Positive And Negative Effect Of Cannabinoids On The Brain
Recent research has shown considerable therapeutic effect of cannabinoids for a broad variety of medical diseases, including neurological and mental illnesses. However, cannabinoids are the most widely used illegal drugs in the Western world.
Long-term and short-term cannabinoid usage has been linked to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, cognitive changes, psychosis, schizophrenia, and mood disorders.
All chemical compounds that interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body and brain and cause effects comparable to those of the Cannabis Sativa plant are collectively known as cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids may be used for leisure, medical purposes, or as a synthetic drug. According to studies, the cannabis plant produces over 300 compounds, 80–100 of which are cannabinoids.
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Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most well-known cannabinoids. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the more well-known of the two since it is the molecule responsible for cannabis' intoxicating properties.
THC has significant psychoactive effects, meaning it makes a person 'high,' whereas CBD is considered to have an anti-psychoactive impact, controlling or moderating the 'high' induced by the THC. It has been hypothesized that CBD might mitigate other side effects of THC, such as anxiety.
- Cannabis - The dried leaves and flowers (buds) of the cannabis plant are known as "cannabis" and are often smoked in a pipe or joint. This version is the most typical one.
- Hemp - Rope, sturdy textiles, fibreboard, and paper are all made using hemp, which is the cannabis plant's stem fiber.
- Medicinal cannabinoids - Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)-approved medicinal cannabis medicines including nabiximols (Sativex®) and synthetic cannabinoids like Dronabinol®.
- HU-210 - It is a THC analogue that was initially synthesized in 1988 in Israel and is thought to be at least 100 times as powerful as THC.
- Six UR-144 - It has effects like THC, albeit it's not quite as powerful. Synthetic cannabinoids JWH were developed by Dr. John W. Huffman in 1994 to examine the cannabinoid receptors.
- 5F-ADB - It is a synthetic cannabinoid that was initially discovered in late 2014 via analysis of tissue from a person who had died after ingesting it.
- CUMYL-PEGACLONE - In late 2016, CUMYL-PEGACLONE appeared in Germany. There are a variety of CUML-PEGACLONE side effects, according to anecdotal accounts.
Cannabinoids, the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, have garnered significant attention for their potential positive effects on the brain. While the research is ongoing, several promising aspects have been identified:
One of the most intriguing potential benefits of cannabinoids is their neuroprotective properties. Some studies suggest that cannabinoids, particularly CBD (cannabidiol), may play a role in protecting brain cells from damage and degeneration. This neuroprotection is of interest in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Cannabinoids, especially THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), have been known for their analgesic or pain-relieving properties. They interact with receptors in the brain and the nervous system to reduce pain signals. This has led to the development of cannabinoid-based medications for conditions involving chronic pain.
Researchers are exploring cannabinoids for a wide range of therapeutic applications. These include potential treatments for epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even substance use disorders. Cannabinoids' ability to modulate brain function holds promise for addressing various medical conditions.
While cannabinoids offer potential benefits, it's crucial to acknowledge the negative effects they can have on the brain, especially with misuse or excessive use:
One well-documented negative effect of cannabinoids, particularly THC, is the impairment of cognitive function. Short-term memory, concentration, and the ability to think clearly can be significantly affected. This impairment can lead to difficulties in performing tasks that require focus and attention.
In some individuals, cannabinoids can lead to adverse psychiatric effects. These may include increased anxiety, paranoia, and even hallucinations, especially when consuming high doses or if predisposed to these conditions. It's essential to consider the potential mental health risks.
Cannabinoids, especially when used recreationally, carry a risk of addiction and dependency. The brain's reward system can become influenced by cannabinoids, leading to cravings and withdrawal symptoms when not using the substance. This is a significant concern for some individuals and requires careful consideration.
There is a range of potential psychological effects associated with cannabinoid use. It's important to understand that these effects can vary from person to person, and this list is not exhaustive. Some common effects include:
- Increased Appetite and Thirst - Cannabinoids can often lead to "the munchies," causing an increased desire for food and beverages.
- Mood Alteration - Cannabinoids may result in changes in mood, which can either increase or decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety depending on the individual.
- Impaired Judgment - Cannabinoids can impair judgment and decision-making abilities, making it difficult for individuals to think clearly.
- Memory Problems - Short-term memory can be affected by cannabinoid use, leading to difficulties in recalling recent events or information.
- Elevated Dopamine Levels - Cannabinoid use can trigger the release of dopamine, resulting in the sensation of being "high" or euphoric.
- Withdrawal Symptoms - Long-term use of cannabinoids may lead to withdrawal symptoms when not using the substance.
- Slower Reaction Time - Cannabinoids can slow down reaction times to stimuli, which can be concerning, especially when driving or operating machinery.
- Temporary Paranoia and Hallucinations - In some cases, cannabinoid use may cause temporary feelings of paranoia and hallucinations, particularly with high doses or for individuals susceptible to such effects.
- Potential for Addiction - While not everyone becomes addicted, cannabinoid has the potential to lead to dependence and addiction in some individuals.
It's essential for individuals considering cannabis use to be aware of these potential psychological effects and to approach its use with caution, especially if they have a history of mental health issues.
The actions of Cannabis in animal models disrupt the signaling pathways of the endocannabinoid system and impact synaptic plasticity. In the short term, this affects the strength of connections between interneurons, while in the long term, it leads to alterations in the functioning of neuronal networks.
Exposure to THC during adolescence can result in structural, molecular, and functional changes in brain circuits, particularly in regions responsible for cognition and behavior.
The effect of prenatal exposure to cannabinoid agonists, such as THC, disrupts normal endocannabinoid system signaling during development and leads to abnormal neurotransmission.
Prenatal THC exposure affects neuroanatomic areas associated with cognition and emotional regulation, including the prefrontal cortex, limbic system, and ventral tegmentum of the midbrain.
Marijuana use's impact on human cognition is evident in acute intoxication, affecting memory, behavior, and impulsivity. Long-term cannabis use may have domain-specific effects on cognition.
Neuroimaging studies have shown structural changes in cannabis users, although the results have been inconsistent. Functional changes may be observed in brain areas involved in cognition among cannabis users, and early exposure to cannabis may negatively affect cognitive function.
Concerning cerebrovascular risk and disease, various studies have linked cannabis use to an increased risk of stroke. Data from population surveys indicate that both the pattern (heavy vs. less) and frequency (>10 days/month) of cannabis use may elevate stroke risk.
It's worth noting that cigarette smoking is common among cannabis users and could modify or confound the relationship between cannabis use and stroke risk.
Cannabis's vasoactive properties and its potential involvement in cardiac pathology and atherosclerosis development may also contribute to increased stroke risk, possibly through reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndromes or other indirect mechanisms.
It's essential to consider that differences in study findings may be attributed to the time periods when population cohorts were studied, as cannabis strains have evolved over the past decade, leading to higher THC concentrations and the emergence of preparations with synthetic cannabinoids like Spice, potentially influencing the association between cannabis use and stroke.
Cannabis has effects on the whole central nervous system (CNS). Cannabis is supposed to relieve pain and inflammation, as well as aid in the management of spasms and seizures. However, there may be long-term detrimental consequences on the CNS to consider.
THC causes the brain to produce high quantities of dopamine, a naturally occurring "feel good" neurotransmitter. It's what gives you a nice high. It may improve your sensory perception and temporal perception.
This dopamine loop might also explain why up to 30% of cannabis users develop cannabis use disorder. Severe cannabis use disorder, or addiction, is rare, although it does exist. Cannabis withdrawal symptoms may include irritability, insomnia, and appetite loss.
THC alters the way you process information in the hippocampus, which may affect your judgment. Because the hippocampus is in charge of memory, it may be harder to generate new memories when high.
Changes occur in the cerebellum and basal ganglia as well. These brain regions are involved in movement and balance. Cannabis has the potential to change your balance, coordination, and reaction response. All of these developments indicate that driving is no longer safe.
Extremely high cannabis dosages or THC concentrations might produce hallucinations or delusions. According to the NIDA, cannabis consumption may be linked to several mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
If you have schizophrenia or a family history of schizophrenia, you should avoid cannabis. Cannabis may exacerbate symptoms or increase the likelihood of acquiring the illness in persons with a genetic predisposition.
You may feel fatigued or melancholy as you come down from the high. Cannabis might trigger anxiety in certain individuals.
Long-term cannabis usage may have a long-term negative influence on thinking and memory functions in those younger than 25 years old, whose brains haven't completely grown.
Cannabis use during pregnancy may have an impact on the growing fetus. Memory, focus, and problem-solving abilities may be impaired in the youngster.
As previously stated, federal prohibition has limited cannabis research to observational studies that can only discover association rather than cause.
Furthermore, this research focused on unregulated, illicit cannabis, and experts are unsure if legal cannabis controlled by governments has distinct effects.
Cannabis, popularly known as marijuana, includes hundreds of compounds, more than 100 of which are cannabinoids. Since the 1940s, these cannabinoids have been widely explored, and their molecular structure was discovered in the 1960s.
There has been a substantial growth in understanding how cannabinoids interact with the body and their potential medicinal benefits in recent years.
The principal psychoactive component of cannabis is 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes a "high" sensation while taking cannabis.
Cannabidiol (CBD), another natural cannabinoid, contributes to the pharmacological properties of cannabis but does not induce intoxicating effects. CBD has attracted attention for its possible therapeutic advantages and is being researched for a variety of medicinal applications.
Other natural cannabinoids present in cannabis, in addition to THC and CBD, include cannabigerol, cannabivarin, and cannabichromene. These cannabinoids may have medicinal properties, however, they are present in lesser amounts than THC and CBD.
Synthetic cannabinoids that operate similarly to THC or other natural cannabinoids exist. Some of these synthetic cannabinoids, such as dronabinol and nabilone, have medicinal use. Others, like Spice and K2, are taken recreationally rather than medicinally.
While THC has traditionally been the primary focus of medicinal cannabis research, there is also considerable interest in CBD's possible medical applications. CBD has no psychotropic effects and has shown potential in treating a variety of illnesses. Overall, there is a large body of scientific research on cannabis's medicinal benefits.
Cannabinoids have shown promise in treating various medical conditions, including chronic pain, epilepsy, and nausea. They may also have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
In some cases, cannabinoids, particularly THC, can lead to adverse mental health effects. These may include anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations, especially with high doses or in susceptible individuals.
Cannabinoids can influence cardiovascular health. They may lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, which can be a concern for individuals with preexisting heart conditions.
Long-term use of cannabinoids, particularly in high doses, may have lasting effects on cognitive function. These effects can vary depending on factors like the duration and frequency of use.
Yes, cannabinoids can interact with various medications. It's important to consult with a healthcare provider to assess potential drug interactions and ensure safe usage, especially when using cannabinoids alongside other medications.
The effect of cannabinoids can be short and long-term. While many supporters feel that cannabis is a modern-day panacea, others argue that its negative consequences outweigh its possible medical advantages.
Cannabis has been used recreationally for many years. As of 2019, 34 states in the United States have legalized cannabis in some form. A few states have also made its recreational usage lawful.
People in places where recreational use is still illegal should seek alternative options and consult with their healthcare professionals about what is best for them.