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Learn | 02.09.2023

Why Does Weed Make You Laugh? The Science Behind The Giggles

One of the most praised effects of THC is giggling. Here's why it happens.

Why do you use weed? Whether it’s for pain, mood elevation, or appetite, there are endless reasons why we adore cannabis. One of them is its ability to make us bust a gut. 

There’s no denying that weed makes everything funnier. That was one of the selling points that influenced me to use it for the first time years ago. I was told that watching practically anything would be funnier with help from THC, the main psychoactive cannabinoid I now know and love. 

From nature documentaries to newscasts, this special cannabinoid can help us see the mundane as interesting and the boring as hilarious, but how? The science behind the THC-induced giggles is pretty straightforward. See below for more information on why weed makes us laugh and the scientific rundown of what’s happening inside our bodies.

The Science Behind Laughing

Laughing is a reflex. Just like crying or coughing, laughing occurs when we see, hear, or feel something that we find humorous. It can happen instantly and spontaneously, similar to how we cough when choking on food or fluid. It’s an innate reaction and reflex that’s mostly caused by external factors or simply thinking about something funny.

Add cannabis into the mix, and your laughing reflexes are heightened. That’s because cannabis promotes an altered state, where you perceive things differently than you normally would when sober. This altered state usually comes with mood elevation, euphoria, and general happiness, meaning you’re more susceptible to laughing since your general mood leans toward the optimistic, happier side.

But how does weed make you laugh in scientific terms? It all stems from the primary psychoactive cannabinoid, THC, and how it can boost the production of dopamine, the feel-good, happy neurotransmitter. When our dopamine levels increase, triggering the laughter reflex is much easier.

THC & Dopamine Production

Cannabis increases dopamine production. That’s because the primary psychoactive cannabinoid, THC, binds to our body’s endocannabinoid receptors, which can promote the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.

These neurotransmitters also release when we do activities that make us feel good, like sleeping, exercising, having sex, and meditating. When there’s an uptick in dopamine, our mood elevates, and our perception of reality leans toward the optimistic end of the spectrum. Thus, your chances of triggering your laughter reflex increase.

Laughter Is Contagious

Sober or not, laughing is contagious. Research has proven that when someone laughs at something, it makes you believe it’s funny, prompting you to laugh as well. Even if it’s not funny, watching someone laugh uncontrollably is amusing in itself.

Because laughing is contagious, it can be even harder to tame when under the influence of THC. As mentioned above, THC produces dopamine and serotonin, which makes you more susceptible to triggering your laughter reflex. And once the giggle train leaves, it’s hard to stop it.

You’ll usually find that THC-induced giggles come on stronger when consuming cannabis with a friend or in a group. The social setting can elevate the mood, and once a friend starts laughing, it can easily spread throughout the group.

Next time you’re about to take part in a social session, see where the laughing train starts. It can be quite interesting to analyze which friends are laughing the most and, thus, influencing others to giggle as well.

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