Marijuana provides psychological relief to those faced with social exclusion

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Cannabis marijuana leafResearch published online May 14 in Social Psychological and Personality Science has uncovered that marijuana buffers people from experiencing social pain.

“Prior work has shown that the analgesic acetaminophen, which acts indirectly through CB1 receptors, reduces the pain of social exclusion. The current research provides the first evidence that marijuana also dampens the negative emotional consequences of social exclusion on negative emotional outcomes,” Timothy Deckman of the University of Kentucky and his colleagues wrote in the study.

The four-part study, which included a total of 7040 participants and three methodologies, was based on previous research that found an overlap between physical and social pain. Acetaminophen, which is used in over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, has been found to reduce physical and social pain.

Aceteminophen and marijuana both affect cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain and both drugs are used to treat physical pain.

For their first two studies, the researchers examined cross-sectional data from major national surveys. The first study used data from the National Comorbidity Study and found marijuana users who reported being lonely had higher levels of self-worth and mental health than non-marijuana users who reported being lonely.

The second study used data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. This second analysis found those used marijuana relatively frequently and experienced social pain were less likely to experience a major depressive episode during the past 12 months.

The third study employed a longitudinal design. The researchers surveyed high school students regarding loneliness, lifetime marijuana use, and depression. The same students were surveyed again two years later. The study found that marijuana use predicted lower levels of depression among students who were lonely. For students who were not lonely, however, marijuana had little impact on depression.

The fourth and final study employed an experimental design with a control group. For this study, the participants played a computer-based game called Cyberball. The preprogrammed 3-player game is designed to evoke social exclusion and rejection by consistently ignoring the participant. Deckman and his colleagues found marijuana users had a smaller decrease in self-esteem and belonging following the game.

“Marijuana has been used to treat physical pain, and the current findings suggest that it may also reduce emotional pain,” the researchers concluded. “This may reflect a poor way of coping with social pain, but it may also explain some of the widespread appeal of marijuana.”

  • acephalist

    Why can’t they just report their findings without drawing unwarranted conclusions or making subjective moral judgments?

  • allie


  • Glen

    The EU did a study showing the use of Marijuana I. The ages of 14 to19 Causes Depression in adulthood. At 43 when I look around my at my fellow co workers, friends and family I would conclude that is indeed the case. For a short bit of fun – you get a lifetime of pain, loneliness, and maybe a dose of schizophrenia that must be treated with medication.

    • JackDaniel07

      Your co-workers, friends, and family just called….the party starts at noon on Saturday…OOPS! You weren’t supposed to know

    • schizophrenia? How much did you inhale and for how many years..

      • fufu


    • In my experience, the accumulating effects of prohibition-driven discrimination on the psyche of cannabis-users are the cause of depression in later life and cannabis is the remedy. Don’t you find it ironic?

  • dog

    Cannabis is an amazing plant, it’s a shame it’s still so illegal in most places in the world.

  • angela

    doesn’t the “smoking” of anything damage your lungs? does mj come in some other form, like a pill?

    • name

      Yes, it comes in pill form. and u can cook it in food. Also available in candy and soda and a bunch of other forms

  • Bhusan Bista

    Not a surprising matter that the things does the effect because were made expecting the same.Obviously,when one run from his responsibilities n use something that which has the power that can alter your mood but when the effect started to getting low, at that point he goes to same or more than the condition what he had before………so the artificial solution does not helps us to get rid of from the pain & problems forever rather it makes more serious .