What are the basic effects of consuming cannabis? From red eyes to the munchies, you might experience some bodily changes after using the herb. But, what actually causes red eyes and the munchies? We’ve outlined the most basic facts below on how cannabis affects your body.
1. Cannabis modulates neurotransmitters
Chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters help brain cells (neurons) communicate with each other. Compounds in the cannabis plant engage these neurotransmitters and alter the chemical signaling in your brain.
Psychoactive THC impacts several different neurotransmitters in the brain. However, it’s most famous for producing a spike in feel-good chemical dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for focus, attention, pleasure, pain, and reward.
Non-psychoactive Cannabidiol (CBD) works a bit differently. It modulates the release of a variety of different neurotransmitters. When you have a little too much of something, it can calm the brain down. If you’re too low, it can restore balance and lift your mood.
2. “Cotton vagina” may not be a real thing
Vaginal lubrication, however, is triggered by increased blood flow to the vagina. Overly simplified, this blood flow puts pressure on the region and causes a sweating reaction. This makes vaginal lips wet.
So, if cannabis can give you cotton mouth, can it give you cotton vagina?
As Dr. Jordan Tishler explains in an interview with Learn Green Flower,
The assumption that vaginal secretions would be controlled the same way as oral is just not valid. These are fundamentally under different control.
As we just mentioned, cannabis acts as a vasodilator. This means that there theoretically should be more blood flow to the vagina when you use cannabis.
However, the way compounds in cannabis engage with estrogen may impact lady bits. Estrogen peaks right before ovulation, and this is the same time that women may be most sensitive to THC. Women are naturally more turned on and lubricated during ovulation.
For the record, hormonal birth control can also put a serious damper on your lubrication.
It’s important to note that hormones vary greatly from person to person. So, the effect cannabis has on your sexual performance will be largely determined by either the menstrual cycle or whether your hormones are in balance in the first place.
3. Cannabis affects your blood pressure
THC is a vasodilator. This means that it opens up your blood vessels and allows more blood flow. In doing this, it lowers your blood pressure. In fact, this is why you often get red eyes when you consume the herb.
Blood vessels in your eyes have opened up, allowing more blood to flow into the area. This can be highly beneficial for anyone with eye pressure troubles, like glaucoma patients.
4. Sexual underperformance in men is possible
In men, cannabis use is associated with delay or trouble with orgasm. This may also be partly caused by the interaction between cannabis compound and male sex hormones like testosterone.
Some animal research has shown that testosterone spikes and dips while you’re high and then returns to normal later on.
Similarly to women, there are many things that can throw male sex hormones out of wack. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can help ensure that you have the right hormonal balance for you prior to the effects of cannabis.
It’s also important to not that there are a lot of men out there who fully enjoy weed-induced sex. Just make sure not to smoke so much you wind up stuck on the sofa.
5. Cannabis heightens your senses
After consuming a little herb, have you noticed that colors look a little brighter? That the smell of food became a little more irresistible? The same blood pressure effects trigger pupil dilation, which makes colors seem a little more vivid than usual.
Animal studies have also shown that THC stimulates the olfactory bulb. This is the scent sensing area of the brain. In mice, these enhanced smelling powers led them directly to food. So, expect heightened visceral awareness from the psychoactive herb.
6. Cannabis makes you really love eating
Ever wonder where the munchies come from? THC binds to the same location as compounds that control appetite and metabolism. When you take in THC, it kicks your metabolism into overdrive.
It jump starts the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin and another hormone called leptin. Incidentally, leptin is responsible for telling your brain when to stop storing calories as fat.
At the same time, the dopamine spike from cannabis makes eating feel absolutely awesome. Dopamine is already released when we eat, but cannabis enhances the whole experience. This makes food taste awesome and wonderful to eat.
7. Cannabis increases your heart rate
Doctors often advise against using cannabis if you have a heart condition. The herb increases your heart rate for up to 3 hours after consumption. Cannabis increases heart rate a little more than sex, and about as much as strenuous exercises. But, speeding up your heart when your blood pressure is lowered can make for a bad time.
Though the plant has not caused any deaths to date, it is thought that your risk of heart attack increases when you consume cannabis. So, be mindful of heart complications when you toke up.
Cannabis is an amazing herb with ample therapeutic potential. These 7 facts are far from a complete representation of the plant.
Yet, for those who are a little canna-curious or are trying to make sense of your experiences, these are the most basic things you need to know.