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  • Christopher Smith, Publisher

Study (and Life) Prove that Cannabis Increases Empathy

This story was carried in several sources and I'll cite The Fresh Toast but originally reported in Benzinga, “Study: Cannabis Makes People Better By Increasing Empathy And Sense Of Selflessness” It has a special resonance for me.


A new study, titled “Cannabis Consumption and Prosociality” published in Scientific Reports from the University Of New Mexico analyzed the psychological characteristics of healthy college students under the influence of THC. It turns out, that young adults with recent marijuana use had better scores on standardized measurements of pro-social behaviors, empathy and moral decision-making based on principles of securing harmlessness and a sense of fairness.

I’ll tell you how I know there is truth in these findings. This past week I was in New York City at the CWCBE conference that was hosted flawlessly by our friend Gretchen Gailey. I had taken a redeye flight, had a terrible hotel and barely slept, spent 2 very long days on the floor and at evening events - as you do at conferences. I was exhausted and dehydrated and didn’t know it.

Thursday evening, I went to a party on the roof of a Times Square hotel. I ate a little, had a big glass of water and some club soda, no alcohol – doing all the right things – had one dab, and was fine… but about 20 minutes later I started getting higher and higher. Like the elevator suddenly started shooting toward the top floor. I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t stop it. My head was heating up, the sound went funny, the walls started wobbling, then closing in…

I sat on a little wall, there was about 6 feet from the wall to the edge of the roof so I was never in danger of falling off, but I was in a crisis. I was alone, 3,000 miles from home, I didn’t know a soul at the party, and apparently I went over backwards.

When I came to, I was being held by two people I’d never met or seen before – a white woman and an African American guy. I was really out of it and they looked absolutely terrified, which told me I must have been in really bad shape. But the way they were holding me and supporting my body, I felt completely safe. And for a moment, in this Father/Mother/Holy Ghost position, I thought to myself “Did I just die?”

I was very confused, I couldn’t feel anything except their strong hands and I just wasn’t sure.

But I also knew that if this is what heaven was like, I was OK with the way things had worked out. Their faces told me that up or down, I was in a place I was supposed to be. Words are failing me to express this warm feeling of embrace by people different from me, strangers who were the ultimate friends, but it was glorious.

So Jenny and Dorian, in case you happen to be reading this, I am profoundly grateful to you for being beautiful human beings. For standing with me for more than an hour to make sure I was OK. And to everyone else, I am 100% fine – I knocked out 2 hours of on camera interviews at the show the next day, I’ve worked out, I’m eating, sleeping, drinking oceans of water… I am OK.

No, I’m better than OK because of these wonderful people, and because of this cannabis community that operates at a different level of humanity than any group I’ve ever known. I cherish these relationships and this community. It is special and needs to be honored and protected.


Protected from what, you ask?

We have enemies all around us. Legislators at every level who fail us, law enforcement who steal from us and arrest us, Reefer-Mad Prohibitionists who ban us from their towns (guaranteeing the illicit market will thrive and their kids will always have access to weed), industrial enemies like Big Pharma, Big Tobacco... People who would say, as someone apparently said about me when I went down in New York “Don’t touch him.” (Thank goodness my angels didn’t listen.)

But we all know those enemies, I want to talk about enemies who are inside the wire. Snakes in the Grass. People who pretend to be friends but who attack us from the inside our own community. People who are noisy but cowardly, who have secured our "likes" and "follows" on social media and use them to throw cruel words and false accusations at us. These people are traitors and are betraying all of us, right now in the back channels, on their socials and God knows what other lies and slander they’re saying about us in the real world.

I don’t know why you would do this. I don’t know why but I do know who. I know who is betraying us under their own names, and I know who is working behind the scenes. I won’t name you. Yet. But I know. We know.

What's confounding is, you are people with talent and skill and experience and high levels of education, big job titles. People whom any industry would be proud to include. Why would you risk your integrity and reputations to attack good people?

But worse, why would you do the work of our real enemies? Because who is happier than our real enemies when we start to fight each other. Our enemies want to destroy us, our companies… your companies by the way… why are you helping them?

I don’t know why but I do know this: It must stop.


The State of Cannabis News Hour was created by Susan Soares over a year ago to fight for the plant that we love and respect. She brought together a deeply missioned, impassioned group that share cannabis stories from all media each weekday.

We’ve done 300 shows together, told nearly 3,000 stories together. We have 30,000 people in this community. I am profoundly elevated and grateful to you who present, listen, share, argue, laugh and cry with us, and I don’t know of any other group, organization, or company that’s done as much in such a short time.

I have learned more about what it is to be a human being on this planet at this time from these people here, than in all my decades of life.


To our enemies who are attacking us from the inside, I say this: Take your attacks somewhere else. Use your power, your skill, your energy, somewhere else.

Not only are you humiliating yourselves, you are harshing my mellow, boys and girls. Because (from the top of this article) we know that science says cannabis makes us better humans.

I’ve experienced this truth in the most profound way possible, thanks to Jenny and Dorian, who embraced me with love and caring on a rooftop full of strangers.


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