Stoner movies are great; some of the best comedies of the last decade have had pot-centric plot-lines or a major character who smokes. Whether it’s Half Baked, Pineapple Express or Grandma’s Boy, these films are great for showing marijuana users in a non-threatening, funny light. But unfortunately these movies also help to perpetuate some of the worst stereotypes about stoners out there. Check it.
4. Marijuana is a Gateway Drug
(As seen in Half Baked, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
It’s a classic story of boy meets girl, boy smokes weed and quickly ends up a homeless drug addict covered in skin sores (see, classic!). Everyone knows that taking a single drag on a joint means you’re at risk to instantly become a junky craving heroin.
Except that isn’t true at all. And no, we’re not just saying that because this is Stoner Things, we’re saying it because science! More specifically, “the likelihood that someone will transition to the use of illegal drugs is determined not by the preceding use of a particular drug, but instead by the user’s individual tendencies and environmental circumstances.” See, what people often confuse is causation and correlation. Causation is sequential; if I do X then Y will happen. Like if you have the flu so you take medicine and eventually get better. Becoming healthy (Y) was a consequence of taking medicine (X). Correlation is different, it’s where you do X and then Y increases, but X isn’t necessarily the cause. For example, in Arizona as the sale of ice cream increases so too does the number of scorpion stings. That doesn’t mean more ice cream is causing more stings, but rather that there’s another factor influencing both, such as it being summer, when ice cream sales skyrocket because it’s hotter than balls and when scorpions get more active.
People often confuse correlation and causation. The reality is that while some may believe the “Gateway Effect,” it’s just as likely that it’s an individual’s unique situation and attitude that will lead them to trying hard drugs, not marijuana use.
In fact, other factors are at play. The teenagers who do use marijuana and then try more illicit drugs likely have low employment status and are more stressed, but even then it probably won’t last long, because teens who smoke weed and then try hard drugs usually stop by the time they’re 21.
3. Marijuana is Harmless
(As seen in: Ted, Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay)
First, don’t say that Stoner Things doesn’t do its homework. We aren’t going to give you one side of the story or say marijuana has absolutely zero negative health effects. The fact is, smoking marijuana can cause respiratory problems. How could it not? Any time you inhale copious amounts of smoke you’re exposing your lungs to toxins and chemicals. It’s why a firefighter may never touch a cigarette in his or her life but still get lung cancer; any type of smoke can do serious damage on a long enough timeline.
So yes, smoking weed can cause lung problems. But there’s more to it; for one thing, smoking tobacco and nothing else will still put you at risk for lung cancer, while smoking only marijuana may cause inflammation and other adverse effects, but nothing as serious as smoking a cigarette would. In fact, people who smoke both will have worse problems, while people who smoke weed will have the least problems.
If you noticed a trend so far you get a pot cookie; see, it turns out that the negative effects of marijuana depend on smoking it. That’s right, vaporizers get you high without negative health effects. Or just eat that pot cookie, because eating it is fine too! It’s only when smoking that you’re hurting yourself.
So marijuana isn’t harmless, but that all depends on how it’s used. Which brings us to our next myth…
2. You Can’t Get Addicted to Marijuana
(As seen in Grandma’s Boy, Half Baked, Ted)
Again, we’re being fair here. This myth is as widely touted as any other; weed isn’t addictive, you can stop whenever you want, you just like being high when your girlfriend wants to do Vin Diesel roleplay. Really, we’ve heard it all.
But unfortunately none of that is true. Marijuana is addictive. After all, you’re flooding your brain with a chemical to induce an artificial state. Given time your brain will become used to the THC you’ve been feeding it and come to expect it; stop smoking weed and your brain will crave it. And if you try to stop, you’ll find that marijuana addiction causes withdrawal symptoms. Woah, that was never in the movies.
But there’s a silver lining. Those awful marijuana withdrawal symptoms are actually pretty mild. Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, sleep disturbance, nausea, etc. Hell, we usually call all that “Monday.”So yeah, you might have a small addiction, but it’s so minor you’d actually find worse symptoms if you quit drinking soda cold-turkey.
1. Marijuana Lowers Intelligence
(As seen in Dude, Where’s My Car?, Super High Me)
We all know that one person, that individual that smoked themselves stupid. The friend who has smoked so much weed over the years that you can honestly say they’re dumber now. It’s disheartening and even frightening; smoking weed could lower your intelligence.
Take a look at this headline: Teen Marijuana Use Associated With Drop in Intelligence. Woah. That’s a real news story! But we here at Stoner Things like to make sure we cover all of our bases, which is why we know that the article up there is full of crap.
Yes, heavy marijuana use (5+ joints a week) can lower your IQ by roughly 4 points. Whereas people who never lit up once would find their IQ score raising by 2.6 points. That’s more than 6 and a half point difference on a scale where the average is set at 100. Damn, that’s huge. But wait, we aren’t done. Because while heavy marijuana use lowers your IQ, light marijuana use (less than 5 joints a week) saw their IQs increase by 5.8 points.
What. The. Fuck. Smoking small amounts of weed makes you smarter. And that isn’t at all; even if you haven’t smoked in three months your IQ will still be higher by about 3.5 points. That’s more than the increase for people who never smoked!
So ignore all those movies that depict stoners as idiots one step away from shooting up marijuana. Science is on marijuana’s side.