With the legalization of Marijuana in many countries and some states, a lot of new research has emerged studying its benefits and side-effects. One study about marijuana and social exclusion recently caught my eye by University of Kentucky psychologist’s Timothy Deckman and C. Nathan DeWall.
DeWall previously published a 2010 paper suggesting that Acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol) reduces the pain of social rejection. A follow-up to his work found that the same painkiller can reduce existential anxiety.
Since Acetaminophen and Marijuana work via similar brain receptors, both researchers wondered whether Weed could also soften the pain of exclusion. They describe four experiments confirming their theory.
Weed Out The Loneliness
Not everyone was born to be a complete Loner. Some Introverts for lack of having close relationships, develop great feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
One of the experiments outlined by Dewall and Deckman, focused on 5,631 Americans who reported their levels of loneliness, their use of cannabis or not, and their feelings of self-worth. The report found a correlation between loneliness and feelings of self-worth, highlighting how these feelings of loneliness and low self esteem were substantially weaker for regular cannabis smokers. They write: “Marijuana use buffered the lonely from both negative self-worth and poor mental health.”
Another experiment of 537 participants discovered that out of those who experienced social pain, the ones who were regular Marijuana smokers were less likely to have suffered a major depression in the past year.
We know that half (if not slightly more) of the population is predominantly Introverted. So, as you will find out below, it comes as no surprise why Marijuana has such a widespread appeal.
Some appreciate the smoother edges marijuana provides on our harsh, fast paced reality:
Smoking really helps me center myself when I’m feeling overly anxious or socially warn out. It helps me sit down and think about what’s really important, and focus on the outside reality instead of what’s going on in my head. ~ Faemonsta (LonerWolf reader)
Others who suffer from some type of social or general anxiety claim it exacerbates their inner feelings further:
Weed makes me think things through more and not be very sociable. Anxiety around other people, for me, comes from this because I start getting paranoid of what other people are thinking about me and how I look. I guess I get very self-conscious when I’m high. ~ Mukant666 (LonerWolf reader)
In many cases Weed, like many drugs, amplifies your present inner emotional state of being.
By now, it seems apparent why Marijuana can be such an attractive drug for some Introverts.
While alcohol is a social lubricant that boosts your energy and frees you from your inhibitions in social settings to be more loud or chatty, Marijuana quiets and slows everything down, enhancing your inner emotions, senses and creative thoughts, allowing you to appreciate the world calmly and alone from the safety of your home.
Marijuana (like alcohol) can also be used as a social crutch. I’ve observed and read of many who use it to slow their anxiety-induced thoughts, to change their personality into one less likely to receive negative evaluation, or to escape from their present reality.
The self-handicapping theory of substance use can also be applied, where marijuana can be used socially so others will attribute negative (i.e. socially awkward) behaviours to the effects of marijuana, not to a flaw in your personality – essentially taking away your responsibility.
So I’m interested to know, what is your opinion? Do you, or have you used Marijuana or any other substance before? You’re free to comment anonymously in the comments section below.