(CTN News) – Marijuana is a narcotic derived from the cannabis plant’s flowers and leaves. These plant pieces are dried and then smoked as cigarettes or consumed in different ways.
Marijuana is used by people to alter their state of awareness or produce a sense of calm.
This is known as a high, and it can be obtained in a variety of ways, including smoking, vaporizing, or eating food that contains marijuana as an ingredient.
Marijuana is also used for therapeutic purposes since it can help relieve chronic pain and other illnesses. Marijuana is also known as pot, weed, grass, and ganja.
Cannabis is the botanical name for the plant, and marijuana is the narcotic derived from it. Marijuana is grown, whereas cannabis is smoked.
While marijuana does not lead to addiction in the same way that heroin or cocaine can, and many believe that its highs are no more intense or destructive than those provided by alcohol, it is nonetheless prohibited under federal law in the United States.
However, many states, such as California, have made it legal for individuals to use marijuana either medicinally or recreationally.
What Causes Marijuana High? THC versus CBD
Cannabinoids are compounds that function as active elements in marijuana.
Marijuana has over 100 cannabinoids, which are naturally occurring substances found in plants and animals. They can even be found in people. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids found in your brain and throughout your body. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), these molecules play a crucial role in thinking, memory, and sensory perception. (1)
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD, are the cannabinoids that cause marijuana’s effects. THC and CBD work on various cerebral pathways, resulting in a variety of physical and emotional effects.
THC, for example, is far more psychoactive, meaning it can alter how your brain interprets the world around you. It is the cannabinoid that causes people to feel inebriated or euphoric by acting on the body’s endocannabinoid system.
THC is what causes individuals to become “high.”
CBD does not work on the same cerebral pathways as THC. CBD, according to researchers, works on the brain’s serotonin system, which governs mood, sleep, appetite, and desire. Rather than changing your perception, it may soothe and relax you. It also has less of an impact on physical reactions.
The amount of THC and CBD in each cannabis plant is variable and depends on how it is grown, prepared, and stored. The more THC a plant has, the stronger its effects.
Marijuana also contains hundreds of other chemicals, the amounts varying from plant to plant.
There are two main types of cannabis plants used for marijuana: sativa and indica. Each produces slightly different effects. There are also hybrid plants grown to combine the two strains.
Hemp plants, which are another type of cannabis plant, do not produce anywhere near the high that sativa and indica plants do.
Marijuana’s capacity for relieving stress, relaxing the body, and changing your perception has made it a popular recreational drug for thousands of years.
According to a 2016 report from the United Nations, it’s the most widely used drug in the world. (2) An estimated 182.5 million people partake of it globally. (2)
Not only is it the world’s most consumed drug, but in the United States, there’s been an estimated six- or sevenfold increase in its potency since the 1970s. (3) According to a study from 2017, potency has been increasing in similar ways in Europe as well. (4)
From 1995 to 2014, the average amount of THC in marijuana has increased from 4 to 12 percent, says Staci Gruber, PhD, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
She adds that when her lab has analyzed the THC content of the products used by individuals participating in her research over the last few years, they’ve found an average 16 to 18 percent increase.
“People want more of a high for their money,” she adds, “and growers have responded accordingly.”
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