Drugs do some crazy stuff to the human body, but tons of urban legends and myths about drugs are just bullshit.
A lot of the rumours start circulating among users and the public and then this misinformation gets repeated by groups opposing drugs causing the myths to be believed. The most common drug myths surround LSD, weed, and MDMA. So we’ve don our best to try and cut through some of the bullshit and clear up the mess surrounding drugs.
Here’s our top ten crazy myths about illegal drugs.
Smoking Weed Makes People Fatter
Weed’s well known for giving users the munchies, so you’d expect smokers to pile on the pounds as they scoff everything in sight, but a new study has revealed that this long held myth may not be true.
Experts in the US analysed 12 years of data to find that legalising weed encouraged significant numbers of people to lose weight. In fact the states which had decriminalised weed saw obesity plummet by between 2 per cent and 6 per cent.
In fact researchers from Cornell and San Diego University believe that the drop may be caused by young people choosing to light up rather than have a high calorie alcoholic drink.
No Such Thing As Premium Cocaine
Despite dealers saying otherwise, there’s no such thing as premium cocaine. Or at least that’s the claim of Dr Adam Winstock, the founder of GDS and a consultant addiction psychiatrist, who says that the only difference between standards coke and premium coke is the pocket the dealer takes it out of.
Cocaine users are often offered the drug at a premium price, usually 20-25 per cent more, with the promise of better quality, but in reality dealers are just trying to compete with the arrival of other cheaper and more ‘attractive’ drugs.
LSD Causes Instant Insanity
In the 60’s it was claimed that taking LSD made a person seven times more likely to be automatically declared legally insane. However this isn’t even slightly true, and most likely came about because of optimistic people trying to dodge army drafts in the 60’s.
Marijuana Is Stronger These Days
A common rumour is that weed these days is a lot stronger than it used to be. The rumour claims that modern weed has THC levels, the chemical that gets you high, are ten to thirty times higher than they were back in the 60’s and 70’s.
However the rumours are most likely false, before the 1971 potency of weed wasn’t measured which gives us an unreliable record of potency before then. Also claims of dealers having a ‘genetically modified super weed’ are believed to be growers confusing modification with selective breeding.
MDMA Makes Holes In Your Brain
In the early 2000’s the rumour that MDMA caused holes in the brain began to circulate, making users fear they were turning their brains into Swiss cheese. The rumours were bullshit, the exact neurotoxicity of MDMA is unknown and reports claiming it can make holes in the brain have been discredited.
Interestingly, the only drugs that are known to cause holes in the brain are PCP and ketamine, which it’s claimed cause small holes in the cortex known as Olney’s Lesions, but they’re not quite the huge holes reported in the media.
You Can Overdose On Heroin
When most people think of heroin they no doubt think of the dangers of overdoes but the lethality of the drug’s been massively over stated. Now we’re not denying that heroin’s a fucking nasty drug, but like most opiates it’ actually quite hard to overdose on them.
Most reported overdoses occur because the user has taken a combination of other sedatives, such as benzodiazepines. It’s also common for a previous user who’s been abstinent for some time and then uses to overdose. This is because their tolerance level will have decreased but the user does not account for time abstinent and overdoses. Heroin overdose is also reversible within minutes if the user is given an opioid antagonist.
PCP Causes Superhuman Strength
Some people report that people high on PCP gain superhuman strength while on the drug. Shockingly PCP doesn’t turn you into a superman instead it removes your ability to feel pain and makes you feel invincible, this can make users feel stronger than they are.
Although some claim that if PCP causes delirium, common if taken with cocaine, then the adrenaline may give the user enhanced strength … so this one’s not entirely debunked.
‘Flashbacks’ Are Due To A Release From Fat Cells
People who say they’ve experienced flashback highs claim that after smoking weed THC is trapped in the fat cells. The THC is then released randomly into the bloodstream making the user high again while exercising, sometimes months after they last used cannabis. The idea of flashback highs is supported by anecdotal evidence of users getting high while exercising.
Scientists say it’s not impossible but not likely and it’s never been proven in humans. Also they doubt that enough THC could be stored in the fat. They claim that the anecdotal evidence is just people experiencing a runners high.
Man Takes LSD And Becomes An Orange
One of the funniest drug myths is that a man took a dose of LSD, immediately went mad and was permanently convinced he was a glass of orange juice. This meant he was incapable of bending over, slept upright and did not make any sudden moves. The rumour originated in the 60’s and is clearly hilarious bullshit. Another variant of the myth is that the man believed he was a full orange and was terrified of being peeled.
Bath Salts Make You A Cannibal
In 2012 there was a minor panic that the latest synthetic drug, bath salts, were causing users to violently attack people and even engage in cannibalism. However in fact the most well known attacker Rudy Eugene, who it was claimed was high on bath salts at the time, actually tested negative for bath salts and every other know psychoactive substances, except for trace amounts of cannabis. So what made Eugene violent remains a mystery but researches have said that there are synthetic drugs which can’t be detected even with testing.
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.