Bad Vibes? Heavy Marijuana Users Hold On to Negative Feelings


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SAN FRANCISCO– Many individuals tend to reflect on the past with rose-colored glasses, keeping in mind the great times and the excellent feelings … while forgetting the bad.

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But a brand-new research study recommends that heavy marijuana users might have some difficulty releasing negative feelings connected to memories– a phenomenon that’s likewise seen in individuals with anxiety. Earlier research study has actually likewise connected marijuana usage with anxiety.

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Although the brand-new outcomes are really initial, the findings, provided here on Friday (May25) at the yearly conference of the Association for Psychological Science, might use hints about the link in between marijuana usage and anxiety. [25 Odd Facts About Marijuana]

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The research study checked out a mental phenomenon called “fading affect bias,” where individuals tend to hang on to favorable feelings connected to their memories more than they hang on to negative feelings. In other words, negative feelings associated to our memories fade faster than favorable ones.

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Psychologists have actually assumed that this phenomenon, which is normally seen in individuals without psychological health conditions, might work as a sort of “psychological immune system,” stated research study lead author Daniel Pillersdorf, a college student in psychology at the University of Windsor inOntario This might be “so that we think more pleasantly in general, and don’t have that cognitive burden of holding on to negative emotions associated with memories,” Pillersdorf stated.

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Some previous research studies have actually recommended that this fading affect predisposition might be various for individuals who utilize drugs, however no research studies have actually taken a look at whether marijuana usage might impact this phenomenon.

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In the brand-new research study, the scientists examined details from 46 heavy marijuana users– the majority of whom utilized the drug a minimum of 4 times a week– and 51 individuals who didn’t utilize marijuana. Participants were asked to recall, and offer written descriptions of, 3 enjoyable memories and 3 undesirable memories from the previous year. The individuals were then asked to rate the strength of feeling connected to those memories, on a scale of negative 10, suggesting exceptionally undesirable, to favorable 10, or exceptionally enjoyable. They ranked their feelings both at the time the memory was made, and at the present time. (Marijuana users were not under the impact at the time the scientists inquired the concerns.)

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The scientists discovered that both marijuana users and non-users revealed fading affect predisposition, however for marijuana users, the fading was a lot less.

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“They were hanging on to that unpleasant affect over time, much more” than non-users, Pillersdorf informed LiveScience “They were less able … to shed that unpleasantness associated with their memories.”

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The research study likewise discovered that marijuana users tended to remember life occasions in more basic terms than particular ones. For example, when inquired about a pleased occasion in the previous year, marijuana users were most likely to react with basic or broad responses such as “I went on vacation,” instead of remembering a particular occasion or day, such as “I attended my college graduation.” This phenomenon is referred to as over-general autobiographical memory, and it’s likewise related to anxiety, Pillersdorf stated.

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It’s essential to note that the brand-new research study discovered just an association and can not figure out why marijuana users reveal less fading affect predisposition, and more overgeneral memory, than non-users.

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Even so, the brand-new findings concur with previous research study that has actually discovered a link in between heavy marijuana usage and anxiety. However, scientists do not know why marijuana and anxiety are connected– it might be that marijuana usage contributes in establishing anxiety, or that individuals who are currently depressed are most likely to utilize the drug. [7 Ways Marijuana May Affect the Brain]

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Based on the brand-new findings, one hypothesis is that the reduced “fading” of negative memories in marijuana users might be contributing to the advancement or continuing of anxiety, Pillersdorf stated. “It might be that, persistent or regular marijuana usage is putting [a person] more at threat for the advancement or continuing of anxiety,” he stated. However, Pillersdorf worried that this is simply a hypothesis that would require to be examined with future research study.

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To even more examine the link, scientists will require to research study marijuana users and non-users over extended periods of time. For example, scientists might begin with individuals in their late teenagers or early 20 s, who do not have anxiety, and see if those who utilize marijuana regularly are most likely to ultimately establish anxiety than non-users.

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Additional research studies might likewise examine whether other compounds have a result on fading affect predisposition, Pillersdorf stated.

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The research study has actually not yet been released in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Original short article on LiveScience

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