Myth # 1: Marijuana is natural and safe
Truth: Marijuana contains up to 70 percent more irritants and carcinogens than tobacco smoke. There are a number of acute, persistent and long term health risks related to marijuana use. Acute risks (present during intoxication) include impairment of: short term memory, attention/judgment, concentration, balance and coordination. While intoxicated, individuals may also experience increased heart rate. A relationship between development of psychotic episodes and smoking marijuana has also been found. Difficulty sleeping and problems with memory and learning are results of marijuana use that may not be permanent but are known to last longer than the period of time intoxicated. Long term affects associated with chronic abuse include risk of addiction, increased risk for chronic respiratory illness, increased risk of schizophrenia, increased risk of mental health symptoms (anxiety, depression, lack of motivation).
Myth #2: The majority of (FSU) college students use marijuana
Truth: According to survey data, only 23.9% of FSU students use marijuana at least once a month. 76.1% of students at FSU do not use marijuana at all in a typical month.
Myth #3: The marijuana today is the same marijuana from Woodstock days
Truth: Studies have shown that the THC (main active ingredient in marijuana) content in confiscated marijuana has been steadily increasing over the last 30 years. In short, today’s marijuana is more potent. The effects on the brain and body when exposed to higher concentrations of THC are not yet known.
Myth #4: Marijuana enhances artistic performance
Truth: Marijuana (THC) artificially stimulates the amygdala, which is the novelty center of the brain. This stimulation makes even mundane objects seem very interesting, so even below average artistic performances seem extraordinary to a smoker. As the amygdala is continually bombarded with THC, the receptors in this part of the brain react to the overstimulation by retracting into the cell membrane and becoming inactive. If marijuana is used chronically, the receptors can be reduced by up to 70%. When this down regulation occurs, and a person stops using, even things that are truly novel may not have “freshness” and everything becomes very boring. It takes approximately two weeks for this area of the brain to recover after one stops using marijuana (four to six weeks or longer for very heavy users).
Myth #5: Marijuana use doesn’t impair driving
Truth: Marijuana impairs judgment, motor control, and slows reaction time – all vital functions for safe driving. Even if you don’t feel “drunk” your reaction time when high might be too slow to respond to another driver’s error.
Myth #5: Marijuana is a good treatment for ADHD
Truth: Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a biological disorder that can only be diagnosed by a medical or psychological professional. According to a report entitled Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, released in 1999, and commissioned by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, marijuana has some medical uses including pain modulation, nausea control, and anxiety reduction. However, no report was made regarding use of marijuana as a treatment for ADHD. In addition, there are medications that have been demonstrated to be very effective in treating ADHD. If you suspect you have ADHD, please speak to a medical professional.