Study: THC Increases Brain Activity In Response To Positive Stimuli

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 27, 2013

    The administration of THC modulates emotional processing in healthy volunteers, according to placebo-controlled crossover trial data published online by the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.

    Investigators from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands performed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on 11 healthy male subjects. Following the administration of THC or placebo, researchers assessed subjects’ brain activity during their exposure to stimuli with a negative (‘fearful faces’) content or a positive content (‘happy faces’). They hypothesized that THC administration would reduce subjects’ negative bias in emotional processing and shift it towards a positive bias. A bias toward negative stimuli has been linked to diagnoses of certain mental illnesses such as depression.

    As anticipated, authors reported a reduction brain activity after THC administration when subjects’ processed stimuli with a negative emotional content. Conversely, researchers reported increased brain activity following THC administration when subjects’ processed stimuli with a positive emotional content.

    They concluded: “These results indicate that THC administration reduces the negative bias in emotional processing. This adds human evidence to support the hypothesis that the endocannabinoid system is involved in modulation of emotional processing. Our findings also suggest a possible role for the endocannabinoid system in abnormal emotional processing, and may thus be relevant for psychiatric disorders such as major depression.”

    An abstract of the study, “The endocannabinoid system and emotional processing: A pharmacological fMRI study with ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol,” appears online here.

    23 Responses to “Study: THC Increases Brain Activity In Response To Positive Stimuli”

    1. Charles says:

      I have intaken cannibus on multiple accounts. personally I have experienced weird things. I could see into things more clearly sch as I saw inside of my body and felt impulses of vomit coming low and behold 5 10 minutes later vomited. I think marijuana can open up your mind and has no negative effects whatsoever. pure marijuana allowed me to see things in different angles and perspectives and I have also expirenced which I believe was large amounts of my cerebral cortex being overdrived. just want to share my accounts and strange encounters. yes I have consumed only marijuana no laced no spice or any synthetics.

    2. lockedoutofmyshed says:

      cerberus…if your comment was directed to my words,yes, we already know all of this but, for someone perusing this blog knowing nothing about what people get from cannabis other then a great buzz,i feel its good to let them know their is more benefit in using it….have a great day my friend!

    3. Joel says:

      It is natural medicine, but unlike alcohol or any other drug, prescribed or sanctioned, no one has ever passed away from a marijuana overdose.

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