The idea that cannabis consumption changes sexual orientation has been around for a long time. These days, it shows up a lot in legalization campaigns from those who still oppose cannabis reform. Here is the skinny. There is zero truth to any of these claims. Fake news, all the way.
There are some ridiculous urban myths about marijuana. However, there are a few that have a peculiar zombie quality to them. They just will not die.
The idea that cannabinoids can influence sexual orientation is one of them. So are stories about strains of cannabis that “make you gay.” For a certain group of users – these stories might at first seem quite concerning and alarming. Here is the good news. It is all bunk. Do not believe it. There is absolutely zero scientific or indeed any evidence. Ingesting cannabis does not or cannot change your sexual orientation.
There are several common themes that float through this utterly stupid idea. Most of them are based on a premise that “cannabis is bad.” Not to mention that those who consume it will be turned into “bad” or “immoral” people. See the plot of Reefer Madness. If not the public statements of many in the American Justice Department both now and historically.
But why does this idea have such staying power? And why do people continue to believe it?
STEREOTYPES FROM PROHIBITION ARE SLOW TO DIE
The “marijuana makes you gay” idea is actually a few prohibition concepts rolled into one. Kind of like an anti-legalization joint. The first is that somehow smoking reefer automatically changes you. Or makes you a bad person. Or makes you mentally ill. Here is the first cross-over. Homosexuality was also defined as being a “mental illness” in the United States until the 1970’s. Obviously, therefore, ipso ergo etc.
The connection between gay rights and legalization is also politically very strong. In the 1980’s these stereotypes were amplified again during the height of the AIDS crisis. Which of course predominantly affected gay men. On top of this, the gay community quickly resorted to marijuana as one of the most effective anti-viral and anti-nausea meds available at the time. Gay men used a stigmatized drug to treat an ostracized illness. This did not help.
In the 1990’s, gay rights and medical cannabis rights activists came together successfully to change the medical cannabis law in California. But that unity did not last long.
In the noughties, gay rights and cannabis rights literally split U.S. states down the middle. Colorado in fact, first voted to make same sex marriages illegal. Then voters legalized cannabis.
Since legalization began in earnest in the United States in particular, this old saw has also come back. The “THC makes you gay” idea has been floated in several state campaigns. That includes Florida, also known as one of the most important swing states in every national election this century.
IS THERE NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE THAT WEED MAKES YOU GAY, REALLY?
That is right. There is zero scientific evidence. Cannabinoids cannot alter your sexual preference.
There is some evidence that cannabinoids can impact oestrogen levels and production in both men and women. However that has not stopped the scare stories. The most popular and recent? Smoking pot causes Gynecomastia – enlargement of the male breast gland. No, it does not. And here is why that is even sillier. Cannabinoids and the ECB system regulate the metabolic engine of the body. Gynecomastia is caused by hormone imbalances.
While cannabis can enhance sexuality and sexual feelings for both sexes, this is not the same thing. Sexual exploration while using cannabinoids is nothing new. However there is zero evidence that smoking pot will suddenly make you switch from desiring women to men. Or the other way around.
GAY POT AND FAKE NEWS
The “coolest” new urban update and twist on this whole idea? Stories about “killer cannabis strains” that make people gay. Those are popular in the blogosphere from time to time. They are usually linked, particularly in the U.S., to legalization campaigns.
Once you start to spot the errors, the other issues become immediately apparent.
The first thing to do is check out the credentials of the people who are quoted. In contrary of what the article states, Michele Leonhart was never the head of DEA Operations in Denver, but used to be the head of the federal DEA under President Obama. She was also fired from office after multiple scandals.
And of course, there is also no such strain as “HomoKush 69.”
All in all, it might be good to remember that it is okay to be gay. And can cannabis make you gay? No way!