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Marijuana Makes You Less Aggressive? Study Explains Why

By on August 11, 2013
Unlike alcohol, marijuana seems to reduce aggressive behavior.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana is known to reduce aggressive behavior. – 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 probably 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:

“Rather than inducing violent or aggressive behaviour… 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 behaviours 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 behaviour. 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.”

  • Whycan’twegetalong

    Brown was loaded with two different types of cannabinoids, in both his blood-recent, and his urine–ingested hours before. Let’s say this is a heavy pot smoker, but is he violent as a result?

    Research studies reveal some long time users develop reactions to certain stressful situations that can result in outbursts of violent behavior….”These studies have revealed that cannabinoids act as neuromodulators for a ….. object exploration, social interactions, and increased aggressive behavior.”

    Even worse are synthetic cannaboids which are used to ‘wet’ blunts like those stolen cigars….”Synthetic Marijuana Can Cause Teens to Be Unresponsive, or Aggressive … who arrived at the emergency room showing signs of abnormal behavior”.

    “Dec 2, 2013 – It focuses on synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones, following with a …. agitation, and violent behavior — are also characteristic of synthetic …”

    “ul 27, 2014 – adverse events after suspected ingestion of synthetic cannabinoids. … vomiting, high blood pressure, tremor, seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, and violent … ”

    There was no indication of the origin of the cannaboids in Brown’s blood and urine; but we do know that it is possible that long time use of marijuana by an 18 yr. old can result in violent outbursts under certain conditions like being confronted by a police officer, knowing you just committed a violent robbery, and facing possible arrest.

    Popular culture believes that smoking marijuana makes you mellow and less likely to engage in violent behavior; BUT NOT ALWAYS, depending on the type of cannabinoids, the age of the smoker, and the situation.