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6 Insane Drug Myths People Used to Teach as Fact

#3. Pot Is "Natural" and Therefore "Safe"

"Hey, bro, did you know that Ecstasy is, like, bad for you? That's why I stick with ganj. That's Mother Nature's high, yo. So you know it's safe."

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Mother Nature never makes poisonous stuff! Except, like ... cobras.

Cracked has already weighed in on the whole "natural drugs aren't always safer" issue. If you still have doubts, take a huge dose of Datura and then a huge dose of LSD and see which one leaves you shitting blood in a field. (Hint: Datura means "unending fountain of death poop" in Navajo.) But this is about an even more insidious myth: the idea that smoking pot is harmless because, on its own, pot is super benign.

Here's the thing: Pot farmers are in it to make money. And one thing that fucks up your whole money-making potential is bugs eating your goddamn crop. Hence, lots of pot winds up doused in pesticide. The folks growing corn and cabbage have to undergo scrutiny by the FDA to make sure their products don't hit your table completely drenched in poison. Marijuana is still about 40 percent illegal at the best of times. Drug dealers are the only authority scrutinizing your pot, and they don't really care if your dank nugs smell like Agent Orange farted off a burrito filled with Raid.

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Prepare for the chronic ... obstructive pulmonary disorder.

There's no government oversight to make sure you aren't smoking a big fat bowl of DDT, and that means you totally are. Up to 70 percent of the pesticides on a bud transfer into the smoke. You gotta cough to get off ... and to vastly increase your risk of emphysema. It's true that marijuana has never been anyone's primary cause of death, but between 1997 and 2005, the FDA listed it as a contributing cause to 279 deaths.

#2. Everyone is Lying to You About Flashbacks

Acid flashbacks are one of those rare cases where the anti- and pro-drug sides come together in irresponsible ignorance. Back in school, your D.A.R.E. cop probably told you stories of kids leaping from tall buildings because they fell back into a trip from years before and suddenly thought they could fly. It was obvious B.S., so a few years later, when your druggie friend vehemently denied that LSD caused flashbacks, you assumed he was right.

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He told the truth about how all those clouds were laughing at me.

Here's the truth: Heavy, long-term psychedelic use can cause "flashbacks" in anyone. But these flashbacks aren't you suddenly going "FUCK YEAH, THESE ARMS ARE WINGS NOW, ASSHOLES!" and doing a Wilbur Wright off your deck. They're more like tiny halos glowing around objects, or a vague sensation that the stucco on your wall is actually a subtly shifting pattern. Sometimes little tracers follow stuff like cars and tennis balls.

It's a little like having shitty night vision. And if you have shitty night vision, you might want to put some time between night driving and any three-month acid binges.

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Four-month acid binges are perfectly safe, as any physician will tell you.

These hallucinations aren't dangerous or really that bothersome. The trouble starts when people worry about them: The symptoms are mild, but stressing yourself out about possible brain damage can be, well ... damaging. Tragically, the point at which this stuff becomes a bother is the point at which more drugs won't relax you. It's nature's cruelest Catch-22.

#1. Pot is a Gateway Drug

There's a whole family of research that kicked off with scientists grabbing one line from a middle school anti-drug course and going, "Let's make our hypothesis the opposite of that." Case in point: The idea that marijuana is a gateway drug.

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Although it might be a gateway to obesity.

You probably know that's untrue, since most people know way more occasional pot users than they do crackheads. But research actually indicates that pot is the opposite of a gateway. Which is ... what, one of those slides on a crash-landed airplane? Anyway, studies in the wake of medical marijuana laws show that a 20 percent drop in heroin use corresponds with a 10 to 20 percent surge in marijuana use.

If you want the populace to get fucked up less often, the best way might be to stop hassling them about it. Portugal decriminalized drug use 10 years ago, and while more adults do drugs now, fewer teens do, and fewer people of all ages die from overdoses. It makes a lot more sense when you think about drug use from the perspective of a stupid person. If you're dumb and your friend has a seizure because of whatever felony you just snorted, you might just leave him to die in his car, because fuck calling 911 and bringing The Man down on you both.

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"Just leave him there. He'll die as he lived -- covered in pee in the back of a car."

And that's really the best case for ending the war on drugs: It'll make things safer for kids, poor people, and the stupid.

Robert Evans is a columnist and runs Cracked's Personal Experience article team. You can reach him here.

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