Yo whaddup, the purpose of this thread is to look at all of the myths that are floating around in society today used as evidence that cannabis poses negative health risks, and also to examine the real facts, not just the propaganda of cannabis.
Myth: Smoking cannabis kills brain cells
This is one of the cards that opponents of cannabis always like to pull, and it is a complete lie. The supposed "scientific basis" behind this myth is complete hogwash. In 1974, Dr. Robert G. Heath reported that he had found evidence that smoking cannabis killed brain cells as a result of his testing on monkeys. What he didn't report is that his method of testing the monkeys is what actually caused the brain cell death. Heath claimed that he gave the monkeys the equivalent of 30 joints per day, but he lied. He strapped the monkeys into chairs with air-tight plastic boxes over their heads, and pumped the equivalent of 63 joints in five minutes into the air-tight box each day for three months. Since the box was air tight, the carbon monoxide from the smoke was not able to escape, so he was basically suffocating the monkeys. The brain cells that were killed as a result of the carbon monoxide poisoning were attributed directly to the cannabis. There is no actual reliable scientific evidence that suggests that cannabis kills brain cells.
Does Marijuana Really Kill Brain Cells?, Page 2 of 2 - Associated Content from Yahoo! - associatedcontent.com
Myth: Long-term use of cannabis causes lung cancer, and cannabis is more damaging to the lungs than tobacco
This is another myth that gets tossed around a lot, and of course it has almost no scientific basis. When a person hears that marijuana contains over 400 chemicals, they assume that that means it is harmful to smoke. In reality, every organic compound is made up of chemicals, so this is nothing special. Since cannabis smoke has more carcinogens that tobacco smoke, people automatically conclude that it poses a greater risk of causing lung cancer. But that is flawed logic, especially when you take into account the fact that there has not been a single recorded case of lung cancer or emphysema from a cannabis only smoker in the history of time.
Myth: Cannabis is addictive
We've all heard it before, and like the other myths, it is false. A daily cannabis smoker can go cold turkey and face no physical withdrawal symptoms whatsoever. The reasoning behind this myth is that there are more people in rehabilitation clinics than all other drugs combined, but what you do not hear is that the majority of those people in clinics are forced to go there as a result of their agreement in their Diversion or Probation program that they enroll into after being charged with possession. Sure, a daily smoker might be a little cranky if he just stops smoking altogether, but that does not signal a physical addiction.
Myth: Cannabis is a gateway drug
This whole 'gateway drug' concept is completely flawed. More people try cannabis than any other drug, so ask a heroin or meth addict if they tried cannabis before they went on to the harder drugs, and naturally they will say yes. Ask an alcoholic if he drank milk before he moved on to beer and hard liquor, and he will say yes. Ask a prostitute if she tried kissing before she moved on to sex, and she (or maybe he) will say yes. I think you get the point. If anything, cannabis being illegal is the gateway to harder drugs, not cannabis itself. Since stoners need to buy their weed through drug dealers, many of those dealers sell more than just weed, so one day he might say "Yo, you like chronic? This shits 60X stronger and lasts twice as long", and before you know it, you'll be buying crack instead of weed. If cannabis was regulated and sold in legitimate dispensaries, you would not be offered crack or other hard drugs. Another flaw in this theory is the Scheduling of drugs, cannabis is a Schedule I drug along with meth and heroin. However some of the harder drugs that people claim cannabis use leads to are Scheduled beneath cannabis, meaning that smoking weed leads to using less hard drugs? Obviously cannabis should be way at the bottom of the list, caffeine kills more people than smoking weed.
Myth: Cannabis makes people lazy
If a person is lazy, they are lazy. Using cannabis as an excuse for your laziness is just plain ignorant and wrong. Many people smoke cannabis daily and have successful careers and a family, so why not argue that cannabis makes you productive? Just because some people that sit at home all day doing nothing decided to spend that wasted time smoking cannabis does not mean the cannabis is what caused the laziness in the first place. In fact:
Myth: Cannabis has no medicinal valueAmong working adults, marijuana users tend to earn higher wages than non-users. College students who use marijuana have the same grades as nonusers. Among high school students, heavy use is associated with school failure, but school failure usually comes first.
This is one of the most blatant lies that opponents of cannabis like to throw in people's faces. In fact there are so many medicinal values, that I could make a thread entirely about that. Just to brush over the plethora of medicinal uses though, cannabis slows AIDS wasting, reduces nausea as a result of chemotherapy, stimulates appetites in anorexics, reduces intra-ocular pressure in glaucoma, reduces muscle spasicity in MS, helps to relieve chronic pain, allows insomniacs to sleep (usually the indica strains), and in certain cases and doses has been known to fight and cure cancer (not all the time though).
Source: Marijuana as Medicine?: The Science Beyond the Controversy
Myth: You can overdose on cannabis and die
I'm sure after reading the previous myths, you can deduce for yourself that this is also a lie. There has not been a single recorded death from cannabis overdose in the history of time, since it's first recorded use around 2500BC in China. It would take the equivalent of smoking 15,000 joints in 15-20 minutes to overdose from cannabis, which is impossible to do.
Source: Marijuana as Medicine?: The Science Beyond the Controversy
Myth: Cannabis causes short term memory loss
OK, score 1 for opponents of cannabis. This is true.
So let's review: It is physically impossible to overdose on cannabis, cannabis does not kill brain cells or cause lung cancer, it is not a gateway drug, it is not physically addictive, it has countless medicinal uses dating back to ancient China, but it does cause short term memory loss.
Tobacco and alcohol combined kill HALF A MILLION people every year, and they are legal. But, since cannabis' only real harmful effect is that it causes short term memory loss, that is reason enough to fund an impossible to win War on Drugs. An estimated $500 BILLION has been spent fighting the War on Drugs, at an average of $40 billion per year. It is a war that several presidents have admitted cannot be won, yet we continue to spend taxpayer money to fund it. Sure, not all of that money is spent solely on fighting cannabis, but it is the most widely used "illicit drug" in the world, so common sense tells us that the majority of that money is spent fighting cannabis use. If the government really cared about people and their safety like they claim to as their backing for the War on Drugs, they would make tobacco and alcohol illegal, and legalize/decriminalize cannabis, but instead it remains illegal although it is one of the least harmful things known to mankind. Even pregnant women can smoke cannabis safely without danger of damaging the fetus in any way.
I hope that this thread has helped to open your eyes on the more popular myths about cannabis that are thrown around nowadays, and feel free to post any harmful/negative effects that you feel cannabis poses to the human body. Seeing as how this is a mostly stoner forum, I doubt many people on here believe those myths anyway.
Also, a question many of you are probably asking yourselves is "Why do you call it cannabis instead of marijuana?" Well, the word marijuana comes from the Mexican word "marihuana", which means intoxicating plant. This name was given to the cannabis plant to help add to the propaganda at the time that it was made illegal, and this association at that time gave it a negative, racist connotation, as if Reefer Madness didn't make it look bad enough already.