Sunday, November 01, 2015

Marijuana Makes You Less Aggressive

 In 1972, a report from the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse identified a major difference between marijuana and alcohol use. That is, marijuana won’t throw you into a drunken spiral of rage that alcohol is more than capable of causing.

The US federally commissioned report, entitled “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding,” concluded: Unlike alcohol, marijuana is known to reduce aggressive behavior.

    “Rather than inducing violent or aggressive behavior… marihuana was usually found to inhibit the expression of aggressive impulses by pacifying the user…”

And decades later, Spanish researchers have managed to explain why. 

Published online in the journal Neuropharmacology, their findings show that aggression is another one of the many emotional behaviors regulated by cannabinoid receptors – specifically CB1 receptors.

    “…our findings support an important role for CB1 [receptors] in social interaction and aggressive behavior.”

While cannabinoid receptors come in two different types – CB1 and CB2 – CB1 receptors are far more present in the brain. They’re also responsible for the high that marijuana users experience.

In the new study, researchers bred mice lacking CB1 receptors and recorded their behavior. As expected, mice without CB1 receptors showed higher levels of aggression towards other mice. They also found that a THC-like chemical “significantly decreased the aggression levels” of normal mice.

While perfectly healthy mice (and people) might act out aggressively from time to time, the authors hope their findings will lead to further research on CB1 receptors as a “potential target in the management of aggression-related psychiatric disorders.”

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