The effects of cannabis - how your body reacts to the substance
Time to read 7 min
Time to read 7 min
Hardly any other natural substance is discussed as much as cannabis. The focus is mainly on the effects of cannabis. Contrary to what is often assumed, weed is not only an intoxicating substance, but is also said to have many positive effects on health.
For some years now, it has been possible to obtain medical cannabis on prescription. In addition, there are increasing reports of people who have been able to alleviate personal complaints such as pain and other symptoms through the effects of cannabis. But what is the reason for that? What do we know about the effect of weed on the body and psyche?
Cannabis is the name given to the hemp plant from India. The most important active ingredient for the effect of cannabis is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This cannabinoid ensures that cannabis has an intoxicating effect. The substance has been consumed for many centuries, in a wide variety of dosage forms.
Besides THC, cannabis contains many other cannabinoids, most of which have no intoxicating effect. CBD, for example, has become more known in recent years. This cannabinoid acts on similar structures of the body, but has no psychogenic effect!
The effect of cannabis must be divided into two areas:
The human nervous system has an endocannabinoid system that is crucially responsible for what effect cannabis has. This system consists of various receptors (CB1, CB2) that are able to bind endocannabinoids. When cannabis is consumed, free cannabinoids enter the body, which then interact with the receptors.
The body's own endocannabinoids have many influences on the human body and are involved in various processes. For example, they regulate the appetite of humans, can reduce inflammation, curb pain and also influence the metabolism. Since externally supplied cannabinoids interact similarly with the CB receptors according to the current state of science, the endocannabinoid system is considered to have a major involvement in the effects of cannabis.
As a medicine, cannabis is usually prescribed in the form of an oil. The THC-oil effect is said to be similar to that of a joint. In order to receive a prescription from a doctor, however, classical therapies must have been unsuccessful so far.
The effect of cannabis in medicine has been researched for many years, but there is still no consensus on the results. However, there are studies that prove that the cannabis effect on the body goes beyond a state of intoxication. Among other things, the following effects are said to be possible:
There are different ways to consume cannabis and indeed the ingestion has an influence on the effect. For example, the THC gummy bear effect is described as less intense compared to consumption in the form of a joint.
When cannabis is vaporized or smoked as a joint, the THC attaches very quickly to the receptors. It enters the bloodstream directly through the lungs, which causes this effect. In recent times, vaporization is preferred, because here no harmful substances of tobacco are absorbed, or no combustion takes place.
Another method of cannabis intake is oral ingestion, for example in the form of edibles (gummy bears, brownies, cookies, candies) or as tea and oil. It sometimes takes longer for the effects of cannabis to set in here. The cannabinoids are first absorbed through the digestive system and then slowly released into the bloodstream. The situation is different with oils, which are drizzled under the tongue and then initially remain in the mouth. Here, the active ingredient can be absorbed through the mucous membrane. What is difficult here is to find the right dosage, as everybody reacts differently to cannabis, and it’s metabolized at an individual pace.
A third, rather less frequently used form is application in the form of a topical preparation (ointment, gel, cream). Such products are used for inflammatory skin diseases such as acne. In this way, the cannabinoids do not enter the bloodstream directly, so that the psychogenic effect is absent.
So we know that depending on the consumption method, the effect of cannabis sets in sooner or later. Let's now take a look at how long the substance takes effect on average (always depending on the physical conditions, the dosage and the amount ingested).
After the effect of cannabis has set in, the body completes several steps at once. The THC is released from the blood vessels to the fat cells, where it is stored. From there, it is released and thus maintains the state of intoxication. The actual breakdown of THC finally takes place in the liver, where the substance is converted into individual metabolites and excreted. The main excretion takes place in the urine, only a few components (in the case of oral consumption), are excreted with the bowel movement.
The actual degradation process takes much longer than the intoxicating effect. This is also the reason why the consumption of THC can still be detected days later in the urine, blood and for months in the hair roots.
The question is often asked whether the hemp tea effect, for example, is weaker than that of a joint. In fact, however, the effect is described as milder and less intoxicating. Due to oral ingestion, it takes longer for the psychoactive effect of cannabis to kick in. This is perceived as gentler, as users immerse themselves in the world of intoxication bit by bit.
With a joint or a vaporizer, the effect often comes on abruptly. One minute the mind is still clear, the next moment cannabis triggers an intense high. The potency itself, on the other hand, is independent of the method of consumption. Medical cannabis often relies on oils, which have appeared equally effective in studies.
In Germany, the legalization of cannabis is indirectly imminent. One of the reasons is that pure cannabis is considered relatively safe. Nevertheless, it is possible that side effects may occur as a result of consumption (especially at high doses). We need to distinguish between short-term, unwanted effects and long-term discomfort. Here comes a small overview.
It turns out that the effect of cannabis is not only multifaceted, but also dependent on personality. Individuals who are naturally prone to anxiety suffer cannabis-induced panic attacks more often. Also, individual tolerance cannot be determined in advance. However, researchers agree that the endocannabinoid system has the greatest effect.
Don't want to wait until cannabis is legalized? CBD just doesn't offer you the right spectrum of effects? Then there is an excellent alternative to both: HHC cannabinoids. They are also found in the cannabis plant and have a small but subtle difference compared to THC: a hydrogen compound. It influences the way it works and makes sure that you can benefit from a relaxing effect after taking HHC orally. There are several positive effects of HHC, including pain relief and the general increase of well-being. The effects are similar to cannabis, but: HHC is legal. If you want to research the active ingredient for yourself, you can get the handy HHC cannabinoid spray at MODERNmind.