Despite the fact that smoking weed for recreational reasons is something that has happened for thousands of years, there are still some myths about what it does to the human body and mind. One of these misconceptions even claims that cannabis is comparable to some hallucinogenic substances, like LSD or mushrooms.
Just as the history of marijuana as a drug for recreational and therapeutic purposes dates back a very long time ago, so do the fallacies surrounding it. Understandably, not everybody has first-hand experience with using weed and because of this, views and attitudes are formed, and misinformation is spread without any real scientific support.
Misinformation about cannabis is actually often spread on purpose, and this really doesn’t help people who are trying to communicate what it is that weed truly does. Usually, these tales haven’t just been exaggerated, they also serve as sensationalist instruments for certain politicians to demonize the substance for their own agenda. For example, in the 70s a documentary called Reefer Madness was released, a prime example of anti-pot propaganda. Lots of films like Reefer Madness and other materials similar to it often claim that weed can make people hallucinate, so here’s a little breakdown of what a hallucination is.
A hallucination is, according to the dictionary, an experience involving the apparent perception of something not present. Essentially, this means seeing or hearing something that isn’t there. Hallucinations aren’t always big, crazy dramatic concepts, in fact, a hallucination can be as simple as some object distortion or a change in the way you perceive colour. Because of this, sometimes people don’t even realise they’re hallucinating. There are certainly drugs out there that do cause real hallucinations, but cannabis isn’t one of them. Instead, you could say that weed can result in altered perception, and this ambiguous phrase really only means that weed can do things such as relax users, which is a far cry from tripping on mushrooms.
Perceptions and Hallucinations
Its sort of unclear where the line can be drawn between altered perception and hallucinations. While it would be true to state that a hallucination is altered perception, it wouldn’t be accurate to make the claim that altered perception is a hallucination. Altered perception is much softer than hallucinations, which are much harder to distinguish from reality. To be honest, most drugs will change the way you view things, but that doesn’t mean those drugs cause hallucinations.
There are scientific reasons behind why weed doesn’t produce hallucinations. Psychedelic drugs, like mushrooms, contain a substance known as serotonergic, which stimulates or blocks the transmission of messages between chemicals in the brain. Weed doesn’t contain serotonergic, and so would never induce hallucinations the way these other drugs do.
Marijuana is a wellness substance and can be helpful in many different ways. The altered perception that cannabis can make you experience is capable of making users feel uplifted, giggly, relaxed, and even euphoric – but it won’t induce intense, reality-warping hallucinations.