How Weed Works: The Truth & The Myth

Posted on 7 March 2017 - 09:00 am Courtesy: Johnny B

With the new propaganda pushing for the legalization of marijuana and its many affiliate activities such as sales, growth, and consumption, we’re usually bombarded by many opinions on a daily basis. And while the wave of support from pro-marijuana groups and individuals seem like a very popular standpoint nowadays, one cannot discount the fact that the counter-trend is strong in the anti-marijuana organization. What we have a lack of, however, are articles that serve only to educate readers on the mystery of marijuana. Having been a prohibited drug for a majority of its popular reign, numerous myths and claims exist about the marijuana plant that it is sometimes incredibly hard to distinguish fact from fiction. The current debate raging in medical and scientific circles cannot help but add to the schism in opinion about marijuana. Just like the opinions, you see online and through other forms of media, research cases and medical studies on the effects of marijuana are split into two camps: one advocating new and hitherto undiscovered health benefits and another citing the negative effects of cannabis consumption. We’re here to keep it simple and stick to the basics as to how marijuana works.


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Now, hundreds of chemicals can be found in the buds and leaves of the marijuana plant. Most scientific studies concentrate on only two main compounds found in the plant: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol)

THC is what makes weed so popular for its users. A member of the cannabinoid chemical family, tetrahydrocannabinol is the catalyst of the side effects that you feel on a physical and psychological level every single time you consume the drug. On the physical aspect, most cannabis consumers report an increased heart rate, a healthier appetite, reddening of the eyes, and dryness of the mouth. Psychologically speaking, users mainly experience a sense of relaxation and happiness, sleepiness, poor concentration, and even bouts of panic and paranoia.

CBD, on the other hand, is a non-psychoactive compound with a slew of properties that scientists believe have countless medical potential. Some of its properties include pain relief, anti-inflammation, and even cancer-fighting chemicals.

Short-term Effects

THC works very efficiently. Within seconds of consumption, this compound interacts with the neurons in your brain. THC copies the effects of anandamide, which is a neurotransmitter that increases memory, learning, and appetite while dulling the sensation of pain. Anandamide is usually partnered with dopamine, arguably the most famous neurotransmitter, in the fulfillment of its functions. What THC basically does is block the function of anandamide, throwing off the balance between it and dopamine. This results in the classic symptoms to be found in any cannabis consumer.

Long-term Effects

The long-term effects of marijuana are multi-factorial, with some of the chief ones being drug potency, a method of ingestion, and the presence of other substances like drugs and alcohol. While the obvious effects of marijuana consumption usually fall off after a few hours, the compound THC may still linger in the body afterward for weeks or months since it is fat-soluble. As for long-term effects on health, previous studies have cited a reduced IQ for frequent users who have consumed marijuana from their adolescent years. However, the more recent studies claim to disprove these findings and state that long-term negative effects are not present with habitual marijuana use.

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