Friday, July 12, 2024

Should You Blame Cannabis For Feeling Blah

Some people get a case of the blues or the blahs.  But blaming anhedonia on cannabis isn’t really based in science.

The blues, the blahs, depression, or just feeling sad happens to must people. Relationship issues, bad news, stress and a lack of social outlets emerge over and over in data as major causes of feeling blah. Almost everyone has felt “down in the dumps” at times or had a case of “the blues.” In this state, you may have referred to yourself as feeling depressed. But over 5% suffer from some form clinical depression. But should you blame cannabis for feeling blah?  Marijuana has components which, used in moderation, make you feel happy, but it has gotten a bad reputation.

There is a myth cannabis use causes Anhedonia. It is the inability to experience joy or pleasure. You may feel numb or less interested in things that you once enjoyed. It’s a common symptom of many mental health conditions like depression. Marijuana use has been accused of trigger this ailment, but the facts are not there to back up the statement.

RELATED: 5 Morning Activities To Help You Feel Happier

No one is advocating those under 21 should use marijuana or alcohol, since the brain is still developing.  But marijuana has not be truly proven to cause depression, laziness, or blocking the feeling of pleasure. Research has shown THC in cannabis causes an increase in levels of dopamine, the pleasure chemical, in the brain. Used in moderation, it can have a positive effect.  And, in the right dose, can also relieve anxiety, which tends to help people approach life more positively.

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Photo by Edu Lauton via Unsplash

Cambridge University has published a paper showing adolescent cannabis users are not more likely to “lack motivation and the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures.”  This shows  the stereotypical cannabis user as often portrayed by the media is not grounded in science. The study was carried out by researchers from UCL, Kings College of London Institute of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and the University of Cambridge. The results were published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. From the research, regular cannabis users had slightly lower scores for anhedonia.

RELATED: Science Says Medical Marijuana Improves Quality Of Life

Another study, published in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, showed a null relationship between anhedonia and regular cannabis use. The researchers used data from an earlier study that had investigated cannabis use in teens, called the “CannTeen study.”

Researchers examined 274 participants including adults (26-29 years) and adolescents (16-17 years). The participants were regular cannabis users who had used cannabis in the last three months, with an average use of four times per week. The Snaith Hamilton Pleasure Scale was used to measure anhedonia while the Apathy Evaluation Scale was used to measure apathy.

The results showed that the control group (those who didn’t use cannabis or didn’t use it regularly) had higher levels of anhedonia. This was quite surprising and contrary to the widely held belief that regular cannabis use diminishes one’s enthusiasm for life.

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