Cannabis High – How It Works & The Science Behind It.
The “high” that cannabis produces is a complex phenomenon that is the result of various chemical interactions in the body. Cannabis contains over 100 different cannabinoids, the most well-known of which are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). These cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating various physiological processes such as mood, appetite, and pain.
When THC enters the body, it binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, specifically the CB1 receptor. These receptors are primarily located in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and basal ganglia, which are all areas of the brain that are associated with memory, learning, and reward. Once THC binds to the CB1 receptor, it activates a cascade of signalling pathways that result in the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is associated with feelings of pleasure and reward.
The release of dopamine is what produces the sense of euphoria or “high” that is commonly associated with cannabis use. This is because dopamine plays a critical role in the brain’s reward system, which is responsible for motivating us to seek out pleasurable experiences. When dopamine is released, it reinforces the behaviour that led to its release, making us more likely to repeat that behaviour in the future.
CBD, on the other hand, does not produce the same psychoactive effects as THC. While it does interact with the endocannabinoid system, it does not bind to the CB1 receptor in the same way that THC does. Instead, CBD interacts with other receptors in the body, including the 5-HT1A receptor, which is involved in the regulation of mood and anxiety.
In conclusion, the “high” that cannabis produces is a result of the interaction between THC and the CB1 receptor in the brain. When THC binds to the CB1 receptor, it activates a cascade of signaling pathways that result in the release of dopamine, producing feelings of euphoria and pleasure. Understanding the science behind the effects of cannabis can help us to use it in a safe and responsible manner, and to appreciate the complex and fascinating ways in which it interacts with our bodies and minds.