Marijuana Effects on The Brain | Source: Unsplash
Hey there, curious minds! Have you ever wondered what happens to your brain when you consume marijuana?
With the active ingredient THC and a host of other cannabinoids found in cannabis, the effects on the brain are quite fascinating. From the activation of reward centers to slowing down motor skills, there’s a lot to learn. So, sit back, relax, and join us on this journey to discover what marijuana really does to your brain.
The Science Behind The Formation of THC
Cannabis has been around for thousands of years, dating back to around 4,000 B.C. The active ingredient in the plant is mainly tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short. There are a host of other cannabinoids found in cannabis. The one studied the most along side of THC is cannabidiol, or CBD.
Cannabinoids are concentrated in the hair-like structures of the plant, which are called trichomes. The sole purpose of trichomes are to protect the cannabis plant from being eaten by animals and insects. As the plant ripens, THC rich resin and oil glands start to appear concentrated around the future flowers, known as buds.
Cannabis Plant | Source: The Happy Campers
What Exactly Does Marijuana Do to Your Brain?
Short answer, we still do not know all of the details on how exactly THC works. What we do know is that THC primarily effects the cannabinoid receptors: The CB1 receptors.
Science of CB1 Receptors | Source: The Happy Campers
Are you ready to dive deeper into the mind-altering effects of marijuana? Buckle up, because we’re about to take a trip inside your brain!
When you consume marijuana, the star of the show is THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects. While scientists are still unraveling the mysteries of exactly how THC works in the brain, we do know that it primarily affects the CB1 receptors. These receptors are found all over the body, but they’re most concentrated in the brain.
Inside your brain, there are billions of tiny cells called neurons that communicate with each other to control everything from your thoughts and emotions to your movement and balance. Neurons have little arms called dendrites that receive information, which is then sent across the cell to the axons and passed on to other neurons. The messenger that carries this information is called a neurotransmitter, and one of the most important ones for our discussion is dopamine.
Dopamine is a chemical that makes us feel good and motivates us to pursue rewarding activities like eating, exercising, and having sex. But dopamine levels need to be carefully regulated to prevent us from becoming addicted to these activities. That’s where inhibitory neurotransmitters come in – they block the release of dopamine to keep it in check.
Enter anandamide, a natural cannabinoid produced by our bodies that helps regulate our mood, hunger, and memory. Anandamide briefly stops the inhibitory neurotransmitters from blocking dopamine release, leading to a brief surge of good feelings. But THC has a unique ability to mimic anandamide and fit perfectly into our CB1 receptors, allowing it to unlock the floodgates of dopamine release everywhere and for a longer period of time. The result? A euphoric, mind-altering high that can make you feel relaxed, creative, or even paranoid.
But that’s not all – THC also affects other parts of your brain responsible for short-term memory, motor skills, and complex problem-solving. It can slow down your cerebellum and basal ganglia, which control your movement and balance, and impact your ability to remember things. On the other hand, THC can activate your brain’s reward centers, such as the nucleus accumbens, making you feel good when you indulge in your favorite activities.
Effects of THC | Source: The Happy Campers
When you feel relaxed, THC is actively slowing down the cerebellum and basal ganglia. These regions are involved in motor control and balance. When their functions are influenced, they become very slow. THC also effects the neocortex and the hippocampus, which is responsible for storing memory.
What Do You Feel?
Happy feelings come from the activation of the reward centers in the brain such as the nucleus accumbens, which makes you feel good when you eat chocolate, have sex, or listen to music.
If you feel anxious or panicky from cannabis, then that’s the amygdala’s fault. It regulates emotional responses such as fight or flight.
Okay, so THC can be a bit much for some people to handle, but what about CBD? The special thing about CBD is that is has been shown to counteract some of the effects of THC. This leads researchers to believe that cannabidiol is the source of the calming and sedative effects of cannabis.
As the plant naturally makes THC and CBD, breeding to increase the levels of THC leads to a decrease in the amount of CBD that the plant contains, which is not always a good thing.
The Overall Effects of Marijuana Greatly Depends on How You Use it…
Whether you like to smoke, vape or consume cannabis by eating it, each delivery method produces a different effect the body and mind.
If you’ve ever had too much of an edible, then you’ve probably experienced a longer drawn out high compared to smoking or vaping it. The truth is that cannabis has biphasic effects, meaning that a little bit will influence your feelings very differently than a large dose.
Everyone’s body chemistry is different. There really is not one-size fits all dose to consuming cannabis. The best advice anyone can give you when it comes to ingesting THC is to start off slow and track your doses. A large dose to you might just seem like a small dose to the next person.
So there you have it, folks! Marijuana’s effects on the brain are complex and fascinating, with THC primarily affecting the CB1 receptors and leading to a surge of dopamine release.
● Marijuana’s effects on the brain are complex and primarily caused by THC’s interaction with CB1 receptors.
● THC causes a surge of dopamine release, leading to a mind-altering high.
● The effects of THC can include relaxation, creativity, or even paranoia.
● CBD may counteract some of THC’s effects and may be responsible for the calming and sedative effects of cannabis.
● The overall effects of marijuana depend greatly on how it is used, with each delivery method producing a different effect on the body and mind.
● It is recommended to start off slow, track doses, and enjoy the journey.