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Debunking 3 marijuana misconceptions

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While the vote to legalize recreational marijuana in Colorado two years ago was seen by many as a progressive step forward in actually understanding the drug, many myths and misconceptions about cannabis use continue to abound. Nearly 80 years since its release, the anti-marijuana propaganda film "Reefer Madness" and its legacy of warped, if not fabricated, information continues to influence millions of Americans' views of what marijuana actually does and doesn't do.

With medical marijuana allowed in approximately half the country, and the other 48 states looking to Colorado and Washington for guidance in legalizing recreational weed, it's important to debunk many of the misperceptions surrounding the drug and equip voters with only the most up-to-date and scientifically-grounded information. A recently released review of 20 years of marijuana research has helped shed light on a number of these myths, and what the truth behind them actually is.

Here are a few "new" truths about marijuana, courtesy of The Washington Post:

  • Don't toke and drive: While it may not be as risky as driving drunk, driving under the influence of marijuana can still increase your risk of a car accident -- especially if mixed with alcohol or another drug. According to the study review, stoned driving makes you two to three times more likely to crash your vehicle.
  • Addiction is possible, but not likely: "People who try marijuana are significantly less likely to become dependent on [marijuana] than users of just about any other drug, including tobacco, heroin, cocaine, alcohol or stimulants," writes the Post. "[However, the] risk of addiction is higher (one-in-six) if you start using in your teens. Dependent users can experience withdrawal symptoms when they quit, including 'anxiety, insomnia, appetite disturbance and depression.'" But while addiction may be possible, it reportedly occurs in significantly fewer numbers than among alcoholics or opioid users.
  • Overdose, on the other hand, isn't possible: Too high a dosage of THC -- approximately 15 to 70 grams -- can be fatal. However, this is significantly higher than even what "a very heavy cannabis user" would smoke in a day. According to the study, a joint typically contains only half a gram of marijuana, and the average potency level is only about 12.58 percent -- equivalent to 0.06 grams of THC. In other words, to fatally overdose on marijuana, you would need to smoke anywhere from 238 and 1,113 joints in a single day. That's at least 10 joints an hour over 24 consecutive hours. So while overdose is technically possible, it's certainly not probable for anyone.

If you have been pulled over and charged with a marijuana DUI in Colorado, contact The Orr Law Firm. Our team of expert DUI defense attorneys can ensure your case is handled with the utmost care.