You have probably noticed that some people can spend hours planting and transplanting their flowers and look like they are in some kind of blissful state. Maybe, you are one of them? British scientists say that gardening can indeed affect you like an antidepressant, making you calm and happy, and there are special bacteria to blame for this effect.
Of course, you can feel happy from being proud that you are successfully growing such a wonderful plant, especially when it comes to growing marijuana. You see it germinating from a seed into a tender sprout and with every day becoming stronger and stronger until you get a real reward—beautiful flowers. Of course, it is a valid reason to feel good about yourself.
However, there is more than simply being satisfied with your work. Scientists in the University of Bristol, UK, have found out that a special bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, that lives in soil can enlighten your mood by activating your serotonergic neurons. To reach that happy state, it is apparently enough just to inhale these bacteria, and chemistry will do the rest.
The study was conducted on mice. The scientists injected bacteria into the windpipes of sleeping mice, which simulated inhalation, and studied their brains' reaction to that change. They saw that after the mice had woken up, their serotonin levels were increased.
Serotonin is known as a special neurotransmitter that provides us with the feeling of happiness and calm. Since M. vaccae can work as an antidepressant decreasing anxiety, it can probably help people regulate their mood during stressful periods or illnesses.
Another study on the same bacterium showed even more interesting results: it seems that M. vaccae can temporary increase the ability to learn faster and to think more productively.
Dorothy Matthews and Susan Jenks from the Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, conducted several experiments on mice to see whether M. vaccae influences the ability of mice to go through a maze. And indeed, the mice that were fed with M. vaccae showed significantly better results comparing to the control group of rodents.
This positive effect is not permanent: already in three weeks, the mice who got their dosage of M. vaccae went back to the same level of “smartness” as the mice that never tried the “magic bacteria.” However, it makes us wonder whether having access to soil with M. vaccae all the time can make real changes in our ability to learn, guess, and invent new ideas.
So, how do we get these wonderful bacteria that can make us happy and smart? Luckily, you do not need to do anything special: just growing plants indoors or outdoors is already enough. People inhale them when there is soil around, especially if there is a natural compost in the soil, like, for instance, cow dung. Maybe, it does not smell like roses, but if it can really make us smarter, most of us would agree to suffer a bit.
At least now, when we know about these properties of M. vaccae, it becomes clearer why cannabis growers like growing their own plants so much: it makes them “high” even before the buds go ripe! However, it does not work if you grow cannabis with aeroponics or hydroponics. But at least that can be compensated by a bigger yield, so there is no need to get disappointed.