Some people may turn to weed for anxiety, sleep and creativity. New research suggests it could also make you a nicer person.
The findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research, suggests there could be a connection between cannabis use and empathy.
A study of 85 regular cannabis users and 51 nonusers asked participants to complete a test that measures empathy. Researchers also used brain imaging to study some of the subjects, analyzing a region of the brain that plays a central role in mediating the empathic response.
The recent research shows an association between cannabis use and empathy, but doesn’t prove cause and effect, said Carrie Cuttler, a psychology professor at Washington State University.
“We have no idea if it’s that the people who are more empathetic to begin with are more likely to use cannabis,” Cuttler said.
Or there may be another reason such as “a personality trait or difference in lived experience, that is driving people to be interested in using cannabis and have higher empathy as well,” Cuttler said. “There’s not enough evidence to convince me yet that the cannabis is causing them to be more empathetic.”