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THC Increases Brain Activity In Response To Positive Stimuli


brain positive stimuli thcLondon, United Kingdom: The administration of THC, the primary psychoactive component in cannabis, 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 reduced 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.”

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “The endocannabinoid system and emotional processing: A pharmacological fMRI study with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol,” will appear in European Neurophyscopharmacology.

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Johnny Green


  1. I would think that might be in the full txt study. I took it as it was tested on non user/recreational subjects as “Healthy Subjects” rather then medical users, etc.

  2. lol yeah, because that happens a lot. I know when I get all hopped up on weed, I always feel like kicking my wife’s butt! …………In words with friends.

  3. Wait for it…. The NIDA still wants to do their study to find the link between marijuana users and spousal abusers.

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