How You Get High: What Marijuana Does to Your Brain

You perceive the scene: It’s a Friday obscurity, everyone’s hanging out, and someone pulls on the ~side a joint. Choosing to smoke pair joints (or even just take a blow in ~s of one) is illegal in ut~ states, but we’re not going to finish into the medical marijuana debate in the present life. We’re not even going to chat about if smoking marijuana is shabby for you (hint: the results are of various kinds). Rather, we’re interested in in what way Mary Jane affects the brain. Read in c~tinuance for the lowdown on THC, cannabidiol, anandamide, and other stormy-to-pronounce chemicals found in Jay and Silent Bob’s favorite plant.

How the Herb Works

Each small bud and leaf of the marijuana breed is composed of hundreds of chemicals, goal scientists have mainly studied just brace main compounds: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive mingle, but it does contribute to making the smoker feel calm and relaxed. In reality, cannabidiol has so many rock-eminent person qualities that scientists are trying to outline out how to turn it into a unsalable article. Cannabidiol contains analgesic (aka pain-relieving), anti-fiery, and antipsychotic properties that have the possible to treat patients with schizophrenia, Parkinson’s complaint, anxiety, and even cancer.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (try aphorism that 10 times fast!), a limb of the cannabinoid chemical family, is specifically liable for the psychological and physical interest effects that occur as a ensue of lighting up. Smoking reefer can produce feelings of euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, scattered thoughts, lack of concentration, impaired recollection, drowsiness, and even sudden panic or paranoia. Bud affects the bod, too: Marijuana smokers may experience physical furniture like increased heart rate, red eyes, sharp mouth, and increased appetite.

What Happens in the Short-Term?

THC gets movin’ quick. Within seconds, the drug hits the brain and goes to township on the brain’s cells, called neurons. To be informed how this works, let’s cessation for a brief biology lesson. Neurons are far-seeing, dangly cells that don’t in truth. touch one another. The gap between brain cells is called a synapse, and the brain uses chemicals called neurotransmitters to avenue messages across these gaps — suppose of these chemicals as an operator on a phone call. You’ve in likelihood heard of a few neurotransmitters, like serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine. While in the greatest degree neurotransmitters are made in the glands, some man-made drugs (both legal and unlicensed) can mimic the same effects in the manner that natural neurotransmitters. Natural or not likewise much, a neurotransmitter binds to a neuron, what one. signals the body to do (or not execute) something. When a neurotransmitter fits into the not faulty receptor—like a key in a lock—it chemically turns that neuron off or on.

This is where our dear companion THC comes in. The active chemical in marijuana mimics a in the course of nature neurotransmitter called anandamide. Anandamide is many times referred to as the “blessedness molecule” because of its role in boosting reputation and learning, dulling pain, and stimulating the hankering 1 . Anandamide normally buddies up by dopamine, and together these neurotransmitters direct on and turn off different chemical pathways being of the cl~s who needed.

THC may mimic anandamide, if it be not that they don’t produce the exact same effects. After a person takes a come off successful of Mary Jane, THC binds to cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors, that are located in several parts of the brain (that is to say, the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia)2 . These brain areas are amenable for short-term memory, coordination, large knowledge, problem solving, and unconscious muscle movements. When THC gets its groove on in the cannabinoid receptors, it gets in the room for passing of natural neurotransmitters (like anandamide) that necessity to bind to those sites to go all of the functions listed on high work properly.

When THC prevents anadamide from doing its work at ~s, the delicate balance between anadamide and dopamine is thrown away. The result: We’re suddenly euphoric, not on-balance, ravenous, seemingly impervious to discomfort, and unable to retain information. Think in all parts of the classic stoner clichés for a minute…yep, the whole of the signs and symptoms are there.

What Happens in the Long-Term?

How ~-spun THC affects the brain and stays in the body depends on people factors, including the potency of the marijuana, the smoker’s actual trial with the drug, how the medicine is ingested (via joint, bowl, bong, vaporizer, etc), and whether or not it’s used in conjunction through other drugs or alcohol 3 . Immediate effects of THC kick in after a scarcely any seconds and last for an hour or two, but the chemicals be possible to stay in the body for a great deal of longer. THC is fat-soluble, in the same manner even though it doesn’t keep on to affect the brain, it be able to hang out in body tissues as antidote to several weeks or, in the envelop of habitual smokers, even months4 .

So are those disorderly ‘n’ crazy nights going to perdition your brain forever? Some studies possess shown that frequent adolescent marijuana use—especially while use begins at a younger age—can reduce IQ by middle age. Further exploration argues that smoking like a chimney causes overuse of the CB1 receptors, what one. can lead to a sloth-like brain. But greater degree recently, a boatload of researchers be seized of proven that puffing the magic dragon won’t as a matter of fact zap your brain cells in the ~ing-term. 567 .

But Then I Got High: The Takeaway

If you stuck from one side the chemistry lessons until this business, you’re probably expecting a thumbs-up or thumbs-below the horizon judgment. But, as with many biological processes, the overall power of marijuana on brain chemistry isn’t crystal open. For the most part, current research is disproving earlier studies that claimed that marijuana damaged the corpse long-term, but so far nothing’s in truth set in stone. Feel free to take this denunciation on the brain’s reaction to marijuana and smoke tobacco it (or not).

Originally published April 2013. Updated June 2015.

Works Cited

Anandamide superintendence into the ventromedial hypothalamus stimulates gusto in rats. Jamshidi N, Taylor DA. Department of Pharmaceutical Biology and Pharmacology, Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University, Victoria, Australia. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2001 November; 134(6):1151-4.

Regulation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the central vigorous system by chronic cannabinoids. Sim-Selley LJ. Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Institute in spite of Drug & Alcohol Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA, USA. Critical Reviews in Neurobiology. 2003; 15(2)-91-119.

Acute and remaining effects of alcohol and marijuana, alone and in complot, on mood and performance. Chait LD, Perry JL. Department of Psychiatry, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, IL, USA. Psychopharmacology. 1994 July; 115(3):340-9.

Urinary erasure of 11-Nor-9-carboxy-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis users for the period of continuously monitored abstinence. Goodwin RS, Darwin WD, Chiang CN, Shih M, Li SH Huestis MA. Chemistry and Drug Metabolism Section, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD, USA. Journal of Analytical Toxicology. 2008 October; 32(8):562-569.

Current and framer marijuana use: preliminary findings of a longitudinal study of furniture on IQ in young adults. Fried, P., Watkinson, B., James, D., et al. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2002 April 2; 166(7): 887–891

Neurocognitive consequences of marihuana—a comparative estimate with pre-drug performance. Fried, PA, Watkinson, B., and Gray, R. Department of Psychology, Carleton University. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 2005 Mar-Apr;27(2):231-9. Epub 2004 Dec 9

Neuropsychological feat in long-term cannabis users. Pope, HG Jr., Gruber, AJ, Hudson, JI, et al. McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2001 Oct;58(10):909-15

Vitamin C in most cases notion of in general in hindrance of colds, flu and scarlet heat, is being rediscovered for help in allergies.

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