Ten Misconceptions about Marijuana: Drug and Alcohol Test Association

medical-marijuanaOur friends at the Drug and Alcohol Test Industry Association recently informed us about the top ten misperceptions about Marijuana. DATIA’s mission is to provide education, resources, and advocacy to those involved in and interested in drug and alcohol testing.

1. Marijuana is harmless.

  • Associated with increased risks of mental illness, heart disease, cancer, lung disease and stroke.
  • Contains 3-5 times the amount of carcinogens as tobacco
  • Emergency Room visits from marijuana side-effects are greater than all other substances combined

2. Marijuana is medicine.

  • Rejected for medicinal use by prominent national health organizations
  • Combustible leaf marijuana has no medical contribution
  • In medical marijuana states, less than 3% of users have cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, etc.

3. The marijuana “high” only lasts for a few hours.

  • A minimum of 24-hour cute impairment is standard after marijuana use
  • Sub-acute impairment can last a week or longer
  • Significant THC increases have users reporting ill-effects for days

4. Presence-in-system testing is unreliable because it does not measure impairment.

  • Drug testing should serve as one component of a comprehensive safe and drug-free workplace program
  • Testing validates the signs and symptoms of documented impaired behavior; maintaining even small amounts of THC in one’s system can cause substantial impairment
  • Presence-in-system testing remains the gold standard and is upheld by the courts as valid

5. Marijuana is not addictive.

  • Physiological dependence and withdrawal require substance abuse treatment
  • 1 in 10 adult marijuana users will become dependent to the point of requiring treatment
  • 1 in 6 adolescent marijuana users develop dependence

6. Marijuana can/should be regulated like alcohol.

  • Comparisons between alcohol and marijuana regulation needs are not similar
  • Comparable standardized measurements do not exist for marijuana
  • The social costs related to alcohol abuse likewise exist with marijuana

7. Marijuana is not a gateway drug.

  • 2-5 times greater risk of using other drugs when marijuana is the onset drug
  • Frequency of marijuana use is significant with other illicit drugs of abuse and dependence
  • Majority of individuals seeking drug treatment list marijuana as their gateway drug

8. Marijuana is safer than cigarettes or alcohol.

  • Permanent damage to brain function and long-term mental health detriments are not safe
  • Addiction, psychosis and cognitive function loss are never “safer”
  • Effects of extremely high THC products found in edibles, waxes and oils are unknown

9. There are no long-term effects from marijuana use.

  • Cognitive decline among marijuana users does not change with adult abstinence
  • 17% increased risk for depression
  • 40% increased risk of psychotic symptoms/disorders

10. It is safer to drive with marijuana in your system.

  • 2-5 times increase to risk of crashes involving marijuana-impaired driving
  • Driving slower does not mean driving safer
  • Risks include: impaired cognitive function and slowed response times

For more information on drug testing, please contact our Senior Account Executive, Megan Siefert at (850)444.9084 and click here for a list of our current drug testing options.