various jars of cannabis / marijuana.
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
April 25, 2024 ·  6 min read

25 Things People Didn’t Realize About Cannabis

With the legalization of cannabis literally growing across the globe, the conversation around this once-illegal subject has taken center stage. Beyond the headlines and stereotypes, there are a number of interesting facts about cannabis that often go unnoticed or simply unknown. From its ancient origins to its modern-day applications, here are 25 surprising facts about cannabis that might challenge your perceptions.

Low Dependency Rate

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Despite its common misconceptions, only 9% of all cannabis users develop a dependency on it, making it one of the least addictive substances around (we see you cocaine and heroin).1 

Read More: What Cannabis Does To Your Mind & Body Depending On How You Ingest It (Infographic)

Widespread Use

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About 42% of all Americans have tried cannabis, highlighting its prevalence in the country despite legal restrictions. This widespread experimentation suggests a cultural shift towards acceptance and normalization, challenging traditional stigmas associated with its use.

Relatively Safer Than Alcohol

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Multiple studies have shown that cannabis is actually safer than consuming alcohol, contradicting traditional beliefs. By studying overdose risk and long-term health effects, researchers have been able to challenge the idea, reshaping public perceptions of substance safety.

Forgotten Legalization States

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While Colorado and Washington have dominated cannabis discussions, Alaska and Oregon also legalized recreational use recently. Currently, 33 states have already legalized it. To not have access to legal cannabis in America is to now be in the minority of states. 

Cancer-Fighting Properties

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Research suggests that compounds made from cannabis can have the potential to prevent metastasis in certain aggressive cancers. This discovery has opened up new avenues for exploring more medicinal properties.

Persistent Arrests

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Even with widespread legalization efforts, the U.S. continues to make numerous arrests for cannabis-related offenses. And yes, these arrests continue to disproportionately affect minority communities. Law enforcement practices are still in need of improvement, as well as comprehensive criminal justice reform.

Potency Differences

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Studies have found that legal cannabis tends to be less potent than varieties acquired outside of dispensaries. The difference seems to be attributed to the stricter regulations and quality control done by government agencies. 

Read More: Seniors Choosing Cannabis over Opioids for Pain More Than Ever – 3 Possible Reasons Why

Temporary Cognitive Effects

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While there have been concerns about the cognitive effects of cannabis use, particularly in teenagers, studies suggest that these tend to be temporary changes from use. Be sure to contact your medical professional if usage grows.

Historical Legalization

Amsterdam, Netherlands - January 15 2019: The Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum on the edge of the De Wallen Red Light District of Amsterdam.
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Cannabis was originally legal in the U.S. and was so until the early 1900s when it began to face prohibition efforts with alcohol. For some reason, people seemed to fight harder for alcohol to come back while not enough decided to go green the same way under the law.

Global Legalization Pioneer

MONTEVIDEO / URUGUAY - JANUARY 21, 2019: Legalizing marijuana around the world: Cannabis shop and culture in Montevideo, Uruguay.
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Uruguay was the first country to legalize the cultivation, sale, and consumption of cannabis in 2013. May we always remember Uruguay as the one that started us off as a modern world.

Economic Impact

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The legalization of cannabis has not only generated a major source of tax revenue for states but it’s also created thousands of jobs across various sectors, from cultivation to retail. This new economic boon truly highlights the potential for cannabis legalization from a finance perspective to help stimulate local economies and foster job growth.

Dispensary Boom

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In Colorado, legal cannabis has led to an absurd proliferation of dispensaries, which at one point outnumbered Starbucks stores. 

Cultural Traditions

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In India, cannabis-infused drinks like bhang lassi are part of religious and cultural celebrations. If we explore its cultural significance in other countries and societies, we can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for roles beyond just recreational use.

Pioneering Online Transaction

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Cannabis was actually one of the earliest online transactions ever completed – taking place between two students at Stanford and MIT in the 1970s.

Read More: The Potential Health Benefits Of Juicing Cannabis

Bob Marley

Kingston/St Andrew, Jamaica - May 21 2019: Kingston, Jamaica. Bob Marley reggae musician life sized bronze statue. Legend celebrity ambassador monument sculpted by Alvin Marriott by National Stadium.
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Of course, Bob Marley is on this list. The 4/20-born legend was laid to rest with (along with his guitar) a stalk of cannabis, symbolizing its significance to him and the culture he helped create. To many, this drug will always represent the countercultural movement and its role as a symbol of rebellion and freedom despite its recent regulation and legalization. 

Can’t Really Overdose

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While technically possible, overdosing on cannabis is a highly unlikely, practically impossible task. Not to be confused with a “green out,” an absurdly large quantity would have to be consumed (1500 lbs) in a very short time (15 minutes) for it to happen. It’s not impossible, but please don’t take it as a challenge.

Environmental Benefits

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Cannabis cultivation has been used to help decontaminate polluted soil. This innovative use highlights once again how versatile it is as a sustainable agricultural crop with diverse ecological benefits. It’s so much more than just a plant to get high with.

Widespread Legalization

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As of 2020, 34 U.S. states have legalized cannabis in some form, indicating a shifting attitude towards its use. This widespread legalization trend reflects changing societal attitudes and evolving perceptions of cannabis as a legitimate therapeutic agent.

Mainstream Acceptance

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Once considered a fringe drug, cannabis is now increasingly mainstream with its prominent legalization.2 This normalization reflects a broader cultural shift towards destigmatization, hopefully in recognition of its potential benefits, not just a money grab for new tax purposes.

Medicinal Potential

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Cannabis has been proven to have various medical applications, including pain relief and nausea suppression. The therapeutic potential has opened up new avenues for treating a wide range of medical conditions.

Read More: Researchers Think They Know Why Cannabis Makes Some People Happy and Some Paranoid

Youthful Vulnerability

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Adolescents are particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of cannabis due to ongoing brain development.3 That said, serious and consistent usage would have to take place to show any adverse effects, but we should be mindful nonetheless.

Psychological Risks

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Long-term cannabis use has been linked to an increased risk of psychosis or schizophrenia in certain individuals, which speaks to the complex relationship between cannabis use and mental health. You should consult your doctor about the state of your mental health before deep diving into usage.

Pregnancy Complications

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Simply put, if you are pregnant, you shouldn’t be smoking anything. Using cannabis during pregnancy can lead to serious complications and should be avoided no matter what to ensure the best health of both mother and child. 

Impact on Brain Function

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Cannabis use gets a bad rap for affecting brain function, and that’s because it does. Smoking has a definite influence on memory, cognition, and decision-making abilities. That said, these effects wear off after usage the same way they do after alcohol leaves the body, so we should be mindful of the implications those who bash the drug give it.

Social Equity and Justice

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Advocates argue that reforms that legalize cannabis should also address past injustices made because of the drug. Criminal records related to marijuana offenses should be expunged and its offenders should be reinvested into the community. The war on drugs no longer includes marijuana.

Closing Thoughts

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The evolving landscape of cannabis legalization lets us take a closer look at the complexities of this plant. As societal shifts and scientific understanding deepens it becomes more and more clear how important it is to explore all of the facts before drawing conclusions. Hopefully, these 25 points should help challenge our preconceived notions and help us make more informed decisions regarding this exciting plant.

Read More: Teen Wants More People to Know About a Rare Medical Condition Linked to Cannabis Use


  1. Cannabis Secrets: 39 Things Most People Don’t Know About Marijuana.” MSN. Michelle McGuinness. April 2024.
  2. 25 Odd Facts About Marijuana.” Live Science. Stephanie Pappas. November 22, 2016.
  3. Marijuana and Public Health.” CDC