Weed myth busting: four falsehoods debunked

Weed myths: photo of sign saying myth and fact.

The history of the cannabis plant is storied. From being grown as a textile to being slowly demonized into federal illegality, cannabis has been through it. Many weed myths have been formed in the time spent fighting its way back into the public eye.

Without access to cannabis research, much of the knowledge has been passed down verbally. Anyone who has played a game of telephone knows how that goes. When a phrase or story goes through enough people, it’s almost always been altered. This is what has happened around the plant as well.

Let’s take a look at four of the most common weed myths and see whether they’re up to snuff.

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Weed Myth #1: You don’t get high the first time you smoke weed.

I know this isn’t absolute based on my personal experience. I got super high the first time I lit up a joint. But let’s dig deeper because testimony shared by others and written in news stories claims that many people don’t get high the first time they smoke.

There are some reasons why a beginner might not feel high the first time they smoke weed. People sometimes hold the smoke in their mouths without inhaling it. Others may not take a deep enough puff. And maybe weed just affects them differently than most.

So, while it’s possible to not get high the first time you smoke weed, some people get very high the first time. Take it from this 2018 Jimmy Fallon interview with Bill Hader sharing his first toke story.

Weed Myth #2: If you hold in a hit, you get higher

A common cannabis myth persists. It claims that holding in a hit will get a person higher. For generations, stoners have labored over holding in a big hit, sputtering out coughs that may have been unnecessary.

Turns out the effects of smoking cannabis aren’t really altered by how long someone holds their breath. One study monitored eight cannabis smokers, exposing them to three different breath-hold durations. Researchers observed the same effects across all breath holds.

Findings from this study support the understanding that 95 percent of THC is absorbed within one to two seconds of smoking. Looks like this one might stay a myth.

Weed myths: cannabis leaves and mangoes

Weed Myth #3: Eating mangoes before consuming cannabis enhances the effects.

At some point in the last decade, a rumor started permeating the cannabis space. People were saying that eating mangoes before smoking cannabis could increase the effects. The concept is based on the terpene myrcene.

The smell of mangoes comes from their terpene content, and myrcene is the star. But the problem is that the average mango has around 0.86 milligrams (mg) of myrcene. One gram of cannabis flower can have upwards of 20 mg. However, it is worth mentioning that smoking and eating milligrams will affect the body differently. With so much more myrcene in cannabis, it’s improbable mangoes would make much of a difference.

Additionally, myrcene doesn’t play a role in how THC and CB1 receptors get along. Since this mechanism evokes the high, that’s another strike against this fruity cannabis myth.

With all that said, there’s no science-based research on this topic, but some claim it works for them. Whether it’s the placebo effect or not, nobody knows for sure right now. We’ll call this one a gray area.

Weed Myth #4: THC is the only standard for finding good cannabis.

Everyone has personalized criteria for what makes a cannabis brand “good.” Some opt for sun-grown flower, while others emphasize the social justice work a brand takes on.

But some believe the best cannabis flower has the highest THC, and right off the bat, we’re going to say loud and proud that this myth is false. THC is one factor that works in tandem with other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, esters, and more. Basing a purchase off of just THC is like hiring a stylist who only does pants. It just doesn’t make sense.

This is the most infuriating cannabis myth for industry operators working hard to cultivate full-spectrum flower, edibles, and cannabis products. But hopefully, with more education, THC-driven consumers will wise up.

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The truth of the matter on weed myths

Take it from us, it’s possible to get very high the first time you smoke weed, and you don’t have to hold it in until you’re blue. Just make sure you inhale. Of course, mangoes make a great snack but don’t bank on them amping up cannabis effects. And lastly, don’t be that guy barking at a budtender about the highest THC. Simply put, it’s not the best way to buy cannabis.

These four myths permeate cannabis culture, creating confusion and misconceptions that continue on through the game of telephone. Let’s stop the ignorance right here, and consider these myths busted.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of GreenState.com and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.