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Marijuana Facts and Myths: Legislation Advocates Debunk Pot Risks

By    |   Monday, 30 Mar 2015 02:04 PM

Proponents and opponents of the drug debate marijuana facts and myths. They argue about the effects it has on the body and the brain, as well as the positive or negative consequences that come from regular usage. They each back up their marijuana facts and myths with studies, which are then refuted by the other side with more studies.

Here are some of the key arguments that have occurred in this ongoing battle.

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Brain activity

Those against marijuana bring up studies that show brain activity is hampered by pot use. But a study from The Journal of Neuroscience refutes that as a myth and claims that the brain’s structure remains unchanged after usage.

Their research found there was no major difference in brain structure between marijuana users and those who do not use. Those findings countered a story in the same journal, which linked changes in adolescent brain structure to marijuana use.

Lung Function and Marijuana

The brain is not the only battleground between those wanting to legalize and those wanting to keep the ban in place. The American Lung Association claims that marijuana puts four times more tar into a smoker’s lungs as opposed to regular cigarettes.

But is that overblown? A 2012 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that most users would not suffer lung damage and, in some cases, lung function actually improved with marijuana use. 

A gateway drug

Another pro-legalization lobby, the Marijuana Policy Project, has a myth and reality section on its website dedicated to weeding out what it calls myths from facts. Among the myths it attempts to shatter is that marijuana is a “gateway” to harder drugs, that the risks of medicinal use are offset by the damage done, and that there is no proof of pot’s healing power.

It fights back with studies from various sources that show marijuana is not likely to be a gateway, and medical marijuana in particular is less addictive than doctor-prescribed drugs. Another report showed that marijuana could provide medical relief, while an additional one revealed that marijuana use does not lead to lung cancer.

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The benefits of marijuana

NORML also has a series of press releases on its site, including those that point out that marijuana risks have been overestimated while those with alcohol have been played down too much. There are other findings that show marijuana can help with post-traumatic stress disorder and alleviate the dangers of bladder cancer.

But while the sides fight over whether marijuana causes damage to the body, NORML also posted a study showing that drivers with marijuana in their system are no more likely to be involved in car crashes than those without a trace. That study refuted a National Institute on Drug Abuse finding that marijuana users were twice as likely to be involved in crashes.

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Proponents and opponents of the drug debate marijuana facts and myths. They argue about the effects it has on the body and the brain, as well as the positive or negative consequences that come from regular usage.
marijuana, facts, myths, risks
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2015-04-30
Monday, 30 Mar 2015 02:04 PM
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