Marijuana is now legal for recreational use in 9 states, including Colorado, and DC and in 30 states for medical use. Polls show the stigma attached to marijuana use is declining and more Americans favor legalization or at least decriminalization. A majority of American adults say they have used marijuana at least once, and more than 20 percent have used it at least once or twice in the past year. There’s little doubt that marijuana use is becoming more common, but several myths about marijuana use don’t seem to be going away.
Marijuana isn’t addictive.
Many people believe you can’t become dependent on or addicted to marijuana, but it appears you actually can. However, it does appear to be less addictive than other drugs. For example, only about nine percent of people who try marijuana become addicted, compared to about 15 percent of people who try cocaine and 24 percent of people who try heroin. People who enter treatment for marijuana addiction have typically been using it daily for an average of 10 years and have made several unsuccessful attempts to quit on their own.
You can’t overdose on marijuana.
It’s true that it’s basically impossible to fatally overdose on marijuana, but you can still use too much at once. Symptoms of a marijuana overdose typically include anxiety, paranoia, dizziness, and confusion. These can be extremely unpleasant in themselves, but they may also lead to accidents and injuries.
Marijuana isn’t bad for your health.
Marijuana advocates often point out that while marijuana kills approximately zero people every year, there are more than 80,000 alcohol-related deaths every year, including more than 2000 cases of fatal alcohol poisoning, and nearly half a million deaths every year from tobacco use. While it’s true that marijuana use isn’t often fatal, it can still have negative effects on your health. In teens, it may slow brain development and it has been found to decrease adult IQ by as many as eight points. It can also cause respiratory problems, such as inflammation in the lungs, coughing, phlegm, difficulty breathing, and frequent infections. Women who use marijuana while pregnant may risk having a baby with low birth weight or developmental issues.
Marijuana is a gateway drug.
There’s a grain of truth to this myth, but the idea that using marijuana use will lead to, say, heroin addiction is misleading. Marijuana is commonly used by younger people, so younger people who use drugs often use marijuana. And early substance use increases risk of addiction later on. However, the first substance most people use by far is alcohol. A more likely explanation is that kids who are at risk for substance use are also at risk for marijuana use.
If you’re struggling with substance use, Recovery Ways can help. We offer intensive outpatient treatment as well as residential treatment. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.