If you a) enjoy marijuana and b) don't try to hide it, you've likely heard more Cheech and Chong and Doritos-related jokes than you care to recall. It's a sad fact that no matter how much we learn about cannabis, and how many famous and successful cannabis consumers come clean about their habit, there's still decades of crummy pop-culture representations and anti-drug propaganda to undo.
Here are seven of the lamest lines marijuana users hear all the time - and why they need to die.
1. "They don't call it dope because it makes you smart"
"You're worse on weed," the Australian government warns in the widely-derided Stoner Sloth anti-marijuana ad campaign. But unlike the leaf-munching, slow-mo-moving jungle creatures, consumers who opt for sativas enjoy an energetic buzz that focuses users more effectively than a double espresso. Contrary to the claims of groups like Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, who say cannabis users, "have difficulty shifting attention to meet the demands of changes in the environment," there's evidence to suggest that cannabis actually stimulates creative drive and promotes divergent thinking. As Jasen Talise of the UC Berkley Medical Journal explains, divergent thought forms the "foundation for creative production," letting users "think of solutions without being limited by strict conceptual boundaries."
2. "It smells like someone hit a skunk"
We understand why many people are grossed out by second-hand smoke. Even people who smoke themselves don't necessarily relish the stale funk on someone else's clothes or body. But no longer does everyone who consumes carry the ghastly stench of pipe or bong hits. In 2016, many consumers don't smoke at all. The rise of vapes and edibles means cannabis has zero or minimal implications for prim types like Jennifer Garam of xoJane, who writes "I'm revolted by the slightest whiff of it and have become staunchly anti-pot." Good thing the secondhand-smoke beef with marijuana users is becoming a thing of the past.
3. "Women don't smoke weed that much"
Even High Times seems to believe this: "Generally speaking, men are more into pot than women; statistical polls, mountains of anecdotal evidence and even a bit of biochemistry support this hypothesis," writes Sharon Stoned. "For every devoted female stoner, there seem to be a few more with a 'take it or leave it' attitude." In actuality, women are some of the most engaged - and influential - cannabis consumers in North America, with an increasing number of moms and even grandmas embracing their love of cannabis, prompting some to hail the legal cannabis industry as the world's first billion-dollar industry that isn't dominated by men.
4. "I know this guy that gained like 20 lbs in university from the munchies"
The indiscriminately hungry marijuana user is such a culturally-ingrained stereotype that entire movies have been made around the trope, buttressed by inevitable articles about "stoner foods" in publications like the The Houston Press, in which Katharine Shillcutt writes, "No one really likes Funyuns, and with good reason. They taste like someone took the grease from the bottom of an onion ring fryer, somehow made it into a powder and reconstituted it as a snack chip. Yet they're the first thing stoners the world over turn to when the munchies hit." Too bad that it's only rookie consumers who experience this effect - not only do real cannabis connoisseurs frequently develop immunity to the munchies, but smoking cannabis has actually been linked to lower body fat and weight vis-a-vis those who don't partake.
5. "If I smoked pot all the time, I'd never get anything done"
Cannabis culture icons Cheech and Chong did their brethren a distinct disservice by suggesting that everyone who smokes marijuana is an oblivious waste case. Witness this assessment from Brandon Gorrell of Thought Catalog: "When you're high, you're stupid. And if you're high all the time (or from the time you get home from work until the time you pass out on the couch with your bong on your lap), well then – you're stupid all the time." We hate to break it to the anti-drug warriors, but studies from the University of London have found that people with a higher IQ are actually more likely, among other things, to consume cannabis.
6. "That guy's a drug dealer? Sketchy"
In the past, procuring marijuana meant driving around for hours trying to track down an elusive dude in a hoodie who was perpetually "5 mins away" from your current location. As Ryan O'Connell of Thought Catalog puts it, "Drug dealers are your anti-drug because communicating with them is a hassle and a half. You can spend a whole day trying to track them down and when you finally get a hold of them, they won't have what you want or they'll be really stoned and try to sell you something else." Fortunately, times have changed: not only are may so-called dealers normal, successful people like the rest of us, medical marijuana programs continue to become more inclusive, and legalization continues to sweep North America. Knowledgeable budtenders and clean, hip, well-lit dispensaries - not deals with shady dudes in the parking lot of the Motel 6- are increasingly the reality.
7. "Pfft, 'medical marijuana.' Yeah, right"
Even when the medical uses of cannabis are confirmed by reputable sources from the National Epilepsy Foundation to the Mayo Clinic, some people still think they're being clever when they remark "Ohhh....you have 'glaucoma,' I see. Surrrrrre." There's not much we can do to persuade the ill-informed people who insist medical marijuana is a huge racket that allows marijuana users to "invent some symptoms, roll into a doctor who is known around the block for handing out 'scripts, and complain about your phantom illness." Myriad studies have proven cannabis can help people kick lethal opiate addictions, relieve debilitating seizures, and a host of other illnesses - and as better data on marijuana's medical uses becomes available, the laws, and even the most persistent anti-drug sentiments, are evolving too.