You remember those anti-cannabis adds from the 90's? You know, the ones where the girl melts into the couch and deflates, or that weird ass one with the girl and the dog...
If you haven't seen any I suggest you have a look on YouTube, some of them are ridiculous.
But you know what else is ridiculous? The other side of misinformation. The one where marijuana activists and pro-weed activists tell people things like "Weed cures cancer" or "Smoking weed is actually good for your lungs" and a number of other ridiculous claims.
It's made worse by the fact that misinformation like this contributed to prohibition which still continues in many places today. It contributed to the "war on drugs" which lead to millions of people being unfairly incarcerated and destroyed the reputation of a plant that really isn't that bad.
One little study is not a fact
You see it a lot in mainstream media, pure sensationalism. They take a sliver of information and pass it off as absolute fact. There will be a study that showed some peoples tumors seemed to shrink after consumption. This is then passed on by people as "Weed shrinks tumors" Instead of, "It's possible marijuana could help, we should keep it open as an option."
Of course everything goes both ways and many anti-marijuana activists will try and tell you that smoking weed causes cancer, this is fairly unsubstantiated and whilst it does contain carcinogenic chemicals the amounts are very low and let's be honest, what isn't carcinogenic in this day and age. There are also studies showing that marijuana did have a positive impact on tumors inhibiting their growth. A 2006 UCLA study concluded that even heavy marijuana use does not lead to lung cancer. This doesn't mean smoking is good for you, it can still have other adverse effects on the respiratory system but marijuana doesn't necessarily have to be smoked so there are ways to bypass this.
Marijuana isn't addictive
Isn't it? well yes and no. It's been shown to be habit forming in some patients and a study by the National Institute of Health showed that about 9% of heavy users became clinically dependent. To put this in comparison Cocaine users were at 15% and heroin at 24% of heavy users who would become clinically dependent.
Basically in comparison to other things It is less likely to cause addiction or habit forming behavior. Even if it does the possible damage is far less than addiction to other "harder drugs".
Some facts and fiction.
Marijuana can be medically beneficial.
Even just as a painkiller it is far safer than opiods such as codeine. It can be used to help with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. It can reduce nausea symptoms and help to restore eating habits in cancer patients going through treatment. Cannabis oil can be used to help treat seizures in some cases.
It isn't always.
It can also exacerbate some illnesses and these include some of the mental health ones that they can also help. This is why it's important to not pass off something as absolute. It's important to ensure you find out ho your body reacts, recording and monitoring yourself over a decent amount of time, it doesn't help everyone and, in some cases people who are predisposed to schizophrenia can be at a higher risk of being affected negatively.
Nothing is absolute especially not in such a new and emerging area of research, whilst it may of been used for thousands of years proper, peer reviewed, long term research is only in its infant stages.
Legalization of cannabis increases use.
There are a number of studies that showed in the U.S the legalization of marijuana had a very slight increase in usage rates at first, but as things settled and the hype died down use of marijuana re-stabilized at similar rates to other states where it had remained illegal.
It's illegal where I live, however in the 10 years or so I have been smoking and hanging out with stoners I have not once met someone that didn't do, or didn't want to do pot because of it's legal status. It's so readily available almost everywhere and no one ever seems worried about getting caught.
Marijuana is completely safe.
Almost nothing is completely safe, hell even if you drink too much water you can die. Moderation is important as are personal factors. For some people it may greatly enhance their life, for others it may not do much at all to, and for others it could be potentially dangerous.
We have to be responsible
The spread of misinformation of marijuana goes both ways and in reality we still know very little. So much of the bs that is shared comes from a little image or meme on Facebook, maybe some YouTube video you saw or even just a web-page someone linked that you have no reason to trust.
If you read or hear something don't just go and repeat it to others, look for yourself before you forward it on. Check some trusted sources or at the very least just be skeptical and don't take it on face-value. I know people are trying to push legalization on as fast as possible but in the long term spreading fake news is not going to help, if anything it will hinder.
Also you don't need to lie Marijuana has enough positives on it's own without needing to be lied about and as e research more I'm sure we will find more both positive and negative impacts on the use of cannabis.
I'll leave you with this, a short video of some of the anti-drug campaign videos through the years including the weird one with the girl and the dog. Cheers.