Marijuana Misperceptions

Marijuana Misperceptions

Misperceptions about Marijuana Top 10

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Misperceptions about Marijuana Top 10

1. Marijuana is harmless. n Associated with increased risks of mental illness, heart disease, cancer, lung disease and stroke n Contains 3-5 times the amount of carcinogens as tobacco n Emergency Room visits from marijuana side-effects are greater than all other substances combined

2. Marijuana is medicine. n Rejected for medicinal use by prominent national health organizations n Combustible leaf marijuana has no medical contribution n In medical marijuana states, less than 3% of users have cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, etc.

3. The marijuana “high” only lasts for a few hours. n A minimum of 24-hour acute impairment is standard after marijuana use n Sub-acute impairment can last a week or longer n Significant THC increases have users reporting ill-effects for days

4. Presence-in-system testing is unreliable because it does not measure impairment. n Drug testing should serve as one component of a comprehensive safe and drug-free workplace program n Testing validates the signs and symptoms of documented impaired behavior; maintaining even small amounts of THC in one’s system can cause substantial impairment n Presence-in-system testing remains the gold standard and is upheld by the courts as valid

5. Marijuana is not addictive. n Physiological dependence and withdrawal require substance abuse treatment n 1 in 10 adult marijuana users will become dependent to the point of requiring treatment n 1 in 6 adolescent marijuana users develop dependence Top Ten: Misperceptions about Marijuana

6. Marijuana can/should be regulated like alcohol. Comparisons between alcohol and marijuana regulation needs are not similar n Comparable standardized measurements do not exist for marijuana n The social costs related to alcohol abuse likewise exist with marijuana

7. Marijuana is not a gateway drug. n 2-5 times greater risk of using other drugs when marijuana is the onset drug n Frequency of marijuana use is significant with other illicit drugs of abuse and dependence n Majority of individuals seeking drug treatment list marijuana as their gateway drug

8. Marijuana is safer than cigarettes or alcohol. n Permanent damage to brain function and long-term mental health detriments are not safe n Addiction, psychosis and cognitive function loss are never “safer” n Effects of extremely high THC products found in edibles, waxes and oils are unknown

9. There are no long-term effects from marijuana use. n Cognitive decline among marijuana users does not change with adult abstinence n 17% increased risk for depression n 40% increased risk of psychotic symptoms/disorders

10. It is safer to drive with marijuana in your system. n 2-5 times increase to risk of crashes involving marijuana-impaired driving n Driving slower does not mean driving safer n Risks include: impaired cognitive function and slowed response times

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