Stressed out? A little pot can help with that, according to a new study. Stress-related health issues are nothing to play around with. Stress happens to be one of the primary causes of heart-related disorders, weight gain, depression, family discord, general unhappiness, and is a condition we all battle with to some degree. Environmental factors that contribute to one’s stress levels can range from continuous financial difficulties to conflicts at work, societal pressures and expectations, health issues, sudden losses, relationship distress, and well, just life.
What the research shows
The fact that we can’t control every, single thing that happens to us is enough to make stress a part of most of our daily lives. The Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence recently looked into the effects of THC on the “emotional responses to acute psychosocial stress,” and came up with some significant, and rather obvious findings for pot lovers and fortunately, it’s looking more and more like weed might be able to help us significantly reduce the most common condition of all.
The University of Chicago began the study to evaluate whether cannabis smokers really do receive the stress relieving benefits that they tend to report. Since there are very few clinical studies that back up these claims, the study sought to “assess the influence of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a main active ingredient of cannabis, upon emotional responses to an acute psychosocial stressor among healthy young adults.”
The study separated 42 participants into three groups. According to Elite Daily,
One group received a low dose of THC (7.5 mg), another group received a moderate dose (12.5 mg) and the third set of subjects were a placebo group, meaning they received a capsule containing no THC at all.
The participants were then asked to prepare for a mock job interview in which they were asked a series of questions, including being told to “count backward by subtracting 13 from a five-digit number,” to deliberately induce stress.
Each participant assessed and rated their own stress level directly after the task, and was also evaluated with respect to their physiological symptoms (blood pressure, cortisol levels, and heart rate).
The subjects who received the lowest dose of THC had fewer negative emotional or stressful responses to the task, while those given a more moderate dose of THC reported more negative moods throughout.
The findings conclude that low doses of THC can reduce the emotional impacts of stress, but that “higher doses may non-specifically increase negative mood.”
It’s the dose that counts
Marijuana’s temporary impacts on short-term memory may have negative effects on one’s ability to focus in high-stress situations, thus leaving an individual dissatisfied with his or her performance.
This may account for some of the negative responses in the moderate THC group. However, the findings are on par with cannabis micro-dosing, which is showing great promise for its ability to improve mood without producing psychoactive effects like paranoia and lethargy.
So, when it comes to battling the effects of stress, just a little bit of weed may be all you need to get by.