Essence Blog

Cannabis Mythbusters, Part 1: 3 Myths About Cannabis Debunked

How many times have you heard someone say, “Cannabis is a gateway drug?”

More times that you can probably count, right?

Here’s the problem with myths and made-up facts:

The more we hear them, the more powerful they become.

The fact that the federal government still denies the medicinal value of cannabis is a perfect example of this.

In the age of “fake news,” it’s important that we question and cross-check the information we receive so that we can separate the good from the bad.

In this post, we’re going to debunk 3 popular myths about cannabis. Let’s get started!

1. Cannabis Has No Medical Benefit

That’s according to the federal government, which is why cannabis has been classified as a Schedule 1 drug, right along with heroin.

For years, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta agreed with this sentiment.

That is…until he started doing research on his own.

Dr. Gupta found the original 1970 letter, written by Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Roger O. Egeburg, which recommended cannabis be classified as a Schedule 1 substance.

The reasoning at the time was that there wasn’t enough evidence supporting cannabis’s proposed medicinal value — NOT because there was actual hard evidence showing it was dangerous and without medical merit.

That letter was written back in 1970. We’ve learned a lot since then. Check out Business Insider’s list of 23 benefits of medical cannabis, each one linked to an actual medical study/report.

2. Cannabis is a Gateway Drug

You know how the story goes. Unsuspecting youths start smoking cannabis. Next thing you know, they move on to heavier drugs.

Ummmmmmm…no.

There is zero evidence that cannabis use is a direct gateway to harder drugs. On the contrary:

  • Tobacco and alcohol are more likely to cause the “gateway drug” effect than cannabis.
  • Making cannabis illegal increases the likelihood that people who try to buy it will be exposed to more dangerous drugs. If people are forced to go to the black market for cannabis, there’s a good chance they’ll encounter a dealer who also sells harder, more addictive substances. Legalizing cannabis eliminates that threat.

3. Legalizing Cannabis Means More Teenagers Will Use It

Anti-cannabis activists love this argument: “Legalized cannabis sends a message to our youths that it’s okay to use.”

But CBS News published a report saying that, since medical cannabis was legalized in California in 1996, there has been no evidence of a spike in teen cannabis use.

In fact, legalizing cannabis could make it harder for teens to access the plant.

The black market won’t card you. So getting access to black market cannabis is ultimately about having the right connection.

If the legal cannabis market succeeds at driving the black market out of business, the only remaining source of cannabis would be dispensaries. And it would be extremely difficult for teenagers to bypass a dispensary’s photo ID and age requirement – definitely more difficult than if they were trying to buy alcohol.

With legalizaton comes regulation, and regulation means putting rules in place so that society can use and enjoy cannabis in a safe and responsible manner.

What cannabis myths should we cover in Part 2 of this blog series? Post your suggestions on our Facebook page!

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