There are 500 identified chemical constituents contained in the cannabis plant. More than 100 of these are the so called ‘cannabinoids.’ Cannabinoids are chemical components which, when in the human body, interact with the brain’s communication network (which consists of neurons, receptors, neurotransmitters, etc.). To put it in a simple way, cannabinoids are the chemicals that make the connection between the plant and the human brain and body and because of which the effect of using marijuana is produced.
What is the effect of cannabis use on the brain?
The high number of cannabinoids in the marijuana plant means that the chemicals can affect the brain in an array of ways, thus, affecting different physiological and psychological operations of the body. The most commonly mentioned cannabinoid is the tetrahydrocannabinol (THS), which has been named the main psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant. The effects of cannabis use are then varied, but the THC itself stimulates the brain parts associate with pleasure, thus releasing dopamine and giving the user euphoric yet relaxed feeling. The different dosage and use of cannabis can also affect different systems in the body, such as appetite, memory, pain and even immunity.
What are the side effects of smoking weed?
The way marijuana is used results in different effects on the body. Smoking usually produces the effect in 30 minutes and lasts for about 1-3 hours (depending on the dosage), whereas eating or drinking marijuana infused products produce a much longer effect. But what really matters in terms of side effects of smoking weed is the continuance of marijuana use, that is, whether you smoke weed every day or you are a more casual user. The effects of cannabis are not always positive, yet again it all depends on the dosage, the quality of the substance and the frequency of the use. Some of the most commonly reported side effects are the distortion of a person’s sense of time, delusions, distortion of speech and thinking, increased heart rate, shortness of breath and even, however this is more rare, the triggering of schizophrenia.
What is the connection between marijuana and mental health?
The positive effect of cannabis on mental health has been disputed. Yet some positive effects are frequently exhibited by users, these include pain relieving, decreasing of anxiety and post-traumatic stress, relieving of depression. The problematic fact is that even though some users may exhibit the aforementioned positive effects of marijuana use, others can exhibit the exact opposite effects and their condition can even deteriorate. That is why the right dosage and appropriate frequency of use are of crucial importance. For instance, recent studies show that using high-potency marijuana every day can trigger psychosis1. Marijuana psychosis is not a frequently occurring reaction but is also not excluded from happening.
Does weed help depression?
Considering the increasing number of countries and states that legalize marijuana for medical purposes, the positive effects of cannabis use cannot be overlooked. As mentioned, smoking weed everyday can have negative effects. However, for some people smoking weed everyday may be the way to ease their pain and relieve anxiety, ultimately improving their everyday life. Furthermore, research shows that marijuana use can lead to mood stabilization for people suffering from depression, which is of crucial importance for those suffering from the psychological condition. It can also stabilize the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, ultimately improving the way people with depression feel.
Overall, the connection between marijuana and mental health is still a thoroughly researched one. However, it is undeniable that frequency of marijuana use and the quality, that is the potency of the product, influence the way marijuana will affect the user. Certain positive effects are undeniable, but so are some negative. Therefore, the responsible use is of crucial importance to marijuana users.