New research suggests one reason for the popularity of pot may be that it helps people cope with the pain of loneliness.
Why smoke marijuana? Users would probably reply that numbed-out bliss is its own reward. But if smoothing out the harsh edges of reality is your goal, what bruises are you attempting to avoid?
Newly published research suggests that, at least for some, the answer is: The intense discomfort of social exclusion.
“Marijuana has been used to treat physical pain,” reports a research team led by University of Kentucky psychologist Timothy Deckman, “and the current findings suggest it may also reduce emotional pain.”
Given the drug’s long-term health effects, “This may reflect a poor way of coping,” the researchers write in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, “but it may also explain some of the widespread appeal of marijuana.”
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