Common Misconceptions About Cannabis

Written by Asia Mayfield

Cannabis acceptance is spreading across the country. According to a 2022 poll, two-thirds of Americans now support federal legalization.

Despite these changing attitudes, stubborn misconceptions still exist. Keep reading to discover the most common myths about cannabis.


1- Cannabis makes you lazy

Everyone knows the stereotype. The stoner hippie wastes their life because all they want to do is get high. Many people believe that if the hippie would just stop smoking, they’d be able to accomplish so much more. The term “amotivational” has been used to describe the cannabis consumer.

However, despite the persistence of this myth, studies show that “daily use of cannabis does not impair motivation.” [1] The authors of this referenced study conclude that “Research informs parents and children that cannabis saps motivation,” and that “emphasizing a cannabis-induced amotivational syndrome in drug prevention does not have empirical support.”


2- Cannabis can kill you

Cannabis is sometimes still viewed as dangerous and deadly. However, no one has ever fatally overdosed on cannabis. People have made deadly mistakes after becoming intoxicated, but their deaths were ultimately caused by other factors.

Additionally, there is a value called the median lethal dose, or the LD50 that provides the dosage that has proven lethal in 50% of the test population of animals. The LD50 of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has not been reported for humans, however, and several literature references report differing values. That said, lab studies have demonstrated that 100s to 1000s of milligrams per kilogram of body weight are tolerable by the animals used in the studies, depending on the animal. The Drug Enforcement Agency website reports that 1,000 mg/kg of THC was the lowest dose that caused death of an animal. (This is pure THC that we are talking about.) To put that into perspective, the LD50 of nicotine has been estimated for humans as 50-60 mg/kg, and that of caffeine for humans is estimated to be 150-200 mg/kg.


3- Indica vs Sativa matters

If you go to a cannabis dispensary and ask the budtender for a recommendation, you’re probably going to be asked if you prefer an indica or sativa. Many users believe that the two cultivar types produce different results. Indicas are supposed to have a sedative effect, while sativas are seen as stimulating and uplifting.

In reality, scientists (e.g., geneticists) have routinely demonstrated that there’s no difference between the two, especially for consumers. Cannabis’ effects are determined by a host of properties, including cannabinoid and terpene content, the plant’s chemovar, and discussions of sativas and indicas as inducing concrete effects in all users are nothing more than “an exercise in futility”. [2]


4- CBD is not psychoactive

CBD can’t get you high, but there’s evidence that it affects your mood such as in treating anxiety and depression. For instance, multiple studies have shown CBD may have a calming effect. [3] The definition of a psychoactive substance is one that affects the mind or behavior. If CBD can treat symptoms associated with mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or psychosis, then it is indeed mood-altering. It may not be psychoactive in the same way as THC, but it is psychoactive. Instead of referring to CBD as non-psychoactive, the molecule can be described as non-intoxicating.



[1] Barnwell SS, Earleywine M, & Wilcox R. Cannabis, motivation, and life satisfaction in an internet sample. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 2006;1(1). [journal impact factor = 2.583; times cited = 66]


[2] Piomelli D, Russo EB. The Cannabis sativa Versus Cannabis indica Debate: An Interview with Ethan Russo, MD. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2016;1(1):44-46. [journal impact factor = 4.786; times cited = 86]


[3] Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: A large case series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041. [journal impact factor = 1.153; times cited = 189]


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About the author

Asia Mayfield

Asia Mayfield is a freelance writer who focuses on the cannabis industry. She can be reached at

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