For decades, cannabis has been a topic of heated debate. While many have focused on its potential health risks, a recent study has shed light on an entirely different aspect: its impact on prosocial behaviour.
Prosociality refers to actions intended to benefit others, such as showing empathy or helping someone in need.
So, does cannabis consumption make us more prosocial? Let’s dive into the findings of this intriguing study.
A Closer Look at Cannabis and Prosocial Behaviour
Researchers Jacob Miguel Vigil, Sarah S. Stith, and Tiphanie Chanel embarked on a mission to understand the relationship between cannabis consumption and prosociality.
Their study, published in the esteemed journal Scientific Reports, involved 146 healthy young adults aged between 18 and 25.
These participants were divided based on the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis – in their urine.
Here’s what they discovered:
- Empathy and Fairness: Cannabis users scored notably higher on the Empathy Quotient and measures of Moral Fairness. This suggests that they might be more attuned to understanding and sharing the feelings of others.
- Prosocial Actions: Those with detectable THC levels were more likely to engage in prosocial behaviours, indicating a potential inclination to help others.
- Personality Traits: Interestingly, while female cannabis users exhibited higher levels of aggression, male users showcased a stronger sense of agreeableness.
- Ingroup Loyalty: One area where cannabis users scored lower was Ingroup Loyalty, hinting at a reduced sense of allegiance or loyalty to their immediate group.
What Does This Mean for Society?
The implications of this study are vast and varied. For one, it challenges the long-standing narrative that paints cannabis in a purely negative light. Instead of focusing solely on the potential risks, we now have data suggesting that cannabis might enhance certain positive social behaviours.
However, it’s essential to approach these findings with a balanced perspective. While increased empathy and prosocial behaviours are undoubtedly positive, the reduced sense of ingroup loyalty and the gender differences in aggression and agreeableness warrant further exploration.
The study also found that the prosocial tendencies associated with cannabis use decline over time after consumption. This temporal aspect suggests that while cannabis might induce a temporary boost in prosocial behaviours, it’s not a permanent change.
A New Perspective on Cannabis
In conclusion, the relationship between cannabis and human behaviour is complex and multifaceted. This study offers a fresh perspective, suggesting that cannabis might play a role in enhancing our prosocial tendencies, at least temporarily.
However, as with all scientific research, it’s crucial to remember that correlation doesn’t imply causation. While the study provides compelling insights, more research is needed to fully understand the nuances of cannabis’s impact on our social behaviours.
For now, though, it’s heartening to see the narrative around cannabis evolving, moving beyond just its risks to explore its potential benefits. As society becomes more open to the idea of cannabis, studies like these pave the way for a more informed and balanced discussion.