Drug consumption is surrounded by myths and misinformation more than probably any other topic. The strangest thing is that even people who already consume them sometimes still believe in some of the absolutely silliest stories and legends.
Of course, substance consumption is associated with a powerful emotional effect, and it opens a totally different way of perceiving things around us and a unique way of behaving. It is obvious that new things can scare people or lead to some hypotheses that are based on the information that is less than factual.
Let us have a look at some of the myths and misconceptions that still circle in our society.
There are only a few drugs that lead to a fast development of addiction, but most of the substances do not have this kind of effect on the human body. But even if we talk about heroin, you will not become addicted to it after the first try. In fact, only 23% of individuals who have ever tried heroin became dependent on it. The number is still high, but it shows that trying or consuming drugs does not necessarily mean growing addictive. For instance, you can compare it to tobacco, where 32% of those who have ever tried it, become dependent.
Drug addiction is a complex state that involves a number of significant changes in the human body and behavior:
One can be considered addicted to drugs only if they show several of these symptoms. If a person uses, for instance, marijuana only for relaxing with friends at occasional parties and does not feel the need for it on other days, there are no reasons to worry about them being addicted. Consuming and being addicted is not the same.
Some of the consumers start to panic when they notice their lovely Persian cat or chihuahua licked some of the pot stash. They see their pet behaving strangely and think that they have poisoned their lovely little friend, and soon it is going to die.
Relax, guys. Animals react pretty much like us, humans, to THC and CBD. The effect depends, of course, on how much your pet consumed, how heavy your cat or dog is, and how strong the weed was. Since pets are usually much smaller than an average man, they also require much less of pot to experience euphoria. It means that animals can overdose, but in any case, it is not forever, and it does not mean fatal consequences.
THC and CBD compounds have the same effect on the animal body and mind. This is why studies are conducted on animals as well (mostly rats). And that also means that pets experience the same positive effects of marijuana, such as pain relief or stress alleviation. On the weed market, you can even find some products created specifically for dogs and cats.
But just to be safe, you had better keep your stash in the places where your fluffy friends cannot reach it.
There is a myth circulating in the media that the consumption of LSD is fatal for your brain, and if you take it once or twice, you will get a one-way ticket to the loony bin.
We can suppose that this misinformation comes out of the fact that the impact of LSD is unpredictable. It can have drastically different effects on two people even if the rest of the conditions (amount of LSD, body weight, age of the user, surroundings) are the same. The effects can vary from euphoria to panic attacks, from numbness of the skin to super sensitivity, from hallucinations to none of the symptoms at all.
Another thing is that LSD can trigger the mental disorders that a person already has. It does not mean that an absolutely healthy person will get schizophrenia after consuming LSD, it means that people who already suffer from a mental illness are likely to have so-called “bad trips.”
There is a stereotype that people who use drugs are always easy to spot. A typical user should:
However, statistics show an absolutely different picture. According to the report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heroin use is more popular among:
If we are talking about a drug consumer, it can be pretty much anyone. And you will probably be able to notice it only when the consumption becomes an addiction.
This is a nice story for making your kids not trust strangers. However, there are no reports of a single occasion about children consuming Halloween pot-infused sweets. This myth may be connected to the fact that some marijuana products indeed look like a pastry or candy that any kid would like to eat. However, there is no one who would sell such a thing to a kid in any dispensary, and people who buy them are usually getting them for their own consumption. Most of these people have their own kids, so the idea to feed someone else's children weed-infused food is very fallible. And if you are still in doubt, find anyone who has personally experienced such a situation!
This is one of the silliest city legends that was especially popular back in the 1970s, but once in a while, you can hear it today, too. It is unbelievable how many people really think that someone is willing to give drugs out for free to pretty anyone with a heartbeat. This theory usually comes hand in hand with the belief that a person becomes hard addictive after the first use.
There is probably no one among cannabis or LSD users who can remember someone unknown sharing drugs with them for free. Even if we talk about friends, they still want some money for joints or tabs. Imagining users as maniacs and monsters that want to make your kids drug-addicted at any cost comes probably from the poor provision of information about drugs to the public. If worried parents knew more, they would understand that LSD is the least likely among all the drugs to cause addiction.
It is well known that our hair and fat cells can store traces of drugs, including THC, for much longer than, for instance, urine or blood cells. And it makes people think that once you start dieting or exercising intensively, and your fat cells start to get burned, the drugs will be released, and you will get high.
On the one hand, this is a nice way to motivate you to do more sports. If you are ready to go out running every day or do a weight workout in anticipation of the “high effect,” then why not―any motivation is fine as long as it works. Eventually, you will have the chance to experience the so-called “runner's high,” which is not bad at all and can be as enjoyable as marijuana's effect.
However, we need to remark that THC will indeed be released out of your fat cells while you are losing weight, but unfortunately, in any case, it will not be enough to make you high, not to mention making you stoned. The only thing we can guarantee is that regular sports can make you slimmer and fitter, so you will be able to get a nice dosage of endorphins just from observing your reflection in the mirror. That feeling can be so strong that you can indeed confuse it with marijuana high.
You may have heard stories that smoking crack or marijuana during pregnancy can cause your children being born with Down syndrome or some mutilations. We support the point of view that pregnant women should lead ф healthy lifestyle, but it does not mean that consuming marijuana during pregnancy will change the baby. In fact, most of the mutilations, including DS, are genetic disorders, and there is no certain behavior or environmental factor that could change the risk.
There were numerous studies that tried to find the connection between consuming drugs and birth defects, but this theory did not find any support. Drugs can indeed cause some changes for the baby, but are they significant? They are not. We would like to state that smoking drugs does not make you children ill, but at the same time, it is better to avoid the use of substances unless there is a medical need. You know, just in case.
This is quite an intricate question, as indeed, the smokers who use marijuana are 104 times more likely to try cocaine, and this correlation is undoubted. However, correlation is not the same as causation. In fact, cannabis can also be a reverse-gateway drug: there are many evidences that marijuana helps drug addicts break the addiction to heavy substances easier. Some patients find cannabis really helpful in suppressing the negative effects of withdrawal after using meth or heroin. So the idea of marijuana as a gateway drug remains only a hypothesis.
While most drugs are illegal because they cause addiction, there are other substances that are absolutely legal and that can be as dangerous (if not even more) than, for instance, LSD or marijuana.
Addiction to any substance is a real problem, for both the mental and physical health of a person. But it develops only as a consequence of a regular (and usually heavy) use of a substance, that is why substances with a low risk of addiction can be as dangerous as “hard” drugs.
For instance, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the U.S., about 88,000 people die each year because of alcohol-associated issues, and more than 10,000 die because of driving drunk.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, there are more than 480,000 deaths because of tobacco use, including deaths from secondhand smoke.
So, as you can see, life indeed is full of danger, but the danger is not necessarily where the city legends tell us. It is important to provide the public with more information about all kinds of aspects of drugs so that no baseless fear disturbs us.