Did you know … the marijuana plant is composed of hundreds of chemicals, despite scientists main focus on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound, but it does contribute to making the smoker feel calm and relaxed. In fact, cannabidiol has so many rock-star qualities that scientists are trying to figure out how to turn it into a drug. Cannabidiol contains analgesic (aka pain-relieving), anti-inflammatory, and antipsychotic properties that have the potential to treat patients with schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, and even cancer.
[THC], a member of the cannabinoid chemical family, is specifically responsible for the psychological and physical side effects that occur as a result of lighting up.
That’s because THC in the brain acts like a neurotransmitter called anandamide. Anandamide is associated with boosting memory and learning, stimulating the appetite and dulling pain. You can read the nitty gritty of how THC interacts with other brain chemicals to make spaced out, snacky, uninhibited, giggly and all the other stereotypical stoner affects over at Greatist. But the bottom line?
“As with many biological processes, the overall effect of marijuana on brain chemistry isn’t crystal clear,” notes writer Sophia Breene. “For the most part, current research is disproving earlier studies that claimed that marijuana damaged the body long-term, but so far nothing’s really set in stone.”
And like pharmaceutical drugs that tweak our neurotransmitters—and as anyone who’s ever smoked pot or watched others do it can attest—not everyone reacts the same way to new neurochemicals mixing it up in the brain. While how you get high might come down to THC and CBD, the experience of ‘high’ can differ greatly based on your own body, neurochemistry and the type of weed that’s smoked.