empathy and cannabis users
empathy and cannabis users

Want More Empathy and Understanding in the World, Smoke More Weed! - Cannabis Users Show More Empathy in New Study

Empathy grows in people that regularly use cannabis vs. those that do not!

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Friday Dec 29, 2023

empathy and understanding using cannabis

Cannabis Users Are More Empathetic - Why Cannabis Users Keep Our Communities Peaceful


Anyone who has a stoner friend in their life can tell you that that friend is easily the most laid-back, chilled out, and nicest person they know.


By contrast, alcohol drinkers are known to be violent, aggressive, and chaotic.


Apparently, there’s a science to why weed smokers are nice and laid-back, perhaps even more understanding an empathetic. A recent study whose results were released just on November 2023 analyzed a group of 51 non cannabis users against 85 regular consumers. The researchers utilized a standardized test called the Cognitive and Affective Empathy Test (TECA), which is used to determine how empathetic a subject is using affective and cognitive empathy.

Additionally, the researchers used MRI scans to determine activity in parts of the brain that are responsible for empathy. What they found was nothing short of amazing: psychometric exams revealed that marijuana consumers generated higher scores when it came to emotional comprehension, compared to non-users. However, they do warn that there’s a possibility that marijuana users were already more empathetic before they began consuming cannabis.


Further, the MRI tests revealed that regular marijuana consumers had “greater connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the pre-posterior central gyrus (pr-pCG),” which means that parts of the brain associated with empathy had stronger activity. According to the authors, “the ACC is a region that is prone to the effects of cannabis consumption and is also greatly involved in empathy, which is a multi-component process that can be influenced in different ways. In the present study, regular cannabis users scored higher on emotional comprehension when compared to non-users,” they wrote.


“We believe the differences shown by regular cannabis users in the emotional comprehension scores and their brain functional connectivity, could be related to the use of cannabis. However, we cannot discard that such differences were present before the users started their use of cannabis,” said the researchers.


The authors concluded by saying they “believe that these results contribute to open a pathway to study further the clinical applications of the positive effect that cannabis or cannabis components could have in effect and social interactions.”

The study, led by University of Mexico’s Jacob Vigil, has been studying the connection between empathy and cannabis users for a while now. In 2022, he released “Cannabis Consumption and Prosociality”, which was also published in Scientific Report; in this paper, he discusses their discovery that cannabis users tend to score higher when given standardized assessments of empathy, prosocial behaviors, as well as moral decision-making.

In an interview with The Paper, he explains that “There’s different dimensions of moral foundations, and the cannabis users scored higher on the dimension of harmlessness – being benign and protective of vulnerable individuals – as well as higher in the dimension of fairness – wanting for there to be quality across individuals.”


In a press release, Vigil has been quoted saying that he thinks the plant is a ‘super medicine’, “because it is not only effective for treating the symptoms of a wide range of health conditions, quickly and relatively safely, but now we have concrete evidence that it may also help improve the average person’s psychosocial health.”


It’s really fascinating when you think about it!


There is also a deeper connection to our communities as a whole. Studies have shown, for instance, that marijuana legalization has effectively reduced illegal drug trafficking and violence in areas where it has legalized. It does so, because when the drug is legal, it takes away the money and power that the illegal drug trade gives drug cartels.


Even in the family unit… There is research showing that frequent cannabis consumption among married couples is usually a predictor of less partner violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in every 4 women and 1 in 9 men suffer through severe physical violence caused by their partners. But marijuana use has, surprisingly, been shown to be a factor in reducing its occurrence.


“These findings suggest that marijuana use is predictive of lower levels of aggression towards one’s partner in the following year,” explains Kenneth Leonard, PhD, lead researcher of the study. “As in other survey studies of marijuana and partner violence, our study examines patterns of marijuana use and the occurrence  of violence within a year period,” he adds.

“It is possible, for example, that – similar to a drinking partnership – couples who use marijuana together may share similar values and social circles, and it is this similarity that is responsible for reducing the likelihood of conflict,” he says.


 When you put it all together, it can begin to look easy to explain how cannabis can be a predictor of better morality and empathy, which benefits our families, societies, and communities as a whole.



How Cannabis Promotes Peaceful Communities Through Kinder People


Widespread use and accessibility of the plant doesn’t just lead to more peaceful, empathetic people; it benefits the community as a whole, too.


Studies have shown that cannabis use reduces organized and violent crime from cities that have legalized it. In addition, police can also focus on other more important tasks instead of working to enforce cannabis criminalization – which history has shown us time and again, it simply doesn’t work. Legalizing weed can reduce crime and even


Through cannabis legalization, the negative stigma surrounding cannabis use has already faded. However, we still have a long way to go.


One thing’s for sure: cannabis is changing people for the better!





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