What Happens When I Smoke Weed?
Some call it Weed, Mary Jane, Kush, and many other names that has surfaced throughout the years. Often associated with Rastafarian culture and the munchies, cannabis has grown popular worldwide. We decided to unravel the effects that Marijuana has on the body and brain when rolled up and smoked. Here’s the lowdown on getting high.
The brain’s endocannabinoid system helps regulate and control memory, emotions, pain, sensitivity and appetite. When we experience certain sensations – anxiety, pain, stress, you name it – your body releases a flood of neurotransmitters (including cannabinoids) that attach to receptors in the brain. THC, the psycho-active component of marijuana, mimics their activity and can scramble these signals, boosting certain responses and tinkering with others.
The result: heightened awareness of certain senses, increased sensitivity to shifts in temperature, feelings of relaxation (or anxiety), and the ravenous drive to eat absolutely everything in sight.
Just a few minutes after that first puff, the week-old pizza abandoned in your fridge starts to look (and smell) like a Michelin star meal. But why does weed have this effect on your appetite? As part of study published in Nature, researchers looked at the effects of THC on a group of mice. They discovered that THC binds to the receptors in the olfactory bulb in the brain thus making aromas from food more potent and, ultimately, more appealing. THC has also been shown to release dopamine, which enhances the pleasure of chowing down. One study even found that a quick “hit” could also mess with the neurons responsible for controlling your level of satiety, making you think you’re hungry even after a full meal.
Mile High Club
Weed enhances smells, touch and tastes (and that boost may help keep your mind focused on the present). It’s no surprise, then, that marijuana has been shown to have a positive impact in the bedroom. In a JSM study, 133 sexually-active adult women were surveyed during their annual check-ups at an academic ObGyn practice. Twenty nine percent of these women said they used cannabis prior to having sex, and of those, 68% reported more pleasurable sex. (However, 16% said it ruined the experience). For those who had a better time, most said it enhanced erotic pleasure. Plus, a 2017 study associated regular cannabis use with more frequent sex.
Breathe Easy (Or Not)
Marijuana smoke contains many of the same harmful chemicals as tobacco. So, you’d expect regular ‘tokes’ to carry the consequences of a pack-a-day habit. But studies on the subject are divided. Some suggest these joints are hurting your lungs, while others* found smoking may have a positive effect on lung health. However, even these researchers suggest excessive use could hamper breathing. According to one study, edibles containing THC let you circumvent most of the lung-threatening effects. Tread carefully: edibles take longer to take effect (30-60 minutes vs. the nearly-immediate high of smoking) and it’s harder to control your dosage and thus easier to overdose.
Dose Of Reality
A fatal marijuana overdose is incredibly unlikely, but it’s still possible to overdo it. Cross the line between a happy high and bad trip and you may experience intense feelings of anxiety, confusion, panic and paranoia, and could see hallucinations or undergo delusions. High doses of marijuana can also lead to increased blood pressure, a faster heart rate and nausea and vomiting. Too extra with the ‘erb? A scientific review published in the British Journal of Pharmacology suggests that black peppercorns may curb the paranoia. Pepper has a “phytocannabinoid- terpenoid effect” which has been shown to help with depression, anxiety and pain. Regular users report that taking a whiff of this seasoning mid-high reduced many of the negative psychological effects associated with consuming weed.
Read More: What Happens When I Go Vegan?