This Major Marijuana Myth Was Just Busted

Photographed by Tayler Smith.
There have been many studies about the possible side effects of weed, but the most recent research conducted by the University of Southhampton's Dr. Conal Twomey reveals that there's one thing it may not actually give you: anxiety. Broadly reports that while past research has linked weed to developing anxiety disorders and anxiety in general, that has now been firmly debunked.

"Randomly in a 'journal club' meeting, I found out that most existing studies on the apparent (and widely publicized) cannabis-anxiety link were cross-sectional in nature," Dr. Twomey told Broadly. That means the sample size only included smokers, which begs the question, "Is cannabis use causing anxiety, or are people with anxiety more likely to use cannabis due to the reported stress-relieving functions of the drug?"

With that in mind, Dr. Twomey gathered 60,000 subjects for 10 longitudinal studies, zeroing in on demographics, mental health, and substance abuse. At the end of it all, he found that people who smoked weed were only 1.15% times more likely to develop elevated anxiety symptoms.

"When study quality was taken into account, the odds ratio dropped to a non-significant level (1.04)," Twomey says. "So I conclude that cannabis use is — at worst — a minor risk factor for the development of anxiety for the average person in the general population."

When it comes to weed, anxiety may be off the table. Whether or not you can legally smoke it, however, is a different story.

This month we’re celebrating High January by leaving our stoner stereotypes behind. Instead, we’ll take long-time smokers and total newbies through all the various complexities of the current cannabis world. It’s 2017 and we’re ready to blaze a new trail.

(Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws. To learn more, click here.)
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