While we’ll be the first to admit that it would be pretty legendary to simply lay around for a couple months getting stoned on Uncle Sam’s dime, unfortunately the reports that have been circulating the Internet for the past couple of months suggesting that “NASA Will Pay You $18,000 to Stay in Bed and Smoke Weed for 70 Straight Days” are completely bogus and need to be cleared up once and for all.
It seems a number of publications have set out to con the average stoner into buying a stinky load of untruth in an effort to generate more clicks for their websites. This vile scam, which was most recently dredged up again by the folks at The Weed Blog, attempts to capitalize on the naivety of some people by spreading fake news via social media of a NASA funded research program that will pay them big bucks to do what they love to do most — smoke copious amounts of marijuana.
Even though most people with a finger on the pulse of the cannabis legalization movement are not so dense to be bamboozled into believing that the federal government, which still considers marijuana one of the most dangerous drugs in the world—a substance with “no known medicinal value”—would openly engage in a study of this nature. However, it has been extremely difficult to stop the bleeding because not enough legitimate news sources have come forward to discredit this erroneous claim.
What is true is that several years ago NASA launched a series of Bed Rest studies to be used as an analog for spaceflight, “because extended exposure to a head-down tilt position can duplicate many of the effects of a low-gravity environment.”
All of this research was to be conducted in a special facility (Flight Analogs Research Unit) at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and used to examine the similarities of bed-rest and varying degrees of gravitational force.
In 2013, NASA began recruiting volunteers to take part in a study in which the subject would be forced to lie in a bed positioned at a six-degree angle for a period of 70 days. Researchers said the study would help them understand the bone and muscle atrophy an astronaut might endure while traveling in space for extended periods of time.
Those participants who were mentally and physically able to survive the duration of the testing were then compensated to the tune of $18,000. However, the consumption of marijuana was not part of the study.
A detailed account of this bed-rest journey was well documented in 2014 by VICE columnist Andrew Iwanicki. In his report, he described the first few days as being “a blur of body scans, needles, physical tests; urine jugs filled, collected, and analyzed” that eventually transitioned into a painful and challenging overall experience. Yet, he never makes any mention of NASA allowing him to “smoke different types of cannabis,” as several reports have suggested comes with the territory.
Furthermore, NASA reportedly completed the final phase of this particular bed-rest study just last year.
Unfortunately, marijuana has become one of the leading subjects for scams and hoaxes on the Internet.
In addition to the fabled NASA Marijuana Study, a number of other tall toker tales have surfaced throughout the past year, including one suggesting that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) was paying stoners $3,000 a week to determine whether people could smoke weed as a stress reliever and still function in their day-to-day activities.
Another bogus story claimed that NASA had discovered a planet covered in marijuana. Of course, none of these claims are true.