By Gwyn Wright via SWNS
Smoking cannabis can make you a nicer person, according to a new study.
Researchers have found people who recently took the drug were more empathetic than non-users and made decisions based on a sense of fairness and desire to avoid harm to others.
Academics in the US say the drug may shift people away from thinking they always come first towards a sense of selflessness and responsibility towards other people.
Cannabis-smoking men were also found to have more agreeable personalities.
People who had smoked cannabis more recently were found to be nicer than people who had taken it less recently.
People who did not use the drug were not found to be angrier, more hostile or less trusting of others than cannabis users.
They also did not score differently on measurements of extraversion, emotional stability, conscientiousness, openness or moral decision-making based on respecting authority and preserving purity, and they did not respond differently to facial threats.
For the study, researchers at the University of New Mexico studied the personalities of healthy university students.
They measured their cannabis intake by examining the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their urine.
The study is one of the first to show cannabis use among healthy young adults makes them nicer.
Earlier research has focused on the negative effects of the drug on addicts and its effects on users' physical health.
The study’s lead investigator Professor Jacob Miguel Vigil said: “Most investigations on the effects of using cannabis have focused on either negative consequences of cannabis addiction or on the physical health effects of cannabis use.
“Almost no formal scientific attention has been devoted to understanding other psychological and behavioral effects of consuming the plant, despite it being so widely used throughout human history.
“I often refer to the cannabis plant as a super medication, relative to most other conventional pharmaceutical products, because it is not only effective for treating the symptoms of a wide range of health conditions, quickly and relatively safely, but now we have concrete evidence that it may also help improve the average person’s psychosocial health.
"Prosociality is essential to society’s overall cohesiveness and vitality, and therefore, cannabis’ effects on our interpersonal interactions may eventually prove to be even more important to societal wellbeing than its medicinal effects.”
Study author Professor Sarah Stith added: “The transience of the effects supports that cannabis is triggering behavioral and perceptual changes rather than that cannabis users and non-user differ fundamentally in their baseline approaches to social interactions.”
The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
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