The Truth Behind Marijuana Myths

Some enthusiastic marijuana users are prone to giving elaborate justifications for their drug use, leaving many to wonder, "Does weed really relieve stress or make you more peaceful?"

Indeed, there are a number of myths about marijuana, and not everyone experiences this drug the same way. However, there is a growing body of research to indicate what the potential benefits and drawbacks are of marijuana use.


  • Marijuana is safer than tobacco

  • Marijuana makes people mellow

  • Marijuana increases sexual arousal

  • Marijuana is safe because it's "natural"


  • Any type of smoke inhalation increases your risk of lung cancer

  • Some users experience greater stress and anxiety

  • It tends to lower inhibitions, but sexual effects are variable

  • Even plant-based products can pose health dangers


Myth: Marijuana Always Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Joyful Girl Smoking Weed
Kosamtu / Getty Images

The subduing effects of marijuana may initially make users feel less anxious and stressed. However, some individuals may also experience a rebound effect of increased anxiety after the drug wears off. The fear of getting caught and charged (depending on the laws of where you are using marijuana) may also increase the stress in some marijuana users.

Some long-term users have been found to have increased difficulty dealing with the stresses of day-to-day life. 


Myth: Marijuana Makes You More Peaceful

Young man smoking weed outside
Deux/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Marijuana was promoted in the 1960s as being the drug of love and peace. While weed does often temporarily subdue users—and can even decrease energy and vigor after long-term use—it does not necessarily reduce aggression.

In fact, smoking marijuana may increase anxiety and paranoia in some susceptible people.


Myth: Marijuana Is an Aphrodisiac

Small business marijuana dispensary in Oregon.
Heath Korvola / Getty Images

Marijuana does tend to reduce inhibitions and may be associated with increased sexual behavior in some circumstances. However, marijuana's impact on sexual arousal can be quite variable.


Myth: Marijuana Is a Safer Drug Than Alcohol or Tobacco

Man smoking on a dock

 myshkovsky/Getty Images

Although alcohol and tobacco are currently legal for adults, they are both highly addictive drugs and long-term use is associated with life-threatening health effects.

Smoke inhalation of any sort is harmful to the lungs and may increase the risk of lung cancer and other diseases of the respiratory system. Unfiltered smoke is particularly harmful.

Marijuana use has also been linked to certain mental health problems and the risk increases the younger a person is when they begin using marijuana. 


Myth: Smoking Marijuana Is Healthy Because It's a Plant, Not a Drug

Close-Up Of Marijuana Plants
Mikhail Meleyev / EyeEm / Getty Images

There are many poisonous and hallucinogenic plants that are unhealthy for human consumption. Several drugs including weed, heroin, cocaine, magic mushrooms, and alcoholic beverages come from plants. Consuming them still comes with health risks.

The important thing to note is that there will be no "cure-all" effects of any one drug. Even for those who experience relief with marijuana, there are potential drawbacks to any drug consumption. It is best to take any widely held beliefs about any substance in moderation and to remember to act with your overall health in mind.

Was this page helpful?