Here at DabConnection, we are naturally champions for legalizing and normalizing cannabis usage. But of course, weed culture does bring with it a modicum of responsibility. Remember, in the days before cannabis legalization, we stoners were pledging how responsibly we would behave if legalization went through.
So, while the myths about weed outside the stoner camp are still a far larger problem than within, we do still see a call for moderating our own ranks. If you’re a stoner, a medical marijuana user, or just an ally of same, and you find yourself repeating any of these myths, please check your information and stop it. Misinformation about cannabis doesn’t do anyone any favors, even if it’s in advocacy of cannabis.
[Myth 1.] Weed Isn’t Addicting
When people say this, they should be qualifying it as “it isn’t physically addicting.” That is, unlike drugs like heroin or nicotine or even alcohol, abstaining from THC after prolonged usage does not produce physical withdrawal symptoms.
But let’s knock it off. OF COURSE, weed is addicting! People can get addicted to anything, even non-chemical habits like gambling, video games, social media, and porn. You might have a psychological addiction to cannabis if you find yourself unable to deal with the stresses of life without a hit first. Anything that you are dependent upon to make it through the day is an addiction; cannabis is no different.
Since I am a heavy user, partly for professional reasons, I can also see some signs in myself of a cannabis dependency. For instance, I notice if I abstain for two days, I find that I’m more prone to slight irritability over trivial annoyances. This appears to be a result of my getting so used to being stoned all the time that I’m used to having that chemical buffer keeping me mellow – without it, I have to raw-dog life and re-discover how easily some minor peeve gets under my skin. It’s not serious, like withdrawal symptoms from other substances are, and I’m back to normal after another day of abstinence, but it’s still there.
[Myth 2.] You Can’t Overdose On Cannabinoids
Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a cannabis overdose. It may be non-lethal, but symptoms of a weed overdose include nausea, vomiting, panic attacks, poor coordination, mental confusion, and even hallucinations. If you’re a heavy stoner, you’ve likely overdosed without even realizing it. In my professional capacity as a reviewer of cannabis products, as well as being a regular user, I am certain that I have overdosed a time or two.
This point deserves underlining now that we’re producing all these candy-gummy-infused cannabis products that can appeal to children. There have already been incidents where toddler-age children have gotten into the adult’s edibles. Even if it’s not lethal, it’s still damned unpleasant and can have long-reaching consequences. Let’s just say “better safe than sorry” and keep the weed goodies out of the reach of children, just as we would alcohol and tobacco.
[Myth 3.] Weed Doesn’t Give You a Hangover
This statement is often made in comparison to alcohol. While an alcohol hangover has different symptoms, cannabis has its own kind of hangover. In fact, anything you feel the next morning after partying on any substance counts as a hangover.
In both my experience and reports I read from others, a cannabis hangover is a foggy mental state, accompanied by tiredness, sluggishness, dehydration, and headache. It clears away about an hour after waking, and my usual cup of morning espresso wipes that out even faster.
[Myth 4.] It’s OK To Drive Stoned
It is true that weed doesn’t seem to be as debilitating as many other psychoactive substances, but let’s not fool ourselves either. You can get so baked that you’re not safe to drive. Marijuana effects include impairment of coordination, concentration, memory, and judgment. There is indeed a correlation between legalized weed and increased traffic incidents, especially when mixed with other substances like alcohol. Why take the chance?
Luckily, cannabis doesn’t seem to make people as foolhardy and confident as alcohol, so I do see where most stoners exhibit caution in not driving while high. That’s great, keep it up! Besides, you don’t really want to go places stoned; you want to be a couch critter with snacks and video games.
[Myth 5.] You Can Use Weed Every Day With No Problem
Yet we stoners regularly bandy about the term “tolerance break.” So we see that the first problem with using weed every day is that it decreases the effectiveness of weed. Listen, I’m a hardcore stoner over here, but even I take a day off the stuff occasionally. Everybody should, not just to manage tolerance, but in the interest of leading a sane, non-dependent lifestyle. The worst path of weed abuse is the stoner who tries to stay stoned all day every day. Try that for a week, and you will feel like weed stopped being any fun at all, and has no more effect on you after a while than if you were popping a multivitamin.
Not only is this a problem because you’re spending money on weed that isn’t hitting the same anymore, but it’s also an issue with your body’s health. Cannabis works by plugging into the endocannabinoid system, which is also responsible for regulating many bodily functions. Heavy overuse of cannabis can cause cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. Even though that’s a rare condition, it does go to show that it’s possible to wreck your endocannabinoid system to the point of irreparable damage to your body.
Seriously, folks, anything you do in excess can be a problem. Even water can kill you if you drink too much at once, which is why sports drinks with added electrolytes exist. Like anything else, you can overdo weed. Cannabis should be treated as a delightful refreshment after you’ve tended to the day’s tasks, or only for occasional all-day use on your day off, part of a healthy and productive lifestyle. Seek balance in all things, that is the way to a happier life.
A Word About Modern Potency
We should also be aware, even though there has never been a recorded death attributable to cannabis in the history of cannabis use, that much of that history has occurred during a time when cannabis was just a half-cultivated plant you smoked. Only in the past few decades, with the advent of legalization, have we taken to pulling crazy stunts like isolating one altcan and stuffing 1000MG of it into a distillate cartridge and vaping it. Even that hasn’t killed anybody directly – yet!
But we are in a pioneering phase of new cannabinoid discoveries. We are all playing with new and experimental ways to consume cannabis that nobody ever tried before. As history has shown, we have a distressing habit of trying something for forty years and then discovering, whoops, this has long-term consequences we never could have guessed. I am predicting that it is likely, given the hundreds of possible cannabinoid/isomer/acetate/terpene combinations, that we will eventually uncover some formulation that is more harmful than the natural state of the plant as she grows and smokes.
It is also true that modern cultivation produces stronger weed, nobody argues that. However, that fact has given rise to the idea that “Old people should be more careful smoking weed from a dispensary because it’s more potent than what they used to smoke.” And yes, since I run around sporting a long white goatee that has become my trademark, I am occasionally amused to see the looks of concern among Gen-Z when I leave the dispensary after buying enough weed to tranquilize an elephant. However, you kids are missing a point here: We old folks are being more careful with the dosage because we’re getting high in a few bong rips whereas before we had to smoke some four blunts just to feel anything. The weed was weaker then; so we just did more of it in one sitting.
Regardless, everybody should approach the modern cannabis scene at their own pace. The regular D9THC weed is more potent, but the harsh, isolated cannabinoids we’re putting into vape cartridges and edibles are also several times the potency of that same cannabinoid found in regular weed.
As always, apply some common sense. Readers, share the weed myths you’ve encountered within stoner culture here in the comments or in our hotboxed forum.