Washington State University Study Finds Regular Pot Smokers React Far More Calmly Than Non-Users to Stressful Situations

Article by Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post via Toronto Star

Your stoner friend really is a lot more relaxed than you, scientists confirm A Washington State University study found that regular pot smokers react to stressful situations far more calmly than non-users. The results of this research are somewhat unsurprising: Surveys show that “relaxation” is the No. 1 reason cited by marijuana users for why pot is their drug of choice. This research confirms that they’re probably not just deluding themselves.

Recreational marijuana use is now legal in eight states plus the District of Columbia, giving public health researchers more leeway than ever to investigate some of the foundational underpinnings of cannabis culture: How much weed is in a joint? What happens to your brain when you get high?

And now: Are chronic marijuana users really more relaxed than everyone else?

You might be surprised to learn that the research to date on this question is mixed. One recent study found that while low doses of THC (the active chemical compound in pot) helped people cope with stressful situations, moderate to higher doses actually made people stress out even more.

But that particular study simply measured the effects of a single dose of THC — what about the effects of repeated heavy cannabis use?

Enter new research from Washington State University, recently published in the journal Psychopharmacology. The study recruited two groups of 40 people: One group had used marijuana nearly every day for at least a year, and the other comprised people who weren’t marijuana users.

Half of each group, users and non-users, was subject to a particularly anxiety-inducing laboratory test commonly used to measure stress responses: They had to dunk their hands in a container of cold water for anywhere from 45 to 90 seconds, and then count backward from 2,043 by 17, getting reprimanded by lab workers whenever they got a number wrong.

As if that weren’t bad enough, they were also shown a live video feed of their faces as they attempted to count.

Read full article here.

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