Improve Your Health and Become a Better Person Overall With Medical Marijuana!
Updated: Jul 11, 2022
Some exciting news in the world of cannabis research: Not only can medical marijuana help you find relief from your qualifying conditions, but it can make you a better person!
Researchers at the University of New Mexico recently found that THC use by undergraduates was associated with more empathy and more prosocial tendencies than was demonstrated by those subjects who did not use marijuana. Furthermore, the findings indicate that the THC use is the cause of the increased empathy rather than only being correlated with it.
The researchers point out that these findings are the opposite of some stereotypes associated with marijuana use. They also note that this is one more way in which medical marijuana is a superior option than opiates.
UNM Researchers Find Link Between THC and Prosocial Behavior
The psychology researchers at the Medical Cannabis Research Fund who uncovered these exciting findings conducted a series of psychological tests designed to measure prosocial and antisocial tendencies and beliefs to 146 healthy UNM students.
Those tests revealed that THC users showed higher levels of empathy and better moral decision making than did nonusers. But as the lead researcher noted, this finding wasn’t entirely unexpected, as this isn’t the first time marijuana users in a study have shown greater prosocial impulses than their THC-free counterparts.
Cannabis Empathy Study Inspired by Users’ Lack of Financial Motivation
Jacob Vigil, lead author of the study said he was inspired to study the link between cannabis and prosocial behaviors after learning that marijuana users were less motivated by money than nonusers. He told the news site Benzinga.com that he hoped his work would inspire similar research, because it’s important to dispel the stigma about cannabis and because empathy is so important to a functioning society.
“Most investigations on the effects of using cannabis have focused on either negative consequences of cannabis addiction or on the physical health effects of cannabis use,” Vigil said. “Almost no formal scientific attention has been devoted to understanding other psychological and behavioral effects of consuming the plant, despite it being so widely used throughout human history.”
“Prosociality is essential to society’s overall cohesiveness and vitality,” Vigil continued, “and therefore, cannabis’ effects on our interpersonal interactions may eventually prove to be even more important to societal well being than its medicinal effects.”
Beyond Correlation, Researchers Say Cannabis Use Is Likely Causing Increases in Empathy
As the old saying in science goes, correlation does not equal causation. Just because there is a relationship between two variables doesn’t mean that one is causing the other, or that researchers can conclusively say which is the cause and which is the effect.
So in the case of this study, couldn’t it be that cannabis users start out more empathetic than people who abstain, and that for some reason people who are more empathetic are attracted to marijuana?
According to Sarah Stith, a UNC professor of economics and one of the researchers on the study, the team is confident that the marijuana use is causing the empathy and that people aren’t just more likely to use cannabis if they are more empathetic.
Stith said that test subjects demonstrated more empathetic and moral thinking when they had recently used cannabis. In other words, the more recently students dosed marijuana, the higher they scored on prosocial tests. That suggested to researchers that the empathy was resulting from cannabis use.
“Positive benefits seem to really be correlated with the recency of cannabis use,” Stith told the Daily Lobo, “which makes it hard to say that people are just consuming cannabis when they're feeling pro-social.”
Once Again Medical Marijuana Proves to be Better Than Opioids
Vigil noted another important aspect of the study: It demonstrates yet again the superiority of medical marijuana over opioids, which are often prescribed for pain management instead of cannabis. While Vigil told the Daily Lobo that he couldn’t say for sure if marijuana is addictive or not based on the study he and his team conducted, he could say it would be better to have pain patients hooked on marijuana than opioids even if cannabis is addictive.
“The relationship (between an opioid user and significant others) turns from one of the individual with other human beings to one of the individual with that opiate… Obviously, most people that use cannabis tend to do it again, because they'd like the effects. (But) marijuana at least tends to promote sociality,” Vigil said.
Cannabis Researcher Hopes to Empower Patients to Make the Right Decisions for Themselves
Vigil said he hopes their work inspires people to conduct other studies so that patients can have a fuller picture of marijuana’s effects, and decide for themselves if it’s the right treatment for them.
The more information researchers seek out about cannabis, the more informed patients can be.
“I think that the biggest impact I hope to see is that other researchers, and ourselves as well, will continue to research into this area and explore it with greater depth and bigger data sets,” Stith told the Daily Lobo. “There's so much for us to learn, but ultimately, it comes down to the individual's decision, and that is my goal as a scientist… to provide my family and my community more options for navigating their own health,” Vigil said.
Researcher Hopes Study Will Help Dispel False Stereotypes About Cannabis
Stith said she hoped their findings would encourage more people to look past the stereotypes and social stigmas associated with cannabis.
“(With cannabis use) you typically would expect there to be negative externalities (in the study results),” Stith told the Daily Lobo, the UNC student newspaper. “You know, maybe there's some negative behavioral changes or secondhand smoke or things like that, but in this case it's suggesting, actually, that people might get along better if they were consuming cannabis, which is pretty extreme,” Stith said.
Why Not Feel Better and Be Better? Find Out if Medical Marijuana is Right for You Today!
Imagine finding superior relief from your medical conditions and becoming a better person in the process. It might just happen for you if you get a Virginia Marijuana Card!
Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our experienced, compassionate cannabis doctors. You’ll meet with your new doctor via a telemedicine appointment, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You’ll learn if you qualify for a Virginia Marijuana Card (and get one if you do) without even leaving your home!
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