A new study published in Psychopharmacology has found regular cannabis use can, over time, reduce the risk of anxiety and blunt stress responses in stressful situations, including when a person is sober. In the study, which involved 40 regular cannabis users and 42 people who had little to no experience with cannabis, non-cannabis users reported feeling anxious and exhibited high levels of cortisol in stressful scenarios, while cannabis users reported less anxiety, and exhibited no change in cortisol levels. Prior to the study, all participants abstained from use for 12-18 hours. Results also found that patients did not exhibit heightened cannabis cravings when stressed.
Co-author, researcher, and clinical assistant professor at Washington State University explains, “Based on our findings, the potential effects of cannabis on stress do appear to extend beyond the period of intoxication… But we’re not yet comfortable saying whether that muted stress response is a good thing or a bad thing.” Both too much and too little cortisol can prove problematic, with too much resulting in negative side effects and leading to various conditions, and too little preventing a person from producing an appropriate stress response. More research is necessary in order to determine whether reduced cortisol levels are beneficial or detrimental.
Learn more about this study by reading this article on Leafly. This information has been reviewed and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.