Weird Science: Bromances & Marijuana Miracles

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Weird Science: Bromances & Marijuana Miracles

This Week in Weird Science: We finally understand the evolution and complexities of the bromance, which has not only paved the way to bro-hugs but also provides scientific-backing to “bros before hos.” Beyond the bro, researchers out of Australia have found that extreme athletes have a dopamine-riddled, almost LSD-like experience when performing death-defying stunts. And, finally, why our brains can’t process stripes.


The decline in homophobia has paved the way to bromance.

“I love you, Man” is the new norm. Thanks to a decline in homophobia, straight men are now comfortable to embrace “bromances” with other men, according to a study in the journal Sex Roles.

The evolution of the bromance is one of rejection and dyssemia. The report describes the bromance as men being “more emotionally intimate, physically demonstrative, and based upon unrivaled trust and cohesion compared to their other friendships.” What started off as handshakes, morphed into fist bumps, chest bumps, and finally hugs.

To uncover the newfound relationship, the study’s authors interviewed 30 undergraduate, “mostly heterosexual” men in attempt to understand the complexities of “the bromance”—e.g. A bro’s willingness to share secrets, emotional intimacy, physicality.

All 30 men who were interviewed said they’d been in at least one bromance. Some described their bromance as a romance without the physical intimacy; others considered it more of a brotherhood; and still others shared an emotional and physical connection similar to that of a proper relationship.

“They were clear that a bromance offers a deep sense of unburdened disclosure and emotionality based on trust and love,” said Stefan Robinson, lead author, from the University of Winchester, in a statement. “Contrary to the repressive homosociality of the 1980s and 1990s, these men embrace a significantly more inclusive, tactile, and emotionally diverse approach to their homosocial relationships.”

The authors went on to suggest that these relationships can lead to a healthier masculine culture, one in which bros comfort bros. In a weird way, this study provided scientific backing for “bros before hos.”


Weed actually improves memory; it doesn’t hinder.

The stereotype of a red-eyed, forgetful stoner who speaks in terms of conspiracy theories and “yeah, man” may be completely inaccurate if new research out of Germany proves correct in humans—that marijuana can not only stop but also reverse memory loss associated with aging.

The study, published in Nature Medicine and conducted by researchers out of the University of Bonn, concluded that, when low-doses of THC were administered to old mice, the rodents cognition and learning abilities vastly improved. Old mice actually regressed to the state of two-month-old mice with the prolonged THC treatment.

The researchers examined three groups of mice—aged 2 months, 12 months, and 18 months—and tested their cognitive abilities with and without the influence of THC. Without THC, mice displayed the natural age-dependent learning and memory losses—younger mice were able to learn and remember much better than older mice. When THC was administered, the grandparent mice performed just as well as the youngins.

“The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals,” reported author Professor Andreas Zimmer from the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn. “With increasing age, the quantity of the cannabinoids naturally formed in the brain reduces…When the activity of the cannabinoid system declines, we find rapid aging in the brain.”

Cannabis seems to have turned back the molecular clock, and it has scientists wondering what these results could mean for reversing dementia in humans. If science can manipulate cognition in mice, it suggests there’s the possibility it can work in humans. Who’d have thought it’d be the drug most associated with memory loss?


Extreme sports athletes don’t actually have a death wish.

What made Felix Baumgartner BASE jump from outer space? What forces compelled Evel Knievel jump his motorcycle across Snake Canyon? Why would Andy Samberg ever make Hot Rod? Mothers, scientists, concerned citizens have struggled to understand what tempts people to participate in death-defying stunts. For years, psychologists assumed adrenalin junkies harbored an inner deathwish, much like how Freud assumed all men secretly want to bang their mothers. But new research by Eric Brymer out of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has debunked that long-standing myth.

“They are highly trained individuals with a deep knowledge of themselves, the activity and the environment who do it to have an experience that is life enhancing and life changing,” said Brymer in an QUT release.

“The experience is very hard to describe in the same way that love is hard to describe. It makes the participant feel very alive where all senses seem to be working better than in everyday life, as if the participant is transcending everyday ways of being and glimpsing their own potential.”

He went on to describe how BASE jumpers see all sorts of colors and nooks and crannies of rocks as they zoom past them, and free climbers feel as if they’re floating and dancing with the rock, merging with nature. Both of which sound eerily like an acid-trip.

“Extreme sport has the potential to induce non-ordinary states of consciousness that are at once powerful and meaningful,” he added. “These experiences enrich the lives of participants and provide a further glimpse into what it means to be human.”

Top photo by Pixabay

Tommy Burson is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen San Diego but with more sunscreen and jorts.

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