Myth vs. Fact: Marijuana and Alcohol

Marijuana and alcohol are both widely used on college campuses nationwide. There are a lot of different misconceptions about marijuana and alcohol use, including sayings like: “marijuana is safer than other drugs” and “I can just drink some coffee to sober up.”  This post is all about examining those myths and setting the record straight.

  • Myth: Marijuana is harmless.
    • Fact: Marijuana use can cause significant health, safety, social and learning problems. Marijuana use has been linked to anxiety, memory loss, trouble sleeping and difficulty thinking or concentrating. Additionally, college student who use marijuana have reported missing class and lower productivity, which can have negative impacts on academic functioning.
  • Myth: Marijuana is not addictive.
    • Fact: Research shows that marijuana use can lead to physical dependence. Heavy marijuana use has been linked with withdrawal symptoms, like irritability, trouble sleeping, and anxiety. Marijuana can also lead users to develop a social dependence on marijuana, leading them to keep using it, despite its impact on other activities and relationships.
  • Myth: Driving high is safer than driving drunk.
    • Fact: Marijuana impacts alertness, concentration, perception, coordination, and reaction time, which are all essential skills for safe driving. In Washington, you can also get a driving under the influence (DUI) violation for driving after using marijuana, which has major legal and financial repercussions.
  • Myth: I can drink and still be in control.
    • Fact: Drinking impairs your judgment, which increases the likelihood that you may do something you regret later, like having unprotected sex, being involved in date rape, damaging property, or being victimized by others. Among college students, alcohol contributes to deaths from unintentional injuries, assaults, and poor academic functioning.
  • Myth: I can sober up quickly when I need to.
    • Fact: It takes about 2 hours for your body to eliminate the alcohol content of a single drink, depending on your weight. Not even coffee or cold showers can speed this process up.
  • Myth: Beer doesn’t have as much alcohol as hard liquor or wine.
    • Fact: A 12-ounce bottle of beer has the same amount of alcohol as a standard shot of 80-proof liquor (including in mixed drinks) or a 5-ounce glass of wine.


Want to learn more? The Wellness Initiative is hosting Seeing Double: Separating Substance Use Fact from Fiction – a one-day program on January 24th, 2017 that will provide students with information about alcohol and marijuana use.  Join us all day long to “Test Your Vision” in interactive activities, get your questions about alcohol and drug use answered from an expert panel, and learn the latest science behind alcohol and marijuana use at our evening keynote address.

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