Every pot consumer can confirm that marijuana influences their brain activity. The herb makes people experience a high or at least a temporary mood improvement. It also can change your heart rate, memory state, and attention level. But what does science say about the short-term effects of marijuana use on your brain?
People begin to feel the effects of marijuana shortly after usage. For instance, if you smoke weed flowers, the high starts in 15 minutes. But if you eat pot edibles, it takes from half an hour to two hours for them to activate. At the same time, weed concentrates provide an almost immediate effect.
So, here are the five most visible effects of the traditional “high” with their scientific explanations.
Scientists have found evidence that marijuana compounds known as cannabinoids can directly stimulate the generation of neurotransmitters responsible for mood improvement. Though THC is famous for its psychoactive effect, CBD also interacts with the receptors that generate serotonin in the central nervous system. Serotonin elevates your mood and makes you feel happy and uplifted.
Cannabinoids also trigger the production of dopamine, according to another study. This neurotransmitter plays an essential role in experiencing such feelings as euphoria and pleasure. It also improves concentration and attention.
Marijuana use has long been associated with memory impairment, but let us find out how exactly weed affects our ability to memorize. A recent long-term study discovered that chronic marijuana users were more susceptible to age-related memory impairment than their non-smoking peers.
During the study, researchers conducted a verbal memory test for participants who were pot users and non-users. The findings showed that in marijuana users, the ability to remember reduced by one word per each five years of weed consumption.
Marijuana can differently affect your attention and concentration depending on the strain and dose you use. Thus, a moderate portion of the right pot will improve your focus and attention, while a high dose of another kind of marijuana may make you disoriented.
Scientists assume that weed effects change your visual selective attention. Thus, a 2010 crossover trial conducted as a double-blind and placebo-controlled study found that high THC doses led to a decrease in brain's attentional and processing resources for several hours.
The study subjects randomly smoked marijuana cigarettes with four different doses of THC.
After four days of weed consumption, participants were asked to pass a test on selective attention. The results revealed that the high-THC users received worse scores than placebo smokers. Moreover, there was a direct correlation between increased THC dose and decreased visual attention.
There are many reasons why marijuana use makes consumers sleepy. One of them is that weed is a tranquilizer, and scientific evidence supports this explanation.
Marijuana-related trials and preclinical studies assume that CBD effects somehow reduce excessive brain activity. Moreover, recent research has found that positive effects of CBD and THC can mitigate epileptic seizures.
Researchers have also discovered that THC interacts with the human endocannabinoids that control the circadian rhythm, which is also known as the body's natural clock. Thus, marijuana can tell us when it is time to go to sleep.
A 2010 animal study revealed that marijuana treatment could change the natural circadian rhythm. A further study conducted on humans confirmed that chronic pot use improved our sleep and wake cycle.
Both medical and recreational users often consume pot for managing their chronic pain . This trend is especially popular among aged consumers. Numerous studies found that nerve cells that provide pain signals to the brain have cannabinoid receptors .
A marijuana-related study on animals found that rats impaired with pot left their tail on a hot plate longer than other rats. Researchers discovered that the brain's main pathways of pain signals were full of cannabinoid receptors, so when these receptors were activated with marijuana compounds rats became less sensitive to pain.
Besides these five most visible effects, there may also be other short-term reactions of your brain: