Marijuana Misinformation Machine

In April of 2017 Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado declared in his state of the state address that "There’s no question that marijuana and other drugs – in combination with mental illness or other disabling conditions – are essential contributors to chronic homelessness".

Yes there is Gov! There is a HUGE question. You have no research or other data to validate your statement, and like so many other government officials, you are just talking out of your ass.

A very common trick – one that is almost never absent from the antagonist rhetoric - is typified in the Governor’s statement. Antagonists insist on including and implicitly equating marijuana use with “other drugs" with which marijuana has little or nothing in common. In this instance he's spiced things up with a dash of "mental illness" thrown in, and a purposefully vague reference to a side order of "other disabling conditions", which initially even kind of sounds like a real thing! Misinformation baby! Brazen baseless, trumpish statements and accusations, and truthless 'facts' - the staple of the old, the uptight, the too-Christian, the ignorant, and the hypocrite.

Using crack can lead to homelessness. Using heroin can lead to homelessness. Using meth can lead to homelessness, and using alcohol can lead to homelessness. All the while, the Pothead - the nefarious Pothead - is home listening to tunes and hanging out with friends. Marijuana fits into your life, it does not control it like alcohol or tobacco. The Gov couldn’t find one homeless person that blamed their situation on marijuana; to the contrary, they all disputed it. Like too many other politicians, he just rolls merrily along, staring truth in the face and calling it a liar.

Internet Misinformation
One of the great downfalls of the internet has been and will be that anyone can post content on a website (including this one), without any standards, restrictions, checks or balances. Some of the worst lies, most outrageous claims and statements, and methodically misleading and damaging rhetoric spewed forth in the course of human history have been taken as factual by millions of people because they 'saw it on the internet'. Webmasters, bloggers and content writers all freely 'borrow' from each other, often not bothering to check to see if what they're copying and pasting contains even the smallest shred of truth. Inevitably, misinformation begets misinformation, and whether it is spread with malice, good intention or ignorance, the result is the same.

In an instance such as dealing with marijuana, where everyone has an opinion and usually also an agenda, the black and white of fact and fiction becomes a murky gray, tedious and tiresome to navigate. This is not limited to websites run by the likes of some guy named Harold that’s working out of his mom’s basement somewhere in Connecticut. It seems that no one is too good or too reputable to play the misinformation game.

Below are two excerpts filled with misinformation from a page on the WebMD website. You can view the entire page by clicking here.

Most people smoke the plant's dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds. But marijuana can also be mixed into food (like brownies, cookies, and lollipops), brewed as a tea, or inhaled with a vaporizer.

The thought of smoking stems and seeds - the harshness - is very unappealing. The subtle message ... the misinformation – is that smoking pot is going to be abrasive and hurt your throat. (Of course, you actually only smoke the plant's flower, or 'bud', which is usually very pleasant to smoke.)

The part about brewing tea is wrong (you need oil or butter to help digest the THC), but that seems more like ignorance than an attempt at misinformation.

Down the page a bit, they list their version of the effects of using marijuana:
  1. Dizziness
  2. Shallow breathing
  3. Red eyes and dilated pupils
  4. Dry mouth
  5. Increased appetite
  6. Slowed reaction time (If you drive after using marijuana, your risk of being in a car accident more than doubles.)
What they are calling 'dizziness' is usually described as a 'mild euphoria', which is much more accurate and sounds more enticing, as dizziness can certainly make you fall down and/or get nauseous.

The results of a recent straw poll indicate that 'shallow breathing' is a completely fabricated effect.

Claims like the one here that your risk of being in a car accident more than doubles can be found on website after website, some maintaining that the risk is ten to twenty times greater. These claims are also complete fabrications, indicated by the fact that there are never any studies or research cited because there is no way to accurately measure or quantify how stoned a person is, or even if he is stoned at all! More on driving.

There are blood and urine tests that can determine if a person has marijuana in their bloodstream, but that only determines if they’ve used marijuana lately, as it can take up to thirty days for all traces of THC to leave the system. Since there is no data and thereby no accountability, professional groups, web authors and crotchety politicians trying to make a mark spout whatever bullshit pops into their heads. If you can say it in the media and get enough people to say it along with you, some will start to believe it, no matter how silly and untrue. Misinformation, baby!

Cannabis 101      History
The War      Stoned vs. Drunk
Misinformation      Addiction
Why the Fuss?      Driving
Working      Dependence
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