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Marijuana: Myth vs. Fact

Each month we bring up educational topics in our class wellness sessions such as decision making, alcohol, and social media to share with all grades, 9-12. With the juniors and seniors, we recently focused on marijuana. Because some states are legalizing medical marijuana use and others are moving to full legalization, we thought it was a good time to have a discussion on the facts, myths, and realities of “weed.”

As we started talking, it became clear that while students knew some facts, many were still clinging to old myths. So we wanted to take this opportunity to share some marijuana myths and facts from the National Drug Institute, the Drug Policy Alliance, and Medicine.net with you:

Myth: Marijuana is a depressant.
Fact: Marijuana is both a depressant and a hallucinogen. Like alcohol it lowers neurotransmission levels and reduces arousal and stimulation. As a hallucinogen, marijuana increases sensitivity to light and sound and can alter the senses such as increasing appetite. Other effects include decreased memory, a feeling of disinhibition, and impaired body movement or slower reflexes.

Myth: Marijuana is a gateway drug.
Fact: Research has shown that statistics don’t back up that statement. What we do know, however, is that regular marijuana use can place teens in a position to be in contact with harder drugs. And having used marijuana it may be an easier decision to try other drugs.

Myth: Marijuana smoke is not dangerous.
Fact: While marijuana smoke is not as carcinogenic as nicotine, regular marijuana use can lead to lung disease and difficulty with breathing.

Myth: Marijuana is not addictive.
Fact: Nine percent of regular marijuana users become addicted.

Myth: Marijuana is harmless.
Fact: While on average alcohol has higher rates of accidents and the possibility of death due to poisoning, marijuana’s diminishing of reflexes makes driving while using and/or high very risky. In addition, long-term use can lead to lowered sperm rates and depression.

Marje Monroe
Director of Wellness