Top 5 marijuana plant fails

We decided we would tackle five of the most common misconceptions Aussies have about weed, to help you separate fact from fiction.

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More than one thousand Australians search online for ‘marijuana plant’ every month, despite the fact there’s actually no such thing as a ‘marijuana plant’. In fact, there is so much misinformation, so many misconceptions and strange stereotypes about cannabis flying around the web, these strange rumors are often taken as fact. So we decided we would tackle five of the most common misconceptions Aussies have about weed, to help you separate fact from fiction.

 1. All cannabis smokers have dreadlocks, listen to Bob Marley and are still living in their mum’s basement

Dreadlocks, Bob Marley t-shirt and a perpetually dazed expression. Addicted to video games. Collecting welfare. Bag of Doritos in one hand, bong in the other. Are these all classic elements of stoner style or are they just popular clichés?

Actually, many people who use cannabis find these kind of stereotypes offensive. You’ve heard us say many times before that cannabis is the most widely used illegal substance in Australia. In fact, 10 percent of Australians over the age of 14 used weed in the past 12 months. As entertaining as it might be to see one tenth of the nation wearing ripped jeans and the same Rasta-inspired hairdo, this is a big misconception about cannabis. Users of the drug come in all ages, shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. The same goes for those struggling with cannabis addiction, and negative stereotypes can discourage people from seeking help when they need it most.

 2. Weed can be detected in your system for months, even years!

Nope – weed itself doesn’t stay in your system, but you can fail a test for many weeks after using it (if you use heavily) if they test for a byproduct of weed use. This is because the metabolite of THC (known as carboxyTHC) is stored in body fat, where it takes a while for the body to break it down and eliminate it. The more THC you’ve taken on board – through smoking frequently and/or using more potent strains or preparations over the recent past – the longer the carboxyTHC will take to clear your system and not be picked up in urine testing.

Despite some claims, roadside saliva tests conducted by police can only detect very recent cannabis use (usually within the past 12 hours). Blood tests can detect THC in the system for up to 24 hours, and urine samples between two to five days (but for heavy/frequent users, THC might be detected in blood and urine for longer periods).

 3. Smoking pot cures anxiety

As is the case with a lot of cannabis research, the information we have doesn’t give a definitive answer on cannabis and anxiety. Yes, cannabis can sometimes alleviate the short-term symptoms of anxiety, but it can also cause other symptoms like panic, which 20% of users will experience. If you are smoking often to relieve anxiety it may actually be symptoms of cannabis withdrawal that you are relieving!

 4. Smoking cannabis can boost your immune system

While there is some research showing cannabinoids have great potential to help manage the symptoms of autoimmune diseases like Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus, this is only as a pharmaceutical preparation and not as smoked plant matter – and research for most is still in very early stages. Those participating in such research studies also prefer to use in very small doses – to avoid feeling intoxicated and having more falls. The question of the effects of cannabis on the immune system overall is still a big mystery. In fact, heavy cannabis smokers have a lower white blood cell production, and are more susceptible to colds, flu and infections.

 5. Weed is better for you than cigarettes

The “cannabis is less harmful than…” argument is a popular one, but not particularly helpful when looking at harms. And in the case of cannabis versus cigarettes, unfortunately it’s not true either.

Cannabis smoke contains harmful chemicals similar to tobacco smoke, including bronchial irritants, tumour promoters and carcinogens. Although people tend to smoke less cannabis daily than they might smoke cigarettes, deeply inhaling cannabis smoke and holding it in for longer, can cause five times the amount of carbon monoxide to be ingested. It also leads to three times as much tar in the lungs than cigarettes. The bottom line is, smoking anything is going to be bad news for your lungs.