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Drug addiction experts at the University of Kentucky have recently discovered something that addicts have long known: that marijuana helps us escape loneliness and social exclusion.

While we always appreciate those who are trying to do more to advance the knowledge of the effects of drug addiction, we are surprised that experts are only now realizing that this is one of the reasons people smoke weed in the first place.

The so-called Reagan Babies were raised on the idea of “Just say ‘no’.” Shouldn’t that have been a dead giveaway that those susceptible to smoking pot are—at least in part—motivated by a desire to be socially included? You know, that whole peer pressure deal?

Granted, the research upon which this new study was conducted really is groundbreaking stuff. Apparently, most people did not realize just how powerful that discomfort within us actually can be, and that alone is important to furthering more drug addiction research. When coupled with the research that suggests physical and emotional pain travel similar pathways in the brain, it is a compelling reason to investigate what drives us as addicts to destroy all that surrounds us for a high that just is not worth it.

The conclusions of the study have somewhat dubious implications, though. The conclusions found in the research were that “marijuana use consistently buffered people from the negative consequences associated with loneliness and social exclusion.”

The researchers do note, however, that “humans have a fundamental need to belong…Hurt feelings motivate us to fix our relationships and re-establish social connection.”

The importance of this note cannot be understated. The researchers are not suggesting that marijuana is a cure or a solution to loneliness and social exclusion, but rather that the ill effects become less intolerable.

To truly escape from these constant feelings that most addicts feel daily, meaningful relationships need to be established and changes made. If a person gets hurt during a certain activity, the solution to not getting hurt is to no longer participate in that activity—not to medicate the pain and persist with that action.

Avoiding a problem is not the same as solving a problem. Becoming ambivalent to a problem does solve a problem, either. That said, it also assumes that a person is consistently having a problem.

Of course, people smoke weed for a number of reasons, but many people also misidentify why they do it. They might feel that they do it to be more creative, but that would suggest that the person does not believe they are capable or good enough to create something unless high. Some may say they do it for recreation, but really, they might just not know how to have fun any other way in social situations. These are just a couple of instances, but ones that come up often.

That inability to feel comfortable from within unless high is indicative of a larger issue, and the temporary removal of the primary motivating factor (i.e.; pain) often leads to the vicious cycle that is drug addiction.

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