There are many states in the US that are slowly but surely warming up to the legal presence of marijuana in medical and recreational settings. The advent of the Colorado Amendment 64, compounded with many inconclusive studies on marijuana’s effect on the brain sparked yet another study to investigate the effects that the use of the marijuana has on its users and their ability to adequately process emotions implicitly and explicitly.
Marijuana’s Effect on the Brain: The Study
Seventy subjects were chosen, and they each identified themselves as being a chronic user, a moderate user, or a non-user of marijuana. The electrical activity in their brains was measured through the use of an electroencephalogram (EEG), to assess how they process emotions. Various human faces were shown to the subjects while they were connected to the EEG. The faces depicted either a neutral expression, or a display of happiness, anger, or fear. As it turns out, marijuana users demonstrated difficulty – in comparison to the non-users in the study – when asked to explicitly identify the emotion exhibited on the faces, but showed a higher affinity to identifying the negative emotion of anger. Implicit identification also seemed to be compromised in that of marijuana users when asked to place emphasis on the sex of the face.
To conclude, the results of the study infer that the use of marijuana does, in fact, impair one’s ability to understand, identify, and process emotions appropriately. Marijuana usage appears to reduce the level of empathy one experiences.Back to Blog