Does Weed Relieve Stress?

The Truth Behind Five 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 — but there's also a lot of research to help reveal the real facts. Read on.

1
Myth: Marijuana Reduces Stress and Anxiety

International Cannabis And Hemp Expo Held In San Francisco. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images

The subduing effects of marijuana may initially make users feel less anxious and stressed. However, these effects are counteracted by the rebound effect of increased anxiety after the drug wears off. The fear of getting caught and charged with drug possession or trafficking also increases the stress of being a marijuana user. In addition, long-term users have been found to have increased difficulty dealing with the stresses of day-to-day life. 

2
Myth: Marijuana Makes You More Peaceful

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

In fact, smoking marijuana may increase anxiety and paranoia, thus increasing the possibility that an aggressive person will lash out.

3
Myth: Marijuana Is an Aphrodisiac

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

Marijuana does tend to reduce inhibitions, and may be associated with sexually promiscuous behavior in some circumstances, such as party and play (PnP). However, marijuana does not in itself increase sexual arousal. In fact, in some men and women, it actually decreases sexual arousal. This is one of several ways that marijuana is associated with infertility. However, note that cannabis is not a reliable method of birth control.

4
Myth: Marijuana Is a Safer Drug Than Alcohol or Tobacco

Close-Up Of Marijuana Leaves : Stock Photo CompAdd to Board Close-Up Of Marijuana Leaves. Credit: Christina Havis / EyeEm / 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. However, the fact that alcohol and tobacco are harmful does not in any way reduce the harms of marijuana smoking.

Smoke inhalation of any sort is harmful to the lungs and increases the risk of lung cancer and other diseases of the respiratory system. Unfiltered smoke is particularly harmful. Marijuana use is also linked to short- and long-term mental health problems (such as ADHD, depression and anxiety) and the risk is particularly high for younger marijuana users.

5
Myth: Smoking Marijuana Is Healthy Because it’s a Plant, Not a Drug

Medical marijuana production facility. Credit: Richard Lautens / Contributor / Getty Images

This is nonsense. There are many poisonous and hallucinogenic plants, which are unhealthy for human consumption. Several drugs as well as weed, heroin, cocaine, magic mushrooms and alcoholic beverages, come from plants. Consuming them is not healthy.

The argument that God created magical plants for people to access higher spiritual states is contradicted by religions that specifically renounce drug use. It is demeaning to those who have achieved spiritual enlightenment to attribute their sacred experience to a drug, rather than to the individual. Fasting, prayer, and meditation help many achieve spiritual awareness, making drug use an unnecessary step. And many chronic marijuana users do not claim to have spiritual awareness.

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