Researchers from The Netherlands published a study in the European Neuropsychology journal that focused on the effects of THC on humans while processing emotional content. They found that THC decreased brain activity when faced with negative stimuli.
The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology to gauge the study subjects’ brain activity. Subjects were shown faces expressing different emotions and then asked whether the person was happy or fearful. This gauged whether THC would effect how the subjects perceived others’ emotions.
Their findings were quite interesting, to say the least: THC decreased brain activity in response to the negative stimuli, but not for the positive stimuli. One researcher stated that “These results indicate that THC administration reduces the negative bias in emotional processing.”
The “negative bias” refers to when a person gives more weight to negative experiences than positive experiences. For example, it’s common for people to be afraid of all dogs after being attacked by a dog. This fear remains embedded in the subconscious despite the many positive experiences a person has had with a dog(s). This reveals to us that negative emotions may be stronger and have more of an impact on someones long-term psyche than positive emotions.
When a negative bias is prevelant in a person’s everyday interactions, it has been linked to depression. Depressed patients often have this negative bias which causes them to perceive events in more of a negative way than people without depression. This leads to the notion that THC could be very useful in naturally treating depression and PTSD.