Researchers from the Netherlands and the UK looked at “Various psychiatric disorders such as major depression are associated with abnormalities in emotional processing. Evidence indicating involvement of the endocannabinoid system in emotional processing, and thus potentially in related abnormalities, is increasing. In the present study, we examined the role of the endocannabinoid system in processing of stimuli with a positive and negative emotional content in healthy volunteers.”
For their research scientists performed a functional magnetic resonance imaging study that “was conducted with a placebo-controlled, cross-over design, investigating effects of the endocannabinoid agonist ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on brain function related to emotional processing in 11 healthy subjects. Performance and brain activity during matching of stimuli with a negative (‘fearful faces’) or a positive content (‘happy faces’) were assessed after placebo and THC administration.”
As suspected, researchers noted reduced brain activity after the administration of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol 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.
Ultimately concluding: “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.”