So we all know that cannabis will usually make us feel happy in one way or another. There are specific strains that bring on euphoria and elation, but almost all will improve your mood somehow. This is just sort of taken for granted as an aspect of smoking, but why does it happen? There has to be a scientific and biological reason behind why getting high makes us so darn happy. Well, of course, there is. Cannabis isn’t magical despite what it may seem like. It is a plant and when smoked it interacts with us chemically to improve our mood, bring on the giggles, or just make us feel all chill and warm inside. We are chemically compatible with weed thanks to something called the endocannabinoid system.
What Are Endocannabinoids?
The prefix endo means in, so these are essentially internal chemicals that our body makes. These are extremely similar to those found in cannabis and this is another aspect of why our bodies react the way they do. The endogenous cannabinoid system works with a molecule called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This molecule affects the way that neurons talk to each other. This molecule binds to the message-receivers in the brain and sends messages back to the message-senders. This is what allows endocannabinoids to work in the brain, by using the cannabis receptors and altering the messages being sent. Endocannabinoids exist in cannabis but also can naturally occur in the brain. Those in cannabis bind to those in the brain and this is what causes us to have the reaction to cannabis that we do. All of this really works with a fella called Anandamide.
What Is Anandamide?
This cheeky little neurotransmitter was discovered in the 1990s Dr. Raphael Mechoulam during an attempt to discover the secrets of weed and happiness. In fact, this was the first natural ECN neurotransmitter to be discovered, which is pretty cool. The name comes from the Sanskrit word for bliss but this guy wears many hats. It works with sex drive, appetite, pain, memory and emotion all of which are classically affected by weed. Sometimes anandamide gets confused with dopamine which is the best-known happiness molecule. Some more intense uppers will produce dopamine in the brain, whereas cannabis produces very little hence the more complex high.
Anandamide won’t just affect our happiness but also our stress levels along with a number of other emotional states. This is why cannabis is so often used medicinally for those struggling with extreme stress or anxiety. It can also alter our perception of reality due to the fact that it affects the part of the brain responsible for memory. This is why we often can’t get a handle on time, forget things that just happened, or generally have bouts of confusion while high. It also intensifies feelings which is why watching a funny tv show or eating your favourite food is so much better when you are stoned. This almost makes the high more meaningful than your average dopamine flood.
Can This Go Wrong?
Yes, in some people the THC latching onto the endocannabinoids can have the opposite effect to the norm. It is relatively rare for people to only have negative reactions to cannabis but this will often happen if you take too much THC into your system. Rather than reducing stress and anxiety in the brain, it can increase it. Which is obviously the last thing we want. The basic rule is don’t overdo it and you should get the lovely happy chemical release you’re looking for.
There are a few negatives that can come from smoking too much. Of course, if you enjoy the upper effect of cannabis too much you can become addicted. We know that the body doesn’t get physically addicted to weed but this doesn’t mean it isn’t addictive. Because it affects the parts of the brain that work with memory things can start to get foggy all the time rather than just when smoking. It can also play havoc with your balance and your sense of time. Over smoking may lead to not sleeping as well, audio and visual hallucinations, and depression. Again, this is linked to smoking too much and too much of anything is likely to mess you up. Just smoke responsibly and you should be absolutely fine.
What About Long Term Happiness?
There are a few answers to this question and it depends largely on quite a few different things. Cannabis is regularly prescribed to those who struggle with chronic depression, anxiety, stress, and a number of other mental health issues. This is not only because it can relieve these issues in the short term but can potentially increase happiness in the long term. This also depends on which strains you are smoking, how much you smoke, and how long you have been smoking. There are certainly some strains that will have a happier effect than others. If you smoke too much you are likely to develop issues with anxiety or possible depression. At least far more likely than someone who smokes regularly but not a large amount. Just like any drug constantly being on it will find a way to play havoc with your neurons.
What Are The Happiest Weed Strains?
The happiest strains of weed tend to be Sativas, but there are certainly a few calmly blissful Indicas on the market.
This is certainly one of the happiest strains around. Her effects are euphoric and uplifting which is why she is often used by those who suffer from anxiety, stress or depression.
As the name suggests laughing buddha is great for the giggles. She is a powerful cup winner that smells like exotic fruit. She has a THC level of 22%.
This delicious treat is euphoric and uplifting, perfect for those who struggle with stress and headaches. Again she has won a couple of awards and is one of the happiest strains on the market.
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