The earliest evidence of human cannabis consumption dates back over 2500 years. This powerful plant has been used for everything from burial rituals in ancient Chinese tombs to relieving joint pain for colonial-era farmers. Yet, despite a history of beneficial use spanning thousands of years, the United States effectively banned cannabis in the 1930s, triggering a dark age of propaganda, persecution, and incarceration. When you combine the effects of propaganda with a lack of scientific research, myths and misinformation run rampant. It's time to set the record straight, debunk the dark age myths about marijuana, and plant some beautiful sun-grown truth in the light of this new era.

Where Do CannaMyths Come From?

As we emerge from the dark ages of prohibition, the "just say no" dogma is evolving to a "puff, puff, pass" ethos about wellness, justice, and freedom. It's a welcome change. But like the dark ages, criminalizing cannabis silenced truth, inquiry, and scientific research about this amazing plant. Therefore, CannaMyths are the offspring of propaganda, persecution, ignorance, and misinformation. They're like the Boogie Man. No one's ever seen him eat a child, but everyone's heard about him.

Harry J. Aslinger & Myths About Weed

Some of the early stories about cannabis that became CannaMyth were spun by Harry J. Aslinger with the help of trust fund newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. Aslinger served as the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department's Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930-1962. 

Throughout that time, Aslinger linked marijuana use with race and violence to create a prison industrial complex that savaged minority communities. Some of Aslinger's more vile CannaMyths include:

  • "Marijuana is the the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."
  • "You smoke a joint, and you're likely to kill your brother."

It might be funny if so many lives weren't destroyed by the lies. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law’s December 2021 issue cited two recent  studies that maintained a “positive relationship does not exist between cannabis use and violence”. Ironically, it seems to have the exact opposite effect, inducing relaxation, relieving anxiety and tension, healing, and bringing people together in community.

Reefer Madness & CannaMyths

Reefer Madness was released in 1936. In the film, teenagers are lured by evil weed dealers to try marijuana. They become addicted and descend into madness, committing manslaughter, murder, and attempted rape. This ridiculous piece of cinematic sensationalism was initially produced by a church group named "Tell Your Children" to warn parents of the danger of marijuana use. Then Dwain Esper snapped it up, renamed it "Reefer Madness," and promoted it as an exploitation film.

Film is a powerful medium. People tend to believe what they see. But Reefer Madness is nothing but CannaMyth with an agenda. And that agenda was achieved just one year later, in 1937, when the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, effectively banning cannabis nationally. 

Today, Reefer Madness is a cult classic in cannabis culture. It's a dark comedy and a prime example of a Cannamyth so bad, ridiculous, and absurd…that it's almost good.

The Controlled Substances Act & Weed Myths

In 1970, CannaMyth became federal law when President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act. Cannabis was placed on Schedule I, reserved for only those drugs considered dangerous or unsafe, with a high potential for abuse, and have no currently accepted medical use.

But Nixon's own National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse rejected that view and favored ending cannabis prohibition. Nixon ignored the recommendation, motivated to use this unjust law to persecute the Black Panthers and cripple subversive hippie culture. This CannaMyth remains the law of the land today, despite these cannabis facts:

  • There is no cannabis addiction, but there is dependence in heavy marijuana users.
  • Marijuana withdrawal is not life-threatening but can have some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
  • You can have a marijuana overdose, but it's not fatal. It's more so an extreme case of side effects.
  • Cannabis is not a gateway drug. In fact, it's been shown to reduce the use of other drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs.
  • Weed has multiple medical uses that are supported by scientific research, including the treatment of cancer, AIDS, and epilepsy.

It's essential to understand the myths and facts about weed so that you can make informed decisions about its use. Whether you consume cannabis or not, it's important to know that the myths surrounding it are just that: myths. 

However, if you develop psychosis, suffer from psychotic disorders, or have substance use issues, you should avoid using cannabis or ask your doctor about the risks. Remember, knowledge is power.

How Does Institutionalized CannaMyths Affect Public Perception?

People think nothing of having a cocktail at the end of the day to take the edge off. They even call it Happy Hour and sling it a discount. Yet alcohol is highly addictive, a major factor in domestic violence that causes cancer, and an overdose will unquestionably kill you. 

Prescription pain pills were dished out like candy for a decade, ravaging communities throughout the U.S. with opioid addiction and overdose while making the legal corporate drug dealers billions with no negative consequences. Yet somehow, weed, not Oxycontin, is still on Schedule I. And cannabis users, not corporate drug dealers, are the people we put in jail. One would think the fact that weed is far less harmful than these legal substances would change people's views on weed, but it hasn't happened for much of American society.

While we seem to be moving beyond the absurdity of Aslinger and Reefer Madness, a stigma remains, and more CannaMyths remain with them as vessels to carry it forward.

Is It True That Weed Makes You Lazy?

Who says stoners don't get things done? So while we've all heard the stereotype about that dude that's still living with Mom and stuck on the couch binging Netflix, what about this group of high achievers who get high:

  • Jay Z
  • Bill Maher
  • Joe Rogan
  • Nate and Nick Diaz
  • Rihanna
  • Carl Sagan
  • Bill Gates
  • Abraham Lincoln who's quoted as saying: "Two of my favorite things are sitting on my porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp and playing my Hohner harmonica."

Another thing to consider is that different cannabis strains have different effects. It's one of the things that makes this plant so magical. A heavy Indica may help you wind down and chill at the end of a long day. But when that alarm goes off in the morning, a sweet Sativa with a delicious cappuccino might help you start the day motivated and creative.

Is it True that Weed Kills Brain Cells?

No, no, no, no…and…ummm…no. While you might think it's why you can't find your keys, cannabis is not your problem. 

Research published in the Scientific American in 2020 titled “Marijuana May Not Lower Your IQ” cites two studies that showed no relationship between marijuana use and falling IQ. Better yet, recent research published by Frontiers in 2020 indicates that cannabis may have neuroprotective qualities. That means that it just might be good for your brain.

Clearly, pot does not make you stupid. But believing that CannaMyth just might.

Is it True that Marijuana is a Gateway Drug?

It might be a gateway to good times, but that's about as far as it goes. There is no evidence that use results in other drug use. Ironically, there is evidence that most people use alcohol before other drugs, including cannabis, making alcohol the real gateway drug.

Further, cannabis has shown some efficacy as a harm reduction strategy for those struggling with opioid addiction and alcoholism. Substituting safe cannabis for harmful narcotics or booze has helped many opioid addicts and alcoholics manage their addictions.

Is it True that Weed is Addictive?

You don't get dope sick when you stop smoking weed. You do not get potentially fatal delirium tremens like the alcoholic that goes on the wagon. You may get a bit uncomfortable quitting weed, but does that mean you have a marijuana addiction?

Addiction is a broad term that attempts to describe a person's physical and biological dependency on something and the challenge they face when trying to stop the behavior. By that definition, you could say that weed is addictive. But you could say the same thing about hand washing. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders characterizes difficulty stopping cannabis use as Marijuana Use Disorder. The severity of the disorder depends on an individual's situation. While it's true that some people struggle to stop using cannabis, labeling weed addictive and putting it in the same box as heroin or booze is pure myth.

Is it true that Legalizing Cannabis Causes Crime?

Nope. A study published by the Cato Institute in 1999 titled “Drug Legalization, Criminalization, and Harm Reduction” found that criminalizing drugs causes violent crime, and the proceeds from illicit drug sales fund organized crime. In fact, regulated, legal cannabis decreases criminality. Even our own FBI debunked this myth in their Uniform Crime Report, which stated that legal weed drops crime rates.  

Huh?

If legalizing cannabis really drops crime, why do police unions, prosecutors, and private prisons all lobby against legalizing weed? It might be because arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating non-violent cannabis users is big business. It's about getting paid. If you want to debunk this Cannamyth, follow the money.

Now That We Know the Truth About CannaMyths, How Do We Fix it?

We can't turn back the clock. What's done is done. But we can ensure that these destructive policies and stereotypes do not continue to harm our society. To make this happen, three things must be done to change the policies and heal the wounds:

Every non-violent cannabis offender must be released from prison

Cannabis policies are worse than flawed and fraudulent. The war on drugs is a racially motivated failed policy based on lies. It's time to end it. Likewise, it's time for an honest conversation about cannabis. We must address the myths and stereotypes used to justify prohibition and incarceration.

Take Cannabis off Schedule I

Clearly, cannabis is not dangerous, addictive, and has many medical uses. Unfortunately, keeping cannabis on Schedule I stifles medical research, making it very difficult to study this plant. We'll never know how powerful cannabis may be when our greatest minds cannot research it because of a bogus legal classification.

It's Time for Reparations

If recreational use and medical marijuana are in play, why aren't we talking about reparations? Daily users and providers are free to use and sell a plant, yet those with records for non-violent cannabis offenses are not. This is not only unfair; it's hypocritical.

The war on drugs has had a devastating effect on communities of color. It's time for those harmed by these policies to be made whole. That includes release from prison, pardons, and restitution. It also includes reinvestment in the communities that have been most harmed. Only then can we move forward with sane, evidence-based policies.

LEGALIZE IT!

The Importance of Cannabis Education

Every single Cannamyth, no matter the source, exists because of motivated misinformation, sensationalized propaganda, or a simple lack of knowledge or information. Cannabis Education is one solution to this problem. Critical thinking is another. 

Our society is radically polarized. Everyone lives in their own echo chamber perpetuated by their social media feeds. It's like William Randolph Hearst is running Facebook in 2022. Names change, but the game remains the same. 

If you really want the truth about cannabis, or anything else, step outside your echo chamber and into the world:

  • Question everything.
  • Consider the source.
  • Read and research about it.
  • Read opinions from every side.
  • Look for the motive.
  • Drop your confirmation bias.
  • Talk less. Listen more. Really listen.
  • Engage in friendly, curious dialogue with people who have different opinions.

With an open mind and a willingness to learn, the truth will find you. And when it comes to cannabis, the truth is that this plant has the potential to do a lot of good for a lot of people. It's time to stop myths and start facts. It's time for legalization!

Ask Airfield Supply Co.

If you still have questions, Airfield Supply Co has the answers. We believe that sharing cannabis knowledge is one of the best vehicles for change. It doesn't matter who you are or how much you know about marijuana, Airfield Supply Co. invites you to drop by anytime. 

We offer one of the best cannabis dispensary menus, and our Flight Attendants are trained to provide a first-class weed shopping experience. And if you can't make it to our shop, no worries, order online for discrete delivery. Airfield Supply Co. is the first-class ticket for all your questions about cannabis and for everyone who wants to fly high.

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