A comprehensive four-part study conducted at the University of Kentucky has found marijuana to be helpful in reducing the pain associated with social exclusion, and that it may combat against depression, and may lead to higher self-esteem.
“The current research provides the first evidence that marijuana also dampens the negative emotional consequences of social exclusion on negative emotional outcomes,” stated Timothy Deckman of the University of Kentucky in the study.
The four-part study, which included 7040 participants and three methodologies, began with a study using data from the National Comorbidity Study – it found that marijuana consumers who reported being lonely had higher levels of self-worth, as well as overall mental health, compared with non-marijuana users who reported being lonely.
The second study used data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, and found that those who use marijuana relatively frequently and experienced social pain were less likely to experience a serious episode of depression over the course of the past year.
The third study surveyed high school students, examining levels of depression, loneliness and lifetime marijuana consumption. The students were surveyed again two years later. Researchers found that marijuana use predicted lower levels of depression among students who were considered to be lonely.
The final study had participants play a computer game called Cyberball, which was reprogrammed to consistently ignore the participant, in order to evoke social exclusion. Researchers found that marijuana users had a smaller decrease in self-esteem after the game was finished.
You can find the study published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science by clicking here.