If you take a regular toke or two, you’ve probably heard that the thing that actually gets you high is the dopamine that cannabis floods your system with. What many don’t know is that this is actually a myth.
While it’s true that marijuana does work with our reward system, it doesn’t work by flooding us with a lot of dopamine.
So, how does weed get you high? We’ll talk more about that in this article, so read on.
The Dopamine Myth
For over four decades, scientists have said that everything that acts as an addictive substance works through flooding our brains with dopamine. Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that it works that way.
It’s not that they’re lying. THC does turn the brain’s reward system on. However, it doesn’t do it by hitting us with a ton of dopamine.
Studies in humans show that pot smoking only gives us a small amount of dopamine, nothing at all like what we thought before. (However, even if it did, dopamine is actually not the pleasure point that the media often portrays it as.)
While it’s true that cocaine and amphetamines will cause this dopamine rush, it’s just no the case for weed.
Anandamide, the Real Pleasure Point
So, if it’s not dopamine that gives us this burst of feel-good fun, what is it? Something has to be causing these good feelings, otherwise, weed wouldn’t be as popular as it is today.
That’s where anandamide comes in. A doctor first discovered this molecule in the early 1990s and saw that it created a “feel good” feeling.
And he was right. This molecule does a lot more than just make us feel good, though. It also helps our memory, our drive to do things, how well we can move, our pain receptors, our need to eat, our fertility, and some say it can even stop cancer cell growth.
This is because it works to help our bodies create new nerve cells while also uplifting us and decreasing our anxiety.
The only downside is that it breaks down quickly in the body, so we can’t keep these effects long-term.
How it Works
The endocannabinoid system is a system in our bodies that helps keep everything in balance. It’s comprised of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes.
Cannabinoid receptors are little beacons that sit on top of our cells and pay attention to what’s going on around it. They use that information to tell the cell how to do its job.
Endocannabinoids are outside molecules that work to turn our receptors on. Endocannabinoids are found in our bodies, while phytocannabinoids (like THC) are external.
Metabolic enzymes work to break down the endocannabinoids once our bodies are done with them.
All three of these things work together to create homeostasis in our bodies. It pays attention to when things are in any extreme and works to bring them back to “just right”.
Anandamide is an endocannabinoid, which means that we can find it in our bodies. However, THC is it’s phytocannabinoid equal, and that’s found in cannabis.
Both anandamide and THC can bind to the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. So, when you ingest weed, you’re giving your body the same effects as anandamide does.
As we mentioned, these receptors tell our body what to do. So when the THC hits those receptors, it tells them to give you the bliss and relaxation that comes with pot use.
The Other Side
Most people can use pot and be fine. However, a small group of people can feel the opposite effect.
Our bodies have an enzyme called fatty acid amide hydrolase. It deactivates the anandamide, and some people don’t create as much of it. This means that our bodies have to find other ways to break down the anandamide, so these people are usually more relaxed.
But when they consume pot, they experience the completely opposite effect. Instead of feeling calm and happy, they start to feel anxious and paranoid.
Also, just like with anything else, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. If you take too much THC, your body will start to feel the opposite reaction as well.
The Effects of Weed
Right after you smoke weed, you’ll start to feel the effects. It travels through the bloodstream at a face pace. But when you eat it, it can take upwards of an hour or more before you feel it.
There are two different strains of marijuana as well. (Well, some think there are more, and something that it’s all technically sativa, but that’s an argument for another day.) Sativa is better known for giving that euphoric feeling while indica is a great sleep aid.
However, there’s no hard science to back up the difference in the strains effects. Scientists can’t come to an agreement on the different species of marijuana, which makes it hard to have a peer-reviewed study.
How Does Weed Get You High?
So, how does weed get you high? It works with the cannabinoid receptors in your brain to produce a feeling of euphoria in the right circumstances. There’s a lot of science around weed that isn’t a sure bet, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used as a tool to relax or manage your pain.
It’s also just a nice recreational activity if you’re so inclined.
For more information about legal ways to get high, visit our blog today.
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Whether you purchase marijuana to use recreationally or for medicinal purposes, you’re bound to notice the three most common strains: Indica, Sativa, and hybrid. A hybrid strain is created when Indica and Sativa are blended, but what exactly happens with the two strains independently?
What are the best uses for each and how can you identify them? Continue reading this article and we’ll clear those things up for you. Then you can choose which you think is best between Indica vs. Sativa.
A Brief History
The terms Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica were introduced in the 18th century to differentiate the species of cannabis.
The term Sativa came from Carl Linnaeus, a botanist, physician, and zoologist from Sweden. Who because of his experience naming organisms, is known as the “father of modern taxonomy.”
Indica was given its name by Jean-Baptise Lamarck, a French naturalist who first introduced the idea that humans evolved from apes.
During these times, the plants were cultivated mainly for its fiber and seeds. Whereas now the names they were given is to describe the high you get when the plants are smoked.
In fact, what we call Sativa today was originally Cannabis indica ssp. indica. Put simply, the names no longer hold the meaning they once did. But it’s still nice to know the differences between these marijuana strains in order to make informed purchasing decisions based on the way things are today.
Which Do We Smoke? Male or Female Plants?
As a plant, cannabis can be either male, female or hermaphrodite.
When male plants pollinate females, it begins the production of seeds. Female cannabis plants are seedless on their own.
This causes the female plants to grow buds that are rich in cannabinoid. So, the plants that produce the weed we smoke are all female.
Marijuana growers can choose their plants’ genders by growing clones of a parent strain. You can also gather female seeds through a special kind of breeding process.
Hermaphroditic plants are rare and contain both male and female parts. This allows the plant to pollinate itself.
Most growers try to avoid this because it spoils the seedless female plants and causes the hermaphroditic genes to pass.
Indica vs. Sativa
You don’t have to be a professional cannabis cultivator to know the difference between the Indica and Sativa strains. The first part of knowing the difference between the two is understanding how their appearances differ.
The Look of Sativa
Because this plant can reach up to 12 feet high and its branches need room to grow widely and flourish, it’s best to grow Sativa outdoors.
The leaves, buds, and colas, in the Sativa plant are more far apart and spaced out than other strains. The branches grow upward.
There isn’t much bud that grows toward the stalk of a Sativa marijuana plant. The parts of the plant that can be used, typically grow halfway up the plant’s stalk.
Most of the drawings and images you see where marijuana leaves are depicted mimic the look of Sativa. The leaves are thin and spread apart.
Additionally, toward the bottom of the plant, there are small pencil thin leaves that join together.
Sativa can grow wildly in Thailand, Southern India, Jamaica, and Mexico.
The Look of Indica
Indica strains of cannabis grow much to be smaller than Sativa, they grow to be about 6 feet tall. However, they grow quicker and in larger amounts.
The branches and leaves at the top of the plant are narrow and pointed while it thickens as you reach the bottom. This shape is very similar to pine trees.
The usable buds on Indica are mainly located at the bottom where the density is. The leaves on this strain are much wider than Sativa’s although the pattern is very similar.
Indica varieties are primarily cultivated in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India, Tibet, and Nepal.
How is the Sativa High?
The levels of THC in Sativa are much higher than the levels of CBD. This makes for a more energetic, perky high. It’s one that you would definitely prefer in the daytime or if you were out partying, socializing, or simply want to be in your own happy little bubble while staying at home.
If you are smoking this strain for medicinal purposes, it will help treat:
- An inability to focus or be creative
- Low serotonin levels
Sativa is best known for its cerebral or psychedelic high.
How is the Indica High?
The levels of CBD in Indica are much higher than the levels of THC, which means it has great mellowing effects.
The high from Indica is the opposite of Sativa. Instead of giving you a burst of energy, this strain will help you feel relaxed. It’s a great natural alternative to dangerous, habit-forming sleeping pills as it puts most people straight to sleep.
If you want to use Indica for medicinal purposes, it can:
- Treat insomnia
- Stop muscle spasms
- Ease anxiety
- Reduce nausea
- Increase appetite
- Release dopamine
Indica provides more of a full body high. This means it can enhance some physical sensations. Some people notice differences in the way food tastes and the way things sound.
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Follow us today to find out other legal ways you can get high. You may even be surprised to find out you can do it completely naturally with exercise and meditation too.
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