The use of cannabis has been on the rise in recent years, and with it, has come a surge of interest in the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active psychotropic ingredient in cannabis. In this article, we will explore the different ways in which THC impacts the body and mind. We will look at how THC affects the brain, how it impacts physical and mental health, and how it interacts with other substances. Finally, we will discuss the potential risks and benefits of using THC. By the end of this article, readers should have a better understanding of the various ways THC can affect the body and mind, and why it is important to understand these effects before using cannabis.
What are the long-term effects of THC use?
THC works by binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, which are responsible for regulating pain, mood, and other physiological processes. Long-term effects of THC use can include impaired memory, impaired judgment, reduced coordination, anxiety, and changes in appetite. Long-term use can also lead to tolerance and dependence, as well as more serious physical and psychological effects.
Is there a difference between THC and CBD?
THC is the compound in cannabis that produces the psychoactive effects that are commonly associated with marijuana use. CBD on the other hand, is a non-psychoactive compound that is known for its medicinal benefits. THC works by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, while CBD works by activating the body’s own natural endocannabinoid system.
What are the benefits of using THC in combination with CBD?
THC and CBD are both cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant. When used in combination, they can provide a range of benefits. These include relief from pain, inflammation, anxiety, and stress. In addition, THC and CBD can work together to provide a more balanced, calming effect. They can also help to regulate the endocannabinoid system in the body, aiding in the overall health and wellness of the individual.
How does THC affect the brain?
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main active ingredient in cannabis that produces the psychoactive effects when consumed. When THC enters the bloodstream, it quickly makes its way to the brain where it binds to cannabinoid receptors that are located in areas responsible for pleasure, memory, coordination, and concentration. This binding process causes changes in brain function that can lead to euphoria, altered senses, and a decrease in anxiety. THC can also affect the hippocampus, which is responsible for learning, memory, and emotions. Long-term use of THC can result in impaired memory and cognitive function.
How does CBD interact with THC?
THC acts on specific receptors in the brain and central nervous system, known as cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. When THC binds to these receptors, it produces a psychoactive effect, which is the high associated with marijuana use. CBD does not act directly on the same receptors, but instead influences the body’s natural cannabinoids to either block or boost the effects of THC. This can help to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC while still allowing the user to experience its medical benefits.
You might think you have, but as the above classic Doonesbury cartoon implies, people who are high on cannabis may perceive mundane objects to be far more fascinating than usual. How is it that a plant that first emerged on whats now the Tibetan Plateau can change humans perception of reality? The secret lies in a class of compounds called cannabinoids. While cannabis plants are known to produce at least types of cannabinoids, theres one thats largely responsible for many of the effects of feeling high. Its called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Related Why does alcohol make you sleepy, then alert? Edibles take slightly longer trip through the liver, where enzymes transform THC into a different compound that takes a bit longer to have an effect on peoples perception of reality. Within 20 minutes, the circulatory system is carrying molecules of THC to every tissue in the body, including the brain, where it can alter neural chemistry. The THC molecules that pass the blood-brain barrier will find that they fit snugly into receptors that ordinarily receive compounds called endocannabinoids, which the body produces itself. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in several functions, including stress, food intake, metabolism and pain, according to Piomelli, who also directs the Center for the Study of Cannabis at UC Irvine. Neurotransmitters are molecules that brain cells, or neurons, use to communicate with each other. One neuron sends a message to the next by releasing neurotransmitters, such as dopamine or serotonin, into an infinitesimal gap that separates one neuron from the next. The gap is called the synapse. The neuron on the receiving end of the synapse is called the postsynaptic neuron, and it decides whether to fire based on the input it receives, Drew told Live Science. These neural signals cascade through intricate circuits of neural connections that function on a tremendous scale there are about 85 billion neurons in the brain and as many as trillion connections among them. The presynaptic neuron sends neurotransmitters across the synapse to the postsynaptic neuron, Piomelli said. But the presynaptic neuron can also receive information. When a postsynaptic neuron has fired, it can send a message across the synapse that says, the neuron I come from has been activated, stop sending neurotransmitters, Piomelli said. It sends this stop message in the form of endocannabinoids that bind to a receptor called cannabinoid 1 CB1. Related Whats worse for your brain alcohol or marijuana? THC doesnt cause the most extreme possible response like some synthetic cannabinoids such as K2 or spice, but it does turn up the volume and increase the likelihood that the presynaptic neuron it affects will temporarily stop sending neurotransmitters, she said. When presynaptic neurons across the brain get the memo to stop sending neurotransmitters, this alters the normal flow of information among neurons and results in a high. Thats because, in part, U. But from what researchers have gathered so far, THC appears to temporarily unplug the default mode network. This is the brain network that allows us to daydream and think about the past and future. When our brains are focused on a specific task, we quiet this network to let our executive function take control. Theres evidence that THC has a significant effect on the network, but researchers arent quite sure how it happens. There are cannabinoid receptors all over the brain, including in areas that constitute the key nodes of the default mode network, Piomelli said. It could be that THC deactivates the default mode network by combining with those receptors, but its also possible that THC quiets the network through an indirect effect that involves cannabinoid receptors in other brain regions. Scientists are still working to find the mechanisms that result in a person feeling high, but theres some reason to think this effect on the default mode network is a significant piece of the puzzle. CBD Which marijuana compound is more beneficial? Unplugging the default mode network takes us into a mental place where the function of the things we experience is less important than the things themselves our hands are no longer just something we use for touching or grabbing, but something with inner existence and intrinsic value, Piomelli said. Psychedelics, such as LSD or dried psilocybin-containing mushrooms, do the same thing. However, people can experience highs differently. Related 25 odd facts about marijuana. THC doesnt just affect the default mode network. It may also, in the short-term, flood the brain with dopamine, the brains reward signal, according to a study in the journal Nature opens in new tab. Long-term, it may blunt dopamines effects, the study found. That, in part, may explain some of the euphoria associated with a high, and places cannabis in the company of other drugs that people use to feel pleasure.