how-thc-affects-your-thoughts

How does THC change your thinking process?

By: Daniel C. Medical

Something really changes in the thought creation processes when people are under the influence of marijuana. Let’s think (never better said), for example, about how humour is affected; or creativity, as many artists claim. So what happens inside the brain when we use cannabis? And how does this have an impact on the way thoughts operate? Although neuroscience is intensely complex, we will try to answer these questions.

There are many different experiences that may arise from cannabis use. But one of the most noticeable cannabis effects is how it affects our thoughts. Sometimes funny or absurd, sometimes creative or seemingly great and sometimes downright dark and frightening, these ideas can either inspire us or completely confuse us. These different thought patterns can be unpredictable in the way they manifest, but can mostly be attributed to the way THC and other cannabis compounds affect the brain.

Why do we think differently when we use cannabis?

When we use marijuana, its cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, activate our natural endocannabinoid receptors; which causes most of its effects on our body and mind. An important effect of THC, the main psychoactive component, is an increase in blood flow to certain parts of the brain.

This was confirmed in 1997 by a study published in the ‘Life Sciences’ journal. The researchers conjectured that the mental and behavioural changes associated with cannabis may be related to an increase in this blood flow and increased functional activity of certain areas of the brain.

No matter how much cannabinoids are consumed, they travel in the blood until they reach and connect with cells in the body that have endocannabinoid receptors. In the brain, different types of cells express CB1 receptors and, as THC and other cannabinoids reach these receptors, they trigger a specific response from these cells.

Since cannabis, mainly due to THC, is psychoactive, it alters brain function, producing cognitive, perception, awareness and behaviour changes as well as mood swings. This may explain why people tend to have unusual thoughts and ideas and why they also become more creative.

Analysing the psychoactivity of cannabis is complicated simply because many things happen at the same time: strange thoughts, unusual sensations and peculiar associations, among others. Observe features of brain areas most influenced by THC help us understand how some changes occur.

  • Normally, the frontal lobes are thought to be responsible for some very important cognitive functions such as abstract thinking, synthetic reasoning or sensory data processing. Therefore, it is not surprising that boosting that area of the brain with greater blood flow and, consequently, greater functional activity, leads to some very different thoughts.
  • But the frontal lobe is not the only part of the brain that contributes to thoughts. The insular cortex (located on the lateral surface of the brain), which is linked to sensory perceptions such as taste, mediates stress-induced cardiovascular responses as well as experiencing a significant increase in blood flow.
  • The researchers also noted that the right hemisphere, which is associated with the ability to express emotions, was substantially more activated than the left. It is believed that the cingulate cortex (situated in the cerebral cortex brainstem) also shows high correlations between increases in cerebral blood flow and THC, regulating the interactions between sensory information, emotions and pain.

Even though brain changes can be incredibly diverse, cannabis increases neuronal activity in these important areas of the brain. As this additional neurons activity elevates the mind to uncharted territories, we can be assailed by different kinds of thoughts.

Amazing ideas that seem great

A typical feeling is that you seem to be having the brightest ideas of your life, but the next day, the ideas don’t seem so good. And science suggests that this is entirely possible. Some studies have found that increased blood flow improves divergent thinking (a type of creative thinking), but improvements in divergent thinking were only noticed when low doses of THC were consumed. Too much and divergent thinking will vanish. This could be why we hear such different stories about whether cannabis helps or hurts our brilliant creative thinking. This is also why dosing is so important.

Funny thoughts that cause hilarity

When you’re under the effects of cannabis, you may find everything hilarious or absurd. If you laugh at everything, it’s probably because THC is increasing blood flow to the parts of the brain associated with laughter (specifically the left frontal and temporal lobes). As these parts become hyperactive, everything seems funny. In addition, THC can also cause happy, relaxed and blissful feelings, as antidepressant or anxiolytic medication do. These happy feelings can make it easier to laugh and enjoy humour in life.

Anxious, paranoid or intrusive thoughts that can scare

While many thoughts are pleasant or funny, some are exceptionally unpleasant, paranoid or negative. Sometimes these could mean an intrusion in our mind and we cannot stop thinking about them. Those who experience these thoughts regularly usually do not enjoy cannabis. Unfortunately, just as cannabis can induce relaxation, joy and humour, can rapidly produce opposite effects due to its biphasic nature; this means that most effects can be reversed with a sufficiently high dose. While a low dose can induce a feeling of happiness, a high dose of exactly the same cannabis may switch to the opposite direction, inducing negative and anxious feelings.

How to avoid negative thoughts

While there is no way to directly control where your mind goes when you’re under the effects of cannabis, there are some strategies you can follow to keep your experience positive and productive:

  1. Consider your mind-set, the reason to consume and your environment. It is an important and often overlooked step, but it can have a huge impact on the experience.
  2. Play with the CBD:THC ratio. Cannabis with a high THC content is the most common, but it can also be the hardest to dose. We recommend considering a balanced ratio of CBD:THC, as CBD can attenuate the side effects of THC.
  3. And above all, choose the right dose. Cannabis dosage is individualised and varies according to age, sex and unique genetic factors. Knowing yourself, your tolerance and your limits is a fundamental part of crossing this labyrinth of thoughts in which, in addition to having plenty of fun, sometimes it could also be easy to get lost.

Kannabia Seeds Company sells to its customers a product collection, a souvenir. We cannot and we shall not give growing advice since our product is not intended for this purpose.

Kannabia accept no responsibility for any illegal use made by third parties of information published. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption is an activity subject to legal restrictions that vary from state to state. We recommend consultation of the legislation in force in your country of residence to avoid participation in any illegal activity.

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