Study: Alcohol Amplifies Aggression but Cannabis Diminishes It

Article by Eric W. Dolan, PsyPost

Alcohol intoxication amplifies feelings of aggression while cannabis intoxication diminishes feelings of aggression, according to research published in Psychopharmacology.

The study of 61 participants found alcohol consumption increased aggressive responses during a computer-based experiment designed to measure aggression, while cannabis consumption reduced aggressive responses.

PsyPost interviewed the study’s corresponding author, Elizabeth de Sousa Fernandes Perna of Maastricht University. Read her responses below:

PsyPost: Why were you interested in this topic?
We wanted to investigate the link between alcohol, cannabis and aggression in healthy individuals who regularly consume alcohol or cannabis. Alcohol consumption has long been associated with acts of aggression and violence, whereas cannabis use is not typically associated with aggression. We were primarily interested to see how alcohol and cannabis would acutely affect subjective feelings of aggression next to physical acts of aggression when exposed to aggression stimuli.

What should the average person take away from your study?
It is important to keep in mind that while alcohol intoxication can increase feelings of aggression in regular alcohol users, it does not automatically mean that it will lead to behavioral acts of aggression in a real-life setting. The same is true for cannabis, but vice versa, cannabis intoxication does not automatically lead to a reduction of aggressive behavior in regular cannabis users. The results of our study indicate that intoxication with alcohol is more likely to lead to aggression compared to cannabis intoxication.

Read full article here.

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