Marijuana use has long been associated with a more positive attitude in pop culture references, but now, new research suggests it might actually make you a nicer person.
A study conducted with 85 regular marijuana users and 52 nonusers suggests there could be a neurological connection between cannabis and empathetic responses. The research was published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research.
Participants completed a test designed to measure empathy, and some had images taken of their brain for researchers to study the region that facilitates an empathetic response.
The test, called the Cognitive and Affective Empathy Test, uses a series of questions with Likert scale answers ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” to measure one’s ability to identify and understand people’s emotions as well as the ability to feel and connect with people’s emotions, sensations and feelings.
Researchers said cannabis users scored higher on the test with emotional comprehension. The cannabis users also had greater connectivity in areas associated with emotional and empathy-related regions of their brains, as seen in the imaging portion.
Like any study, there were some limitations. The high levels of empathetic emotional comprehension may have already been present in the cannabis users before they started regular consumption. The level of THC in the marijuana used could also play a factor, the researchers said.
Since cannabis has generally been associated…