From enhancing sexual desire to causing anxiety.. What does smoking marijuana do to your mind?

England – The cannabis plant contains two chemicals that are (largely) responsible for the different effects felt by users: CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

CBD and THC promote feelings of euphoria because they mimic chemicals our brain naturally produces. The human brain and body contain a complex system of chemical signals and receptors called “endocannabinoid.”

Parts of this system, called CB1 receptors, are found at our nerve junctions like traffic lights, slowing or speeding up the flow of communication chemicals in the brain.

When cannabis is consumed, THC attaches to CB1 receptors and prevents the release of certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate.

This slows down the movement between different brain regions and stimulates the psychoactive elements of euphoria, affecting the entire body.

Dr Will Lawn, a psychologist from King’s College London, said: ‘CB1 is densely expressed in the cerebellum and hippocampus, as well as in some limbic regions including the amygdala. “The cerebellum is key to supporting movement, as is the hippocampus, and the limbic system is essential for emotional responses.”

Below are the most important effects of smoking cannabis on the brain:

Short-term memory

Since the 1970s, researchers have documented that people really struggle to retain and process information in their short-term memory, in trance states.

If you’re still able to remember, it’s because THC disrupts signals in the hippocampus and interferes with how your brain processes memory. This disrupts “working memory,” the part that allows information to be retrieved and processed quickly, leading to difficulties with attention and concentration for some cannabis smokers.

Lown says there is some evidence that long-term use has a small effect on verbal memory, but most residual effects tend to disappear after the user stops smoking.

He explains that there may be some effect on cognitive function and memory in the long term, but these effects are very small.

Slow perception of time

Cannabis users report that time seems to stretch on endlessly, with minutes feeling like hours.

Research has shown that cannabis use produces an effect known as time dilation.

One theory suggests that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) binds to receptors in the part of our brain responsible for the body’s internal clock.

creativity

Cannabis users tend to score higher on self-reported creativity, and perform better on measures of “convergent thinking.”

While research shows no evidence that cannabis enhances creativity, it does make people who use it feel good and therefore view ideas as more creative.

the pain

A 2023 YouGov survey found that about 1.8 million people use illegal cannabis to treat chronic pain.

Dr Mikael Södergren, head of the Medicinal Cannabis Research Group at Imperial College, said: “We discovered that several compounds found in medical cannabis block a specific receptor that plays a key role in neuropathic pain. “This is the basis on which we use medical cannabis as a pain reliever.”

concupiscence

An American study found that smoking cannabis enhances sexual desire, which came as a surprise to researchers who claimed that cannabis use leads to erectile dysfunction.

At the time the study was published, lead author Michael Eisenberg of Stanford University School of Medicine said: “Frequent use of cannabis does not appear to impair sex drive or performance.”

Another study, conducted on 216 participants, found that 52% of those surveyed said they had used cannabis to change their sexual experience. 38% said sex was better.

Anxiety and paranoia

“Some people enjoy the effects of moderate doses of TCH, but others think it’s absolutely terrible,” Lown says. The same chemical processes that lead to euphoria and relaxation in some people trigger anxiety, paranoia, and even auditory hallucinations in others.

When you consume cannabis, THC triggers the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. Typically, these transmitters suppress the release of norepinephrine, a chemical associated with alertness, which makes people calm down.

But for some people, low levels of norepinephrine trigger a “rebound effect,” causing increased activity in the parts of the brain associated with anxiety.

This leads to feelings of panic, increased heart rate, and high cortisol levels, which contribute to this overwhelming feeling of “fear.”

Source: Daily Mail

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2024-04-23 19:47:34

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