What is weed?
Weed has been given various names throughout the years. Some call it pot, others call it marijuana and still others are always referring to it as just being grass. There are about 200 names you can use to refer to this type of pleasure drug. It is by far the most used drug around the world. Weed is not really something new. Weed plants have been cultivated for more than 2000 years by mankind. First it was cultivated for personal use only and only during the 2nd half of last century professional growers also started to grow weed in order to meet the increasing weed demand.
The source plant of weed, the hemp plant, contains more than 400 active chemicals of which THC is the most important one. THC is also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. The larger the amount of THC the stronger the weed effects.
What is THC and how does it affect the brain when smoking?
As said before THC is the most important active ingredient of the cannabis plant. It is a mind-altering chemical that affects the human brain when smoked. The more THC a certain weed type contains the stronger the weed effect.
THC is in fact short for tetrahydrocannabinol and is one of the chemicals found in a marijuana plant. THC is absorbed by the body by inhaling or by ingesting weed. When this active compound has entered the body it doesn’t only affect the brain but it does affect the whole body because THC also enters the blood and the lungs. Our brain has several nerve cells which have their own protein receptors called cannabinoid receptors. These cannabinoid receptors will bind with the weed THC. THC will then alter the functions of these nerve cells and will cause the typical effects which can be related to smoking weed. Most of these nerve cells are located in the brain areas that are responsible for coordination, concentration, pleasure and state of mind.
THC seems to have several positive aspects and is used in the medical world to treat various diseases and disorders like eating disorders, multiple sclerosis, aids, tumor growth reduction, … In countries where medical use of marijuana is still considered to be illegal a drug called Marinol is distributed among the population. This drug contains lab-produced THC. Scientific studies and researches though have proven the efficiency of this lab-produced THC to be much lower than natural THC. So THC has several benefits for people suffering of various conditions.
A weed plant normally contains less than 1 percent of THC. Due to professional crossing and manipulation though today’s weed plants contain between 5 and 24 percent of THC. These THC levels are 5 to 10 times higher than compared to crude weed plant THC levels.
Although weed and THC are for sure addictive when entering the body, it is not as addictive as first thought. It is for sure not to be categorized as a highly addictive drugs and studies have even questioned the suggested brain function disruption when excessively smoking weed. MRI brain scans performed on as well weed smokers as non-weed smokers showed little difference.
Aspects that influence the effects of weed
The effects of weed on a person might differ from one person to another. Following aspects might influence the effect of weed when smoking, absorbing or inhaling:
- The intake: The effect of weed first of all depends on the way it is taken in. THC and other active chemical weed substances are absorbed differently by the body depending on the weed intake. Smoking, eating, vaporizing, … weed will all cause a different effect.
- The amount of weed: Logically the effect caused by weed on the human body is also dependent on the amount of weed that is smoked, eaten or vaporized. The more weed you use the stronger the effects.
- The strength of the weed: There is also a lot of logic in the act that the strength of weed influences the effects of weed. The higher the THC level of a weed plant, the stronger its possible effects.
- A person’s personality: This may sound a little weird and strange, but also a person’s personality might influence the effects of weed from one person to another. A very aggressive person will in a lot of cases become even more aggressive when smoking weed while a very lively person will feel a punch of pleasure energy.
- A person’s weight: As with many other things like for example alcohol, also a person’s weight has its influences on the effects of weed. The higher a person’s weight the lower the effects of a certain amount of weed or the longer it takes before the effects are visible when smoking weed.
- Experience: Finally the effect of weed also depends on the weed-smoking experience of the smoker. If a smoker smokes weed on a regular basis and already for a fair amount of time he or she will have to smoke more to create the same effects as a person starting to smoke weed.
The positive effects caused by smoking weed
As probably known by most of you, smoking weed is causing a lot of positive effects. These effects are mainly caused by the chemical weed component that is called THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. It is one of the many substances that is inhaled and absorbed by the human body. THC is affecting specific parts of the brain, which causes unique effects. Let’s go over all the positive aspects that are caused by smoking weed:
- Smoking weed makes you happy, relaxed and carefree.
- Colours will become more intense and music sounds more beautiful.
- Alteration in time and space sense
- Brain stimulation which causes a thrilling weed fantasy. The so-called high.
- An increasing appetite (not positive of course if you would like to lose weight)
- Smoking weed will also decrease pain and works very well to treat nausea.
- Besides all of the above positive effects, weed is often used because of medical reasons. For example to prevent the spreading of various cancer tumors, to help aids and multiple sclerosis patients in fighting pain, to limit the effect of epilepsy, … (please consult our “different types of weed” chapter and read the “medicinal weed” part to know more about the various medical uses.)
These effects are most of the time experienced within 30 minutes after having started to smoke weed. Most of the effects gradually disappear after two or three hours after having smoked weed. Although most of the effects are relatively short-term, weed traces will remain traceable in urine up to three days after inhalation and in a person’s blood up to 4 weeks after inhalation.
Negative aspects caused by smoking weed
Although the many positive aspects caused by smoking weed we considered it necessary to also inform you of the possible negative aspects and effects which might be caused by weed. These dangers are mainly caused by abundant use of weed and very frequent use of weed and occur more often with younger users and teens. Let’s go over all the negative aspects:
- Although smoking weed has a positive influence by decreasing various cancers tumors, the combination of smoking weed and smoking tobacco might significantly increase the risk of cancer.
- Smoking weed while or before driving isn’t such a good idea. Next to alcohol, drugs like weed are one of the main causes of severe car accidents.
- Smoking weed will not only affect certain parts of the brain but it will also increase the heart rate because of the excitement it causes and because of the active chemical substances within weed.
- Smoking a large amount of weed might also turn the happy, relaxed feeling into panic attacks, anxiety and paranoia.
- By smoking weed some persons might also get more aggressive. Most of the time these persons also get more aggressive when having drunk a lot of alcohol. It can be considered as a personality and character problem which is intensified by smoking weed.
- Smoking weed might also cause a loss of coordination and concentration. Because of this loss also the short-term memory will be diminished.
- The perception of the real world might get impaired.
- Frequently smoking weed might also on a long-term damage the immune and respiratory systems. With young male teens smoking weed might also decrease the sperm production.
- Try to avoid combining weed with alcohol, coffee, heavy physical exercises or fatty food.
- Finally we would strongly advise against the use of weed during pregnancy. Smoking weed might not only affect the menstrual cycle when not being pregnant, but it might also be the cause of having a smaller baby with a lower weight when giving birth. Smoking weed during pregnancy also makes the baby more vulnerable for diseases and various health problems.