Cannabis: Misconceptions vs. Reality

Della B.

Posted by Della B. on 06/28/2022 in Medical Marijuana

cannabis misconceptions

Cannabis sativa is one of nature’s most potent plants. Millions of people use it medicinally to manage their health issues and recreationally for relaxation. There’s a ton of historical evidence highlighting its therapeutic benefits and applications globally. Despite verifiable reports and evidence indicating otherwise, there are also contradictory claims and information. Read this to learn the truth about common cannabis misconceptions.

The Crusade for Medical Marijuana

Marijuana is a hemp plant that’s indigenous to many parts of the world. It’s quite hardy, so it can even be found and cultivated in less than ideal environments. Before modern-day pharmacology, various civilizations relied on drugs or narcotics derived from plants like opium and marijuana. According to The University of Sydney, the first written evidence of the therapeutic benefits of marijuana was found in an ancient Chinese pharmacopeia, a book on medicinal compounds. 

Even now, many conventional medications used to treat everything from acne, allergies, diabetes, high blood pressure, acute and chronic pain to even mood disorders contain plant-based substances. Although federally classified as an illegal substance in 1970, research and historical evidence show that marijuana offers many of the same benefits and more without as many side effects.

There’s tons of evidence, and proven claims from scientific and medical researchers, and cannabis patients are still regarded as a “bad thing.” There is even growing global support for marijuana legalization and decriminalization efforts to help increase awareness and dispel the myths and misinformation that have given marijuana a bad name. 

Many of the things commonly accepted by society today come with risks that are minimized or overlooked because of their benefits, such as cars, planes, pain medications, opioids, and surgery. Marijuana improves lives, and it doesn’t wear a cape, medical coat, or suit. It’s a green plant packed full of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other properties that help treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and other health symptoms¹.

cannabis misconceptions

Common Marijuana Myths & Misconceptions Debunked

Do you tend to believe everything you hear or read or do you take things with a grain of salt until you can investigate and learn the truth for yourself? Facts and truths are not always as interesting or memorable as myths and misconceptions. Don’t get us wrong, information is always good, but only if it’s practical, sensical, and verifiable. 

All too often, myths and lies are used to diminish relevance or promote propaganda. Falsehoods about the use of marijuana indirectly influence emotions  and can lead to unsavory views and behaviors regarding activities, products, or even marijuana treatments that are often more beneficial than harmful to public health. 

Though most myths are often based on reality, sometimes deciphering the truth is difficult. The wrong interpretation can quickly give way to propaganda, fear, and distrust without the facts. Many common cannabis misconceptions are barriers to the medical community and delay the research and development of medical marijuana treatments or opioid alternative medications.

Marijuana’s Psychoactive Properties Are Toxic to the Brain

Ever heard someone say cannabis makes people stupid or is toxic to the brain? Marijuana’s psychoactive properties largely influence this misconception. Historically, little was known about marijuana’s effects on the brain except that ingesting it often caused users to have slower reaction times, experience poor memory recall, and decreased cognitive performance. Despite growing evidence from the medical cannabis community and the marijuana decriminalization movement, rumors persist that cannabis is dangerous for the brain.

The Truth: Not All Types of Cannabis Are Intoxicating to the Brain

In reality, growing evidence on cannabis cannabinoids, endocannibinoids, and the endocannabinoid system indicates that previous commonly accepted beliefs about marijuana’s effects on the brain are inaccurate. Cannabis use does come with risks for the brain. But marijuana risks are dependent on the plant type². 

The cannabis sativa plant contains hundreds of medical and therapeutic properties, many of which have yet to be discovered or thoroughly researched. Temporary memory impairment, cognitive performance, or mind-altering symptoms are common for some people, but not everyone. Most of those issues are avoidable with careful consideration of the type of marijuana consumed. 

There are plenty of regular cannabis users who rely on cannabis to support or boost their mental functions. Strains widely used for cognitive, memory, attention, and creativity enhancement include:

  • White Widow
  • Green Crack
  • OG Kush
  • Lemon Haze
  • Durban Poison

Not much is known about the long-term effects of marijuana on the brain. What is known is users can use certain types of marijuana to minimize these effects or avoid them altogether. There are low-THC or CBD-rich medical marijuana strains without the “toxic” psychoactive or cognitive impairing properties.

Marijuana Makes People Lazy

Laziness is one of the biggest stigmas attached to marijuana use. This is primarily associated with the sedating properties of THC, one of the most known and abundant cannabinoids found in the cannabis sativa plant. It is this same cannabinoid that has a sedating effect on motivation and decision-related processes in the brain, inducing a “ transient amotivational state³” by study researchers from a Psychopharmacology publication. This effect is only experienced by some marijuana users and is also strain dependent.

The Truth: Cannabis Promotes Relaxation

Marijuana also contains cannabinoids and terpenes that counteract many of THC’s adverse effects. Cannabis is available in various strains, many of which support and boost motivation, cognitive function, and energy levels. These marijuana products are low THC and THC-free strains. THC-free marijuana is more commonly known as CBD or cannabidiol cannabis. 

Marijuana doesn’t necessarily make people lazy. There are marijuana strains known for their relaxing and couch-locking properties, which, when combined with individual user risks and health considerations, can cause laziness for some. However, there are just as many, if not more, strains that are quite energizing. To determine energy support or sedating qualities of any particular strain, remember that indica-dominant cannabis can leave you relaxed in-da-couch (indica).

Good strains to try for energy and motivation include:

  • Green Crack
  • Blue Dream
  • ChemDawg
  • Cherry Pie

Popular cannabis strains for relaxation include:

  • GMO Cookies
  • Wedding Cake
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • Purple Punch

Cannabis Is Not Medicine

Despite softening marijuana laws, growing acceptance and popularity, medical marijuana is still a touchy subject in the health community and society. It is still an illegal substance in some jurisdictions across the country and heavily frowned upon in certain communities. There’s even growing skepticism about cannabis for medical use , though many patients and researchers claim otherwise. 

Millions of People Rely on Cannabis Treatments

Certain derivatives of cannabis have therapeutic properties that improve pain, inflammation, and other symptoms associated with various medical conditions and disorders. Numerous clinical trials show chronic pain patients, in particular, prefer marijuana-based treatments to opioids because there are fewer side effect risks and more desirable benefits. There’s growing clinical evidence on marijuana’s efficacy for cancer, diabetes, and many medical disorders and health symptoms.

Popular marijuana strains with medicinal properties that help alleviate common health problems such as nausea, vomiting, and pain include:

  • Northern Lights
  • Bubba Kush
  • Do-Si-Dos
  • L. A. Confidential 

Smoking Cannabis Is Dangerous

Smoking is not the only way to use marijuana for those who aren’t aware. Marijuana can be converted into alternative forms, such as edibles, concentrates, vape extracts, oil, and more, for optimal potency and therapeutic effects without the added risk of ingesting marijuana smoke.

Vaping Cannabis Comes With Fewer Risks

Vaping is quickly changing the way people smoke cannabis today because of the convenience and privacy it provides. Smoking is toxic to users and bystanders due to its harsh and toxic substances and unpleasant effects on the lungs and the environment. Vaping, however, comes with far fewer risks for a more rewarding experience.

Vaping heats marijuana and transforms its properties into an inhalable mist full of cannabinoids and terpenes. Vapor mists are less offensive to the nose, health, and environment. There’s also the fact that vaporizing or vaping is a safer way to unlock marijuana’s medicinal properties and manage doses than traditional smoking⁴.

Notable strains to pop into a vaporizer include:

  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Sour Diesel
  • Acapulco Gold
  • Gelato
  • Harlequin

Marijuana Doctors is committed to empowering patients with the latest and most factual information about medical cannabis, marijuana health recommendations, and more. That includes promoting the facts and truth about medical cannabis and its benefits to millions of patients.

No matter what side of the fence you are on, learning the truth about marijuana and its effects on the body and society can set you free of your reservations. Despite many negative and unrealistic conceptions about marijuana, it remains a therapeutic medicine of choice for medical patients and adults worldwide.





  1. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/medical-marijuana-faq
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352464218303420
  3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-016-4383-x#citeas
  4. https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1477-7517-4-11


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