Happy, relaxed, bubbly, giggly are all adjectives commonly used to describe the immediate effects of that sweet THC hitting our systems. But scores of experiments have sought to prove that weed leads to impulsivity, hostility, poorer overall moods and bad-decision making. So, what are the facts on smoking weed and mood swings?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse sought to capture this information in real-life settings when they asked study participants to answer questions about their daily routines.
The 14-day study utilized a smartphone-based ‘Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) on subjects who used recreational marijuana approximately 4.5 days each month and drank alcohol at least once per week.
“Participants answered questions to assess hostility following any interaction with another person that lasted longer than five minutes,” and were also given end-of-day surveys to measure impulsiveness.
Results showed that marijuana use was correlated with increased impulsivity on the day of use and the following day. Participants also reported higher hostility ratings – for both themselves and their perception of others – on the day they used marijuana.
Keep in mind, however, that the study could not determine whether cannabis had actually caused such effects or if the prior stressors which had led to their use of weed were a factor.
Mind you, weed criminalization might be at least partially to blame for results such as these. People who use weed in areas where it is illegal may indeed be more prone to impulsive and risky, since obtaining the plant requires breaking the law.
Truth be told, once you’re comfortable with justifying and circumventing such rules, it becomes a lot less scary to do so in other scenarios. Those who are dedicated to remaining on the legal side of things are a lot less likely to risk buying an illegal substance and would obviously seem a lot less impulsive in general.
Researchers link impulsiveness with “a higher risk for mental health issues, addiction disorders, and risky behavior, while hostility can be tied to cardiovascular risk, stress-related health dysfunction, troubled intimacy, and other aggressive behaviors.”
But on the flipside, all impulsivity isn’t bad. Beauty executive and Cannabis Feminist entrepreneur Jessica Assaf made the bold decision to apply to Harvard’s Business School during a nighttime smoke sesh. That decision led her to become the first person from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study to be accepted by the elite institution.
And what about all the successful and highly disciplined people who are notable weed smokers? Former NBA player and winner of 11 world championships as coach, Phil Jackson has candidly admitted to heavy marijuana use during his playing days.
The “Greatest Olympian Ever,” Michael Phelps was well on his way to his record 28 medals when he was busted smoking pot (and he was clearly no amateur, even then).
This list goes on and on and surely, many of these figures may display some degree of impulsivity in their personal lives, but to immediately equate this with destructive behavior, that might be a bit of a reach. If anything, weed most likely enhances the characteristics that someone already possesses. Sounds like a personal problem, bro.