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Study Finds Alcohol Makes You Aggressive; Pot, Pretty Much the Opposite

Pot heads are mellow, drunks can be mean. That’s the common wisdom, and now, thanks to a group of researchers from the Netherlands, it has some scientific validation. In a just-published study in the journal Psychopharmacology, they found that—doh!—people on  booze act out, while people on pot peacefully space out.

“The results in the present study support the hypothesis that acute alcohol intoxication increases feelings of aggression and that acute cannabis intoxication reduces feelings of aggression,” the researchers concluded.

The study itself sounds like fun. In a random, controlled trial, the researchers recruited 21 heavy pot smokers (at least three times a week), 20 heavy drinkers (at least three drinks a day for men, two for women), and a control group of 20 who used neither substance heavily.

alcohol_agression

They then had the drinkers drink until they were too drunk to legally drive (0.08% blood alcohol level) and the tokers vape up 300 micrograms of THC per kilogram of body weight, enough to get them nicely baked. The control group, being the control group, missed out on the intoxicants.

Then all three groups completed a number of tests designed to get people wound up. In one, subjects played a computer game in which the object was to win money by pressing buttons, but players’ efforts were undermined by an “adversary” that took money from them. The adversary was actually part of the computer program. In a second test, known as a “single category implicit association test,” subjects were shown images of violent and aggressive behavior and asked to match positive and negative words to the photos.

The researchers measured aggression by asking the subjects to rate how aggressive they felt on a 100-point scale, and weighed that against a baseline score established by asking them the same question before they had gotten wasted. And they ran the tests one more time a week later, with the same subjects, but without getting them high or drunk.

“Alcohol intoxication increased subjective aggression in the alcohol group,” the researchers found, but pot smokers became less aggressive when baked.

It wasn’t just subjective. While alcohol drinkers rated themselves as more aggressive when drunk, they were also found to be objectively more aggressive, as measured by their willingness to undermine their opponents in the computer game.

We already know that marijuana is a less harmful drug than alcohol, being both far less toxic and less addictive than booze. And now we get some scientific backing for something else that was already patently obvious.

By Phillip Smith       AlterNet       July 23, 2016       Hold the presses
Philip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.
source: www.alternet.org 

 

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Harm Caused By Drugs Table

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How to Reverse the Negative Effects of Marijuana Consumption

Every substance we put into our bodies has an impact on our mind and body functions. Marijuana is the most used illegal substance in the world. Millions of North Americans smoke marijuana occasionally (occasional users) while others use it on a regular basis (chronic users). As mentioned before, marijuana has a series of short and long term effects in several dimensions of the human body, and it’s not as light as presented, especially if there is an addiction or history of extended use, since often an addiction has tragic effects on the addict and their relatives. In this article we will address how to minimize the negative effects of marijuana. If you enjoy smoking or taking this drug, this could be a perfect way to minimize the possible guilt of using the substance and minimizing the negative side effects.

Minimizing and Reversing the Negative Effects of Chronic Marijuana Consumption

• Most people who use smoke their marijuana. Try using a vaporizer to minimize the side effects of the smoke in lungs. Marijuana could be a risk factor in pulmonary diseases like bronchitis or emphysema.
• Give yourself a break! The best way to minimize the effects of marijuana is by taking progressively fewer doses and progressively sensitizing the brain to low quantities. Sensitize is a reverse toleration. Toleration is a common phenomenon in substance abuse and is described as the need for higher substance concentrations to get the same effect . This occurs at a molecular level, where there the neurons get used to a particular quantity of the metabolites involved. If you take a periodic breaks from smoking, from 1 day to 1+ years, you’ll find the effects are stronger, because the brain starts to rebuild and to rest from the intense neurochemical firing, particularly in the brain reward center. If you don’t wish to stop smoking at all, take a few breaks every now and then to rest your brain and lungs, and clean your liver and blood from the chemicals involved. If you cannot stop, it may be a warning sign that you are addicted to cannabis.
• Move your body. Exercise. Smoking harms the body in 1000 different ways and scientists are still learning the effects of smoking in each of our cells. Exercise improves circulation, oxygen absorption, and appropriate wasting of toxins. Exercise is a preventive measure for lung cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It improves cognitive function as well, use exercise to improve your cardiovascular, mood and energy levels.
• Cognitive training. There is a debate if the popular brain gym training pages that circulates through internet are beneficial or not. Some propose that these type of games won’t transfer to real world situations. However, some studies suggest a positive effect in everyday functional outcomes. Games like chess, memory match, scrabble, puzzles, or hand coordination games like jenga, may be beneficial and help the brain to function even better.
• Yoga and anxiety. Some people use marijuana to relieve stress and to avoid anxiety. If you are less anxious, you will probably decrease the desire to smoke. Yoga and meditation have been shown to decrease social anxiety in several populations and improve quality of life. The focused attention on breath and sensations have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
• Detox. The by-products in marijuana are stored in fatty acids and secreted by sweat, feces, and urine. Some of the metabolites can store in your body for months, depending in the doses taken and body fat. Try fasting or detoxification with raw food and juice smoothies.

cannabis-infographic
By Andres Carvajal         Edited by Stephanie Dawson        Aug 19, 2013
 
Sources
  • Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15, 593–600
  • Mendonca GV, Pereira FD, Fernhall B. Effects of cigarette smoking on cardiac autonomic function during dynamic exercise. J Sports Sci. 2011 Jun;29(9):879-86
  • MARIJUANA & THE BRAIN, PART II: THE TOLERANCE FACTOR By Jon Gettman, July 1995 High Times


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Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?

People who have never been abused often wonder why a person wouldn’t just leave. They don’t understand that breaking up can be more complicated than it seems.

There are many reasons why both men and women stay in abusive relationships. If you have a friend in an unhealthy relationship, support them by understanding why they may choose to not leave immediately.

Conflicting Emotions

  • Fear: Your friend may be afraid of what will happen if they decide to leave the relationship. If your friend has been threatened by their partner, family or friends, they may not feel safe leaving.
  • Believing Abuse is Normal: If your friend doesn’t know what a healthy relationship looks like, perhaps from growing up in an environment where abuse was common, they may not recognize that their relationship is unhealthy.
  • Fear of Being Outed: If your friend is in same-sex relationship and has not yet come out to everyone, their partner may threaten to reveal this secret. Being outed may feel especially scary for young people who are just beginning to explore their sexuality.
  • Embarrassment: It’s probably hard for your friend to admit that they’ve been abused. They may feel they’ve done something wrong by becoming involved with an abusive partner. They may also worry that their friends and family will judge them.
  • Low Self-esteem: If your friend’s partner constantly puts them down and blames them for the abuse, it can be easy for your friend to believe those statements and think that the abuse is their fault.
  • Love: Your friend may stay in an abusive relationship hoping that their abuser will change. Think about it — if a person you love tells you they’ll change, you want to believe them. Your friend may only want the violence to stop, not for the relationship to end entirely.

 

stop abuse

Pressure

  • Social/Peer Pressure: If the abuser is popular, it can be hard for a person to tell their friends for fear that no one will believe them or that everyone will take the abuser’s side.
  • Cultural/Religious Reasons: Traditional gender roles can make it difficult for young women to admit to being sexually active and for young men to admit to being abused. Also, your friend’s culture or religion may influence them to stay rather than end the relationship for fear of bringing shame upon their family.
  • Pregnancy/Parenting: Your friend may feel pressure to raise their children with both parents together, even if that means staying in an abusive relationship. Also, the abusive partner may threaten to take or harm the children if your friend leaves.

Distrust of Adults or Authority

  • Puppy-love Phenomena Adults often don’t believe that teens really experience love. So if something goes wrong in the relationship, your friend may feel like they have no adults to turn to or that no one will take them seriously.
  • Distrust of Police: Many teens and young adults do not feel that the police can or will help them, so they don’t report the abuse.
  • Language Barriers/Immigration Status: If your friend is undocumented, they may fear that reporting the abuse will affect their immigration status. Also, if their first language isn’t English, it can be difficult to express the depth of their situation to others.

Reliance on the Abusive Partner

  • Lack of Money: Your friend may have become financially dependent on their abusive partner. Without money, it can seem impossible for them to leave the relationship.
  • Nowhere to Go: Even if they could leave, your friend may think that they have nowhere to go or no one to turn to once they’ve ended the relationship. This feeling of helplessness can be especially strong if the person lives with their abusive partner.
  • Disability: If your friend is physically dependent on their abusive partner, they can feel that their well-being is connected to the relationship. This dependency could heavily influence his or her decision to stay in an abusive relationship.

What Can I Do?

If you have friends or family members who are in unhealthy or abusive relationships, the most important thing you can do is be supportive and listen to them. Please don’t judge! Understand that leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship is never easy.

Try to let your friend know that they have options. Invite them to check out resources like loveisrespect.org, even if they stay in the abusive relationship. To learn more, check out our other tips on helping a friend.