Cannabis has countless applications, both recreational and medicinal. The active compounds THC and CBD are responsible for inducing reactions from the body, from feeling high to feeling relaxed. There is still a lot of research to be done on the exact effects of cannabis on the body. Every human body is different which means that there are varying reactions. It also depends on the strain of the cannabis as well as the mode of consumption.
What Are The Effects Of Cannabis On Your Body?
As THC gets absorbed into your bloodstream and transported to the rest of your body, you can expect your heart rate to increase by 20 to 50 bpm. This higher heart rate can last up to three hours, depending on the amount of cannabis consumed. This is also the reason why you might get bloodshot eyes which is one of the major signs that someone has recently ingested cannabis. THC causes the blood vessels to expand and transport more blood which accounts for the inflammation and redness.
Central Nervous System
Cannabis highly impacts the central nervous system by reducing inflammation which helps with chronic pain management. There are also studies that support cannabis usage in combating neurological disorders like epilepsy and seizures. As a matter of fact, the FDA recently approved a type of cannabidiol for epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut, and Dravet syndrome.
The compound THC helps ease nausea and vomiting. That is why some cancer patients take cannabis to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy treatment. You will also notice a spike in your appetite. This is referred to as the “munchies” where THC makes you want to snack more as it makes you feel hungrier. This is great for people who wish to gain more weight.
Effects Of Mode Of Consumption
As aforementioned, the way you consume cannabis likewise affects its impact on your body. Smoking or vaping creates an instantaneous effect since the compounds directly enter the bloodstream through the lungs. The effects may materialize within seconds to minutes. Consuming cannabis in the form of edibles means that it still has to pass through the digestive system, get broken down, and then be absorbed into the bloodstream. This takes minutes to hours.
How Does Cannabis Induce Calmness?
A lot of users report feeling calmer and more relaxed whenever they smoke weed. How does this happen, exactly?
There are two main compounds responsible for the calming effect. The first is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This psychoactive compound is great for reducing stress but only if presented in low amounts. A study revealed that a higher amount does the opposite by elevating the user’s heart rate and causing a spike in anxiety.
The second compound is cannabidiol or CBD. Clinical studies support CBD for treating anxiety disorders. It has anxiolytic, anti-compulsive, and panicolytic effects on the user. It likewise decreases autonomic arousal which reduces the expression of fear and stress in the body, thereby resulting in the “calm.”
Marijuana For Anxiety
Because of its calming and relaxing effect, marijuana became a popular choice for self-medicating anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder. A study performed by the scientists at Washington State University reported that smoking cannabis reduces depression, stress, and anxiety. The study involved groups of forty individuals. One group is composed of daily marijuana users while the other group is composed of non-marijuana users.
The results revealed that the marijuana users were able to cope better under stressful situations. Their stress responses were better and this was quantified by measuring the cortisol levels in the body, also known as the stress hormones.
Best Strains For Relaxation
The best strains for relaxation are the hybrid strains with a dominant Indica gene. The THC and CBD ratio should be balanced to keep you relaxed without giving you too much of a high or succumbing to couch lock.
- Purple Widow or Purple White Widow (THC 17%)
- Butter OG (THC 19%)
- Triple Chocolate Chip (THC 21%)
- Purple Killer (THC 18%)
- Jawa Pie
- Sweet Lafayette
- Ghost Ship
- 10th Planet
- American Kush
- Dakini Kush
- Punky Lion
- Peach Cobbler
- Purple Martian
- Balla Berries
- Extreme OG
- Illuminati OG
- Pakistan Valley
- Ray Charles
- Colorado Clementines
Are There Downsides?
As with anything, too much reliance on cannabis for treating stress and anxiety can develop into dependence. The aforementioned study concluded that cannabis is effective in inducing calmness for short-term treatments. However, one shouldn’t discount the value of feeling stress.
Stress is an evolutionary adaptive response that alerts the human body of potentially harmful or dangerous situations so that those can be avoided accordingly. Experts note that one shouldn’t use cannabis with the end goal of completely eliminating cortisol in the body as this results in a dampened stress response in the long run.
Cannabis is a great coping mechanism for stress levels that are debilitating. A lot of users survive each day by smoking pot without being crippled by anxiety. They also report that recreational marijuana has more bearable side effects compared to prescription medications. Moderation is key and one should always consult a physician for the best course of treatment for extreme anxiety cases.
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