By Eric W. Dolan
Research published online May 14 in Social Psychological and Personality Science has uncovered that marijuana buffers people from experiencing social pain.
“Prior work has shown that the analgesic acetaminophen, which acts indirectly through CB1 receptors, reduces the pain of social exclusion. The current research provides the first evidence that marijuana also dampens the negative emotional consequences of social exclusion on negative emotional outcomes,” Timothy Deckman of the University of Kentucky and his colleagues wrote in the study.
The four-part study, which included a total of 7040 participants and three methodologies, was based on previous research that found an overlap between physical and social pain. Acetaminophen, which is used in over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, has been found toreduce physical and social pain.
For their first two studies, the researchers examined cross-sectional data from major national surveys. The first study used data from the National Comorbidity Study and found marijuana users who reported being lonely had higher levels of self-worth and mental health than non-marijuana users who reported being lonely.
The second study used data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. This second analysis found those used marijuana relatively frequently and experienced social pain were less likely to experience a major depressive episode during the past 12 months.