quick glances at cannabis misconceptions! If you want to dive deeper, we’ve included helpful links to source material below in our references. Make sure to visit them! They go into much more detail than we could cover here. Think of them as bonus info to impress your friends with.
Remember to visit our shop and use your new found wisdom to make some well informed choices for your next cannabis experience.
References and additional resources
Addiction Center, Next Page Does Marijuana Kill Brain Cells?, by Krystina Murray, reviewed by Theresa Parisi, 2021
Carlini EA, Karniol IG, Renault PF, Schuster CR. Effects of marihuana in laboratory animals and in man. Br J Pharmacol. 1974 Feb;50(2):299-309. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1974.tb08576.x. PMID: 4609532; PMCID: PMC1776629. Effects of marihuana in laboratory animals and in man
Slikker W Jr, Paule MG, Ali SF, Scallet AC, Bailey JR. Chronic marijuana smoke exposure in the rhesus monkey. I. Plasma cannabinoid and blood carboxyhemoglobin concentrations and clinical chemistry parameters. Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1991 Aug;17(2):321-34. doi: 10.1016/0272-0590(91)90222-p. PMID: 1684942. Chronic marijuana smoke exposure in the rhesus monkey. I. Plasma cannabinoid and blood carboxyhemoglobin concentrations and clinical chemistry parameters
Schubart CD, Boks MP, Breetvelt EJ, van Gastel WA, Groenwold RH, Ophoff RA, Sommer IE, Kahn RS. Association between cannabis and psychiatric hospitalization. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2011 May;123(5):368-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2010.01640.x. Epub 2010 Dec 28. PMID: 21198455.Association between cannabis and psychiatric hospitalization
SFU Vancouver, BC, Pharmacology of Cannabis | Ethan Russo, 2017