Can Marijuana Reduce Social Pain?

Timothy Deckman, C. Nathan DeWall, Baldwin Way, Rich Gilman, Stephanie Richman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Social and physical pain share common overlap at linguistic, behavioral, and neural levels. Prior research has shown that acetaminophen-an analgesic medication that acts indirectly through cannabinoid 1 receptors-reduces the social pain associated with exclusion. Yet, no work has examined if other drugs that act on similar receptors, such as marijuana, also reduce social pain. Across four methodologically diverse samples, marijuana use consistently buffered people from the negative consequences associated with loneliness and social exclusion. These effects were replicated using cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental designs. These findings offer novel evidence supporting common overlap between social and physical pain processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA005312).


  • depression
  • health
  • loneliness
  • longitudinal methodology
  • neuroscience
  • ostracism
  • social exclusion
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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