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In The Weeds

Our Sources

Want to learn more about the myths we’re debunking around cannabis use? Check out our sources below for further explanation.

Sources

"Cannabis isn't addictive."

Cannabis is physically and psychologically addictive. THC (del-ta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the primary mind-altering substance in cannabis. Since it passes rapidly into the bloodstream, prolonged use can permanently alter the brain’s natural tendency to balance and regulate motivation and reward. More people are now in treatment for cannabis than for all other illicit drugs combined.

Source:

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) 2021. Annual Detailed Tables. Data received through 10.18.22. 2021; Pages 74, 76. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt42795/2021-teds-annual-detailed-tables%281%29.pdf

"Cannabis is safer than alcohol."

Unlike alcohol, THC levels are not clearly labeled on a container and don’t get processed out of your body 1 oz. every hour. Instead, THC builds up in fatty tissue and, depending on how much and how often you use, it can stay in your system for many days, weeks, or months. Like alcohol, it also makes driving unsafe.

Impairment delays reaction time and distorts perceptions of space and depth. The use of cannabis has also been connected with increased risk of developing depression, schizophrenia, and worsening bipolar disorder symptoms.

Sources:

  1. Marconi A, Di Forti M, Lewis CM, Murray RM, Vassos E. Meta-analysis of the Association Between the Level of Cannabis Use and Risk of Psychosis. Schizophr Bull. 2016 Sep;42(5):1262-9. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbw003.
  2. Jefsen OH, Erlangsen A, Nordentoft M, Hjorthøj C. Cannabis Use Disorder and Subsequent Risk of Psychotic and Nonpsychotic Unipolar Depression and Bipolar Disorder. JAMA Psychiatry. 2023;80(8):803–810. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2023.1256

"Cannabis is medicine."

While THC can reduce pain and increase appetite, there are already THC- derived medications for both (Sativex/Marinol). These are not in their raw form; they have controlled doses and go through FDA testing. Like tobacco smoke, cannabis smoke contains hundreds of chemicals and is an irritant to the throat and lungs.

Cannabis cannot be prescribed by a doctor (simply recommended). The medical organizations that treat diseases in which there are claims to benefit are not in support of decriminalization or legalization, like:

  • The American Medical Association
  • American Cancer Society
  • The American Glaucoma Society

Source:

Is marijuana safe and effective as medicine?. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-safe-effective-medicine. April 13, 2021.

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