Some studies are so ridiculously obvious — “Electric Fans Keep You Cool!” or “Being Homeless Is Detrimental To Your Health!” — that you wonder why the researchers even bothered. Add another one to the list.
Scientists at the Washington State University have discovered evidence that chronic cannabis consumers remain more relaxed under stress. The study, published in the August issue of the journal Psychopharmacology, revealed that those that use marijuana daily are much calmer than non-users.
“This study is actually quite novel and new and different from those that have been previously conducted,” Carrie Cuttler, assistant clinical professor in WSU’s psychology department and the lead author of the study, told the Spokesman-Review.
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The study’s methodology was unique in that it all of the participants refrained from consuming cannabis on the day of testing. Here is how the study was conducted:
Forty cannabis users and 42 non-users were randomly assigned to complete either the stress or no stress conditions of the Maastricht Acute Stress Test (MAST). The stress condition of the MAST manipulates both physiological (placing hand in ice bath) and psychosocial stress (performing math under conditions of social evaluation). Participants gave baseline subjective stress ratings before, during, and after the stress manipulation. Cortisol was measured from saliva samples obtained before and after the stress manipulation. Further, cannabis cravings and symptoms of withdrawal were measured.
What the Cuttler and her team wanted to answer this basic question: Would a daily cannabis consumer experience stress-relieving effects even while sober?
“There have been studies before that looked at whether people were high or not high,” she said, “but nobody’s looked at sober cannabis users.”
According to the study, stress ratings were “significantly higher in non-users in the stress condition relative to non-users in the no stress condition.”
Cannabis users demonstrated “blunted stress reactivity,” meaning they showed significantly smaller increase in subjective stress ratings.
So next time somebody suggests you take a chill pill, you may want to reach for a joint.