The great irony is that as we become increasingly connected—on social media, video calling, and messaging—we have never felt so disconnected from each other. My new book, Outsmart Your Smartphone: Conscious Tech Habits for Finding Happiness, Balance, and Connection IRL, reveals all sorts of ways we can improve our feelings of social connection while we’re online. Now I’m exploring how we reconnect to the things that really matter…and that research is what led me to discover CBD.
CBD and Social Situations
A variety of psychoactive drugs are used in social situations, likely because they enhance social connection. For example, many drugs increase socializing and social bonding. So this got me thinking: Could CBD, a medicinal non-psychoactive drug, also enhance social connection? Some initial research suggests that indeed it might.
Although we’re just beginning to understand the effects of CBD, we do know that cannabis (which includes both THC and CBD) can lead to feelings of closeness, empathy, and interpersonal warmth. Is this from the THC or the CBD? Let’s dig a little deeper to find out.
According to the research, THC appears to dull our response to anger in others. When we are less reactive to the anger of others, we may not get in as many arguments, and as a result, we may feel more socially connected to others. Although we know more about the effects of THC, it’s likely not the only reason why cannabis leads to improved social connection.
CBD and Social Interaction
Initial research suggests that CBD may also play an important role in social connection. More specifically, there is evidence that using CBD can reduce anxiety, both mentally and physiologically. It also seems to dull our response to the anxiety expressed by others, so we may be less likely to “catch” the negative emotions of others. As a result, CBD likely makes it easier for us to be at ease when we are with others, which improves social interactions and enhances feelings of social connection.
Given the number of people dealing with anxiety and loneliness continues to rise, CBD may become an increasingly common solution for boosting well-being (take the well-being quiz to learn more about your personal well-being and start building skills that improve it).
Miller, Melissa A, Anya K Bershad, and Harriet de Wit. 2015. “Drug effects on responses to emotional facial expressions: recent findings.” Behavioural pharmacology 26 (6):571.
Dr. Tchiki Davis is a writer, consultant, and expert at the intersection of happiness and technology. After earning her Ph.D. from The University of California in Berkeley in psychology, Dr. Tchiki created The Berkeley Well-Being Institute (berkeleywellbeing.com) to translate the science of happiness in technology products that promote well-being—these products that have reached more than a million people worldwide.