How does marijuana work?
With over 100 active cannabinoids, cannabis is an incredibly complex bit of herb. Combined with the complexities of our own bodies, this means a whole lot of things are happening each time we take a toke. In this post, we take a look at how cannabis interacts with dopamine in the body to help you better understand what is happening to make marijuana work.
Marijuana and dopamine
A lot is often made of the fact that cannabis is not physiologically addictive. However, because of the relationship between cannabis and dopamine, a chemical in our brain, long-term and regular consumption can lead to certain forms of psychological dependence. Fortunately, because there is not a physiological addiction, coming off cannabis won’t lead to the sort of severe withdrawals people experience from other drugs such as alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs. Nevertheless, smoking weed regularly can make users get so used to smoking it daily that they find it hard to stop.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released in our brain during pleasurable experiences, such as eating, sex, and sleep. It forms a vital part of how our brain’s reward system and when it is released serves to make us feel happy in a way that can seem like it came from nowhere. Dopamine also ensures we are able to regulate our mood and will lead us to feel a certain way before we do something by triggering an emotional response based on how we expect an action to affect us.
Too little dopamine can be dangerous as it often encourages people to take on more risky behaviors. Those who experience low levels of dopamine can, therefore, be encouraged to take on more risky behaviors in search of a sudden rush of the chemical. Low dopamine levels have also been linked with increased symptoms of distraction and things like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (A.D.H.D.) as well as the development of Parkinson’s disease – although it is unclear whether low levels of dopamine cause the disease or the disease itself causes low levels of dopamine.
Does marijuana increase dopamine?
In the short term, marijuana has been shown to increase dopamine levels in the brain. However, unlike drugs that have been designed for this purpose, this is happening in a more indirect way and occurs due to the cannabinoid THC. THC and dopamine interact in the brain through the brain’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. Although dopamine neurons do not have cannabinoid receptors, dopamine neurons are controlled by something else called GABA neurons which do contain cannabinoid receptors. Because cannabis inhibits the effects of GABA neurons, which when produced inhibit dopamine, the overall effect is for cannabis to lead to an increase in dopamine levels in the brain.
To put this in another way for purely illustrative purposes, imagine that your body normally produces 4 GABA Neurons, with each one preventing the production of dopamine. If you prevent the body from producing all of those GABA neurons, you increase the propensity of the body to release increased dopamine. This understanding suggests that cannabinoid receptors are a vital cog in the body and mind’s ability to defend against issues like anxiety and depression.
One study designed to explore this looked at mice that were born without cannabinoid receptors. These mice were found to be 30% less active than those mice with them, leading the researchers to conclude that the endocannabinoid system does indeed have an effect on the body’s daily release of dopamine when we are undertaking activities.
Does marijuana release dopamine in the long term?
So although we have just explained how cannabis can increase dopamine released in the brain in the short term, what are its long-term effects? It is also perhaps important to reiterate that in terms of increased dopamine we should focus on the individual cannabinoids that are truly having this effect since THC and CBD actually work completely differently when they react with our brain.
Indeed, if you are smoking CBD rich medicinal cannabis or using CBD tinctures then these will not interact with your brain’s CBD1 and CB2 receptors so will not lead to the same effect on dopamine as THC rich products. Moreover, studies have also shown that long-term THC use has been associated with having dampening effects on the body’s release of dopamine and requires increased THC levels for the same effects.
This is because the body comes to rely upon cannabis in order to experience the increase in dopamine, slowing down its own production process as a result of this. However, positively for regular cannabis users, research has also found that dopamine production of regular cannabis users who have ceased smoking does return to previous levels over time. Indeed, even when compared with a control group of non-cannabis users, some studies have shown no differentiation between groups once a certain length of time has passed.
Understanding the research about THC and dopamine
The links between marijuana and dopamine are complicated by the different effects over time, the different effects of specific cannabinoids, the sometimes different effects between animals and humans in studies, and genetic factors that make everyone react differently. Fortunately, changing attitudes to cannabis and increases in understanding around a number of its health benefits does mean more research is being carried out to address these knowledge gaps.
Nevertheless, what is already known throws up some questions that should lead users to question regular use of THC and the selection of ever stronger strains as although this can lead to short term increases in dopamine production, and a pleasurable high, over-time this will lead to reduced dopamine levels and explain some of cannabis’s unwanted side effects.
Coming off THC
If you do decide that you want to come off THC but don’t like the sound of completely giving up cannabis, then you may want to consider looking into CBD products as these will not affect how your body produces dopamine. However, CBD may help to deal with some of the challenging feelings you will likely feel if you immediately stop your THC consumption after years of daily use. CBD products, be it CBD rich cannabis strains to CBD oil also have a range of other benefits.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol and has a range of associated health benefits that have sometimes been wrapped up in the bundle under cannabis when really they should have been separated out into its realm. Unlike THC, CBD has no intoxicating effects so you will not feel high after using it. Nevertheless, it does have a positive effect on mood and has helped a wide range of people to manage feelings of anxiety, depression, and restlessness, all issues some people struggle with when giving up THC.
CBD helps us to maintain homeostasis, otherwise known as a healthy biological balance, through its engagement with our endocannabinoid system. This system connects our brains, organs, immune cells, connective tissues, and glands which means CBD comes with a whole range of benefits that you wouldn’t otherwise imagine could come from one single remedy.
What are the benefits of CBD?
Since the 1980s there has been a whole range of studies looking into the benefits of CBD and recent breakthroughs have led to the transformation of views on cannabis in general, and CBD in particular. Nevertheless, there is still much to be done before we can fully understand exactly how CBD interacts with our bodies and how good this substance really can be.
Some areas where CBD has been found to have a positive influence have been in terms of being an effective pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, and anticonvulsive (including for specific forms of epilepsy). It has also been linked with helping people fight anxiety when added to a daily diet and beneficial for people suffering from PTSD and depression. Others still have found it can help improve overall mood and improve cardiovascular health thanks to its being rich in omega oils.
What are the best CBD products 2022?
The growing acceptance of cannabis, and CBD products in particular, has led to a huge rise in available products and strains. The following is a list of 10 of our favorite CBD oils and CBD rich cannabis strains that might help you keep away from THC and get your dopamine levels back into their usual balance if you are seeking to say goodbye to THC after many years.
#1 Best Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds with Minimum THC and High CBD: Auto Sweet Feminized Seeds
If you are looking for a cannabis strain with the minimum amount of THC (between 0.4-0.9%) and a serious amount of CBD (8-20%) to help you get off and stay off THC, then this could be the strain of your dreams. The low THC/high CBD content means you won’t get high from smoking this and because it has been bred specifically to reduce THC levels you can expect this to have little effect on your dopamine levels, helping you in the interim to get off THC.
Other great things about these seeds are that: they grow small, from 50-80cm tall, so you won’t need a big grow space; the high CBD means it can help people suffering from PTSD, anxiety, or depression, as it can relieve against these issues for many people; they are easy to grow, and; it is also a suitable plant for making your own CBD oils if you want to give making your own a try. The downside of these seeds is that they don’t produce huge yields.
#Cannabis_Seeds #CBD_Seeds #Low_THC #CBD #Auto_Flowering
#2 Best Photoperiod Cannabis Seeds with Minimum THC and High CBD: CBD Yummy Feminized Seeds
If you like having more control over when your seed flower and like training your cannabis plants to provide bigger yields, then you might want to check out these high CBD minimum THC seeds. This particular strain is superb for people looking to make Cannabutter or their own CBD oil due to its incredibly resinous buds. You’ll also be blown away by the aroma and flavor of the plants these magic seeds produce.
Other pros about these seeds are that: they are a cross of the delicious yummy and the classic high CBD strain Cannatonic; they don’t grow too high but produce impressive yields if you want to grow big batches; it grows nice and sturdy so doesn’t need too much help, and; the blend of THC and CBD could be used to help you gradually move off THC heavy cannabis as there is a small amount of THC and a good hit of CBD. The downside of these seeds is that they take quite a while to flower, at least 10 weeks.
#CBD_Seeds #CBD #Cannabis #Cannatonic #Feminized
#3 Best CBD Oil for THC Withdrawals: FABCBD’s CBD Oil
FABCBD are making it their goal to bring the wonders of CBD to as many people as possible, whether that be cannabis enthusiasts or former haters. Their CBD products are all designed to help people feel great when other things might be getting them down and this oil is particularly good at helping people suffering from the effects of giving up THC after a long time as it helps to improve the body and mind’s balance at a time when it is finding out how to go on its own it without a dopamine hit.
Other great things about this CBD oil are that: it comes in a range of flavors so you don’t need to take it with anything; it can help people who are suffering from insomnia; it is an effective anti-nausea remedy; it is best when used twice daily as an addition to your daily diet, and; it is full-spectrum so also contains beneficial terpene from the cannabis plant that help your endocannabinoid system make the most of the CBD.
#CBD_Oil #Insmonia #Anxiety #Terpenes #Flavored_CBD_Oil
#4 Best CBD Vaping Oil: thecbdistillery’s Vape Oil
If you are looking to give up THC and have heard about the benefits of vaping CBD to help you keep away from returning to smoking, then you should check out this CBD vaping oil. cbdMD are one of the few companies who offer a CBD oil specifically for vaping and can be used in your usual vaping device rather than a wasteful disposable device. Vaping CBD is also the quickest way to get it into your system and you’ll be very pleased with the results.
Other pluses of this CBD oil are that: you don’t have to worry about there being any THC in it as it has all been carefully extracted; quitting THC might also mean you’re giving up tobacco at the same time and CBD can help make this easy as it reduces feelings of anxiety, including those derived from addiction, and; it is organic, gluten-free, and vegan. It also comes in a variety of flavors with the mint one being our personal favorite.
#Mint_Vaping_Oil #CBD #CBD_Vaping_Oil #THC_Free #Organic_Vaping_Oil
#5 Best Healthy CBD Edible: Kat’s Naturals’ Activated Hemp Flower
There are now a wide array of ways to consume CBD and this delicious hemp flower makes a great addition to your morning bowl of cereals or your pre-morning run smoothie. Each teaspoon contains 28mg of CBD that has a truly calming effect on the mind that can be really helpful when trying to say goodbye to THC in order to get your dopamine levels back to a healthy balance. Compared to many other CBD products it is also pretty great value.
Other good things about this edible hemp flower enriched with CBD are that: there is no more than 0.3% THC content; this company provide a portion of their profits to veterans; adding this to your daily routine can lead to an improved mood, reduced anxiety, and also be beneficial for your general digestive system. The downside of this product is that it was produced in a facility that also works with wheat, tree nuts, and peanuts.
CBD_Edibles #CBD_Edibles #CBD #CBD_Hemp_Flower#CBD_Smoothies
#6 Best THC-free CBD Isolate: Ambary Gardens’ 99% Isolate CBD
If you’re keen on trying CBD that can be consumed orally but don’t fancy having to drip oil under your tongue twice a day, then you should check out this CBD isolate. These CBD crystals are super potent and can be sprinkled in juices, over food, or taken as they are and go a lot further than oils. You’ll be impressed by how quick acting these are if you do find the need to bring stress or anxiety brought on by giving up THC.
Other great things about this CBD isolate are that: it is completely flavorless so don’t worry about a nasty aftertaste; it is third-party tested so you can be sure they are potent and consistent; it is great for daily use especially for those looking to bring calmness and improved overall wellbeing into their lives, and; it can also be used in response to flare ups of anxiety, stress or even pain. The downside is this isolate is pretty pricey and is full-spectrum so may have small traces of THC
#CBD_Isolate #CBD_Crystal #Full_Spectrum_CBD_Isolate #CBD #Strong_CBD
Dopamine plays a vital part in controlling our body’s movement as well as how we make our emotional responses. As a result, getting the right balance of dopamine in our lives is vital for our physical and emotional wellbeing. The right balance will have an impact on how our brain functions leading to improvements in mood, sleep, concentration, and sense of control over our lives.
Current research has shown that THC and CBD have different effects on how the body processes dopamine, and whilst we don’t yet know how to make the most of THC’s positive effects on dopamine production without it leading to a dampening effect, we do know that CBD does not mess around with our dopamine levels at all.