Addiction Drug Use Marijuana The Truth Behind Common Beliefs About Marijuana By Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD is a psychologist, professor, and Director of the Centre for Health Leadership and Research at Royal Roads University, Canada. Learn about our editorial process Updated on August 08, 2021 Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Emily Swaim Fact checked by Emily Swaim LinkedIn Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell. Learn about our editorial process Print There are a number of beliefs about marijuana, and not everyone experiences this drug the same way. However, there is a growing body of research to indicate the potential effects of marijuana use. Common Beliefs Marijuana makes people mellow Marijuana reduces aggression Marijuana increases sexual arousal Marijuana is safer than tobacco Marijuana is safe because it's "natural" Facts Some experience greater stress and anxiety Marijuana can increase aggressive behaviors Marijuana tends to lower inhibitions, but sexual effects are variable Any type of smoke inhalation increases your risk of lung issues Even plant-based products can pose health dangers 1 Some May Experience Greater Stress and Anxiety Kosamtu / Getty Images The subduing effects of marijuana may initially make people 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. Some who use marijuana long-term have been found to have increased difficulty dealing with the stresses of day-to-day life. What You Need to Know About Marijuana 2 Marijuana Can Increase Aggressive Behaviors 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 people—and can even decrease energy and vigor after long-term use—it does not necessarily reduce aggression. Studies have shown that the potency of marijuana is linked with psychosis, paranoid thinking, and violent behavior. Paranoia can also increase the risk of aggressiveness, suspicion, and anger. 3 Its Impact on Sex Can Vary 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, and some report decreased satisfaction with sexual experiences. Why Should You Have Sex More Often? 4 It's Been Associated With Certain Health Issues 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. Marijuana has been associated with vascular conditions related to stroke and heart attack as well as respiratory infection. Additionally, long-term pot smoking may lead to chronic bronchitis. 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. However, according to a 2014 review in the New England Journal of Medicine, causality is difficult to determine in these cases. 5 Just Because It's a Plant, Doesn't Mean It's Healthy 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 marijuana, even though it is plant-based, still comes with health risks. A Word From Verywell 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. Is Weed Bad for You? The Negative Health Effects of Marijuana 4 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Cservenka A, Lahanas S, Dotson-Bossert J. Marijuana use and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functioning in humans. Front Psychiatry. 2018;9:472. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00472 Ansell EB, Laws HB, Roche MJ, Sinha R. Effects of marijuana use on impulsivity and hostility in daily life. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015;148:136-142. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.12.029 Miller NS, Ipeku R, Oberbarnscheidt T. A review of cases of marijuana and violence. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(5):1578. doi:10.3390/ijerph17051578 Wiebe E, Just A. How cannabis alters sexual experience: A survey of men and women. J Sex Med. 2019;16(11):1758-1762. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.07.023 Additional Reading Volkow ND, Baler RD, Compton WM, Weiss SR. Adverse health effects of marijuana use. N Engl J Med. 2014;370(23):2219-2227. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1402309 By Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD is a psychologist, professor, and Director of the Centre for Health Leadership and Research at Royal Roads University, Canada. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Get Treatment for Addiction Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.