Takeaway: A plant that can be consumed in a lot of different ways and still produce similar effects. Marijuana has seen an incremental development in its THC content from 1% to 30%. Depending upon the quality, quantity and mode of consumption our brain cells release dopamine and makes us high. Brain functions such as problem solving, learning and hand-eye coordination are affected. Its positive effects include mood elevation, pain relief and sleep. All of this is possible because of our endo-connabinoid system that works in harmony with marijuana and THC.
Marijuana is an aggregation of shredded leaves, flower buds, and stems of the Cannabis plant. It is a plant that can be smoked, vaporized, brewed, eaten, and even consumed topically, but the majority of users smoke it.
The effects of marijuana mostly come from the intoxicating chemical in the substance – Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC.
According to a particular study, the THC content of marijuana has soared over the years from 1% in 1972 to about 30% as at now. The increment in the potency of the substance has presented some difficulties in understanding how marijuana works.
How People Consume?
A survey carried out in the year 2010 indicated that about 17.4 million citizens of the United States reported that they had taken marijuana, at least, in the previous month.
From that time, many states in the country have legalized marijuana either medically or recreationally. In 2016 another study revealed that 1 out of 8 people smoke marijuana and out of the adult population in the US, 43% admit using the substance to understand how marijuana works.
Consuming Marijuana as Smoke
Most users consume the substance in the form of smoke, a study by NIDA reports. It is mostly formed into cigarettes by spreading on rolling papers – It is called joint in this form.
Smoking the substance will release the THC, which will then absorb into the lungs before entering into the bloodstream. Another way to use marijuana is through bongs, bubblers, and glass pipes.
Consuming Marijuana as Food
Another way to feel the effect of marijuana in the body is through ingestion. Common in users taking the substance for medical purposes. Besides the famous pot brownie, users can add edible marijuana to food, which can include ice cream, candy, and butter. People can also consume marijuana in liquid form. It can be brewed as a tea and can also add in other beverages like alcohol, milk, and soda.
How Does Marijuana Affect The Mind?
The effect of marijuana is felt in the same pleasure center of the brain that is being targeted by alcohol, cocaine, and heroin.
How marijuana works?
The effect of cannabis will depend on the quality, quantity, and the mode of consumption. It works by activating brain cells to release Dopamine. When inhaled, the feeling of highness happens immediately. When users consume marijuana as food, it will take a longer time to take effect.
Users can experience other changes in their moods. While most users report that they feel relaxed after consuming, some users report a change in appetite, changes in perception of what the time is and some tend to be more on the alert.
How marijuana work in the body will also depend on the individual taking the substance, potency, and the frequency at which the substance is being consumed.
THC and the Brain
For us to understand the way marijuana affects the brain, we need to understand the parts of the brain being affected by THC.
Find below the basics:
- The cells which process information in a human’s brains are called neurons
- The neurons communicate with one another with the aid of chemicals known as neurotransmitters.
- The introduction of foreign bodies like THC can imitate or even block out the actions of these neurotransmitters and eventually interferer in their typical functionalities.
The brain contains a group of cannabinoid receptors, which are concentrated in many locations on the brain and affect some functions of the brain, including:
- Short-term memory
These cannabinoid receptors are triggered by a particular neurotransmitter called known as anandamide – It is also like THC but produced in the body.
THC can imitate the actions of anandamide, by binding with these cannabinoid receptors to activate neurons and eventually causing the adverse effects of marijuana on the body and mind.
Marijuana produces the best effect when taken minimally. Users that consume large doses of the substance are likely to experience an acute psychosis, which may include delusions, hallucinations, and loss of identity.
THC can also alter the way the orbitofrontal cortex and the hippocampus function. These are areas of the brain responsible for the formation of new memories and help an individual divert their attention focus.
THC use will, therefore, result in impaired thinking and also interfere with the user’s ability to perform complex tasks and learn.
The function of the basal ganglia and the cerebellum is also affected by THC – These are the brain areas responsible for balance regulation, reaction time, coordination, and posture. It is the reason why people with excessive THC consumption have difficulties in driving a car safely.
Benefits of THC
The National Institute of Health reports that the effects of marijuana on humans have been experienced for almost 3,000 years through its usage for the treatments of different ailments.
The FDA has, though, not fully approved the use of THC in the treatment of any medical condition, but many people have reported the benefits of consuming the substance, especially in the treatment of some specific ailments.
- THC provides pain relief
- THC has been used in the treatment of vomiting and nausea in cancer patients.
- THC has been used in the treatment of insomnia
- Patients who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have also found THC to be of great benefits in easing their stress and pain
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system, ECS, is a class of neuromodulatory fats as well as their receptors and they are evenly distributed across the mammalian tissues. The ECS is responsible for the regulation of lots of nervous, cardiovascular, and immune system functions in the cells.
The entire function of the ECS is not understood, but it has been proven that ECS and the ECS and the body need to be in tune for full functionality of man. ECS is reported to help in the promotion of homeostasis, which affects appetite, sleep, mood, memory, inflammation, pain, and even reproduction.
So basically, the ECS helps in the regulation of homeostasis in the entire body system to ensure that all these systems are working in tune with one another.
There are many ways by which the effect of cannabis can be consumed and felt. However, it is the only expert that can best understand how cannabis produces its impact
.. Nonetheless, whatever you do, play safe when consuming your cannabis and make sure you seek the help of a professional in the medical use of marijuana to learn more about its effects. That way, you will be able to know when to take, when not to consume and what dose to consume.