Ever had a joint and felt like you could understand people on a whole other level? Science would back you up. People who smoke weed officially “have more empathy” than everyone else, according to a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience Research.
Researchers at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México compared the brain activity of regular weed smokers with the rest of us, and found that their anterior cingulate (the region linked to empathy) was particularly active. In effect, this made the stoners more capable of sensing others’ feelings, and better able to feel someone else’s emotional state within their own body.
The findings from MRI brain scans were paired with an emotional comprehension test, which scored people on their cognitive empathy (the ability to understand other people’s emotions), and affective empathy (being able to physically sense what others are feeling).
“We believe that the differences shown by regular cannabis users in the emotional comprehension scores and their brain functional connectivity could be related to the use of cannabis,” said study co-author Dr Victor Olalde-Mathieu, but added that they cannot discard that “differences were present before the users started their use of cannabis”.
Feeling the love is pretty sweet, but researchers believe the findings could have real-world implications for treating disorders that affect people’s social interactions. “Although further research is needed, these results open an exciting new window for exploring the potential effects of cannabis […] for conditions like sociopathy and social anxiety,” said Dr Olalde-Mathieu.
However the results are used, no one’s in doubt that the world could do with a little more empathy. Anybody got a king skin?