Imagine this scenario: You are smoking with four friends by the campfire on the beach. The big joint is rolled up and lit. You take two large puffs and pass them on to the next person in the group. Then the spliff finally makes its rounds and everyone is quite intoxicated at that moment. But you realise that while you’re doing well, the rest of your crew is looking into space, laughing or going crazy. You then ask yourself: “Do I smoke too much? Or are the others simply unable to cope with their state of euphoria?
Obviously it’s not just a question of whether someone is a veteran or a novice, and science certainly has a lot to say about that too. But don’t worry, dear reader: by the time you have read this article through to the end, you should have found the answer to your question as to why cannabis affects people differently.
HOW DOES CANNABIS AFFECT THE BODY AND MIND?
To answer this question, let us first take a closer look at the endocannabinoid system. Every living, breathing person has such a receptor system, which is distributed throughout the entire nervous system. These receptors interact with cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, which bind to them.
There are two main receptors within the emotion control system: CB1 and CB2. The main role of CB1 receptors is to control the modulation of the brain’s reward centres. With regard to cannabis consumption, CB1 also has a direct impact on the transmission of dopamine, which explains the euphoric effect we feel after smoking.
CB2 receptors, for their part, are mainly involved in immune and inflammatory responses. Once activated, CB2 helps the body to reach a more relaxed state without causing damage. In short, CB1 receptors are concerned with brain function, while CB2 receptors are more related to the immune system and physical responses.
WHY DOES CANNABIS AFFECT PEOPLE DIFFERENTLY?
As far as cannabis is concerned, it could not be more aptly expressed than with the saying “Every animal has its little bit”. Some people enjoy their first experience with weeds so much that they want more, while others have nothing good to say about their experience.
WHAT MAKES A CANNABIS “HIGH” A POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE?
While genetics play a role in the overall experience of smoking cannabis, two other important factors need to be taken into account: the user’s state of mind and their environment (i.e. their surroundings). Your current mood and perception, as well as the amount of THC you consume, will certainly determine whether you have a positive or negative experience.
The type of tension also plays a role. In addition to THC, CBD and other cannabinoids, aromatic terpenes are also thought to alter the character of the high, which is why some strains affect you differently than others. Some can give you the perfect high, while others can be too overpowering. To get to know yourself better in this respect, you should monitor your consumption and note how you react to certain strains. This should give you a better understanding of when it’s time to take another shot.
WHY DO PEOPLE REACT DIFFERENTLY TO CANNABIS?
Let’s dig a little deeper. In a moment we will present some individual factors that affect a person’s interaction with cannabis, followed by some general factors that are independent of the person. And because we are all wired differently, these factors also vary from person to person.
If you belong to this group of the population, you are less likely to feel anxious when taking THC. Because of the high levels of cannabinoids in your body, you will probably be less sensitive to CBD and THC. At the other end of the spectrum are people with lower endocannabinoid levels (also known as reduced endocannabinoid tone). These people are more likely to experience the psychotropic effects of THC.
In addition to reducing the risk of paranoia, reducing the number of endocannabinoids has another advantage. Since you have to consume less to get high, you’ll also spend less on weeds, which can save you a ton of money in the long run.
As its name suggests, biochemistry concerns chemical processes in living organisms. And just like genetics, biochemistry varies from person to person. Every time we take different compounds – whether it’s cannabis, caffeine or alcohol – our bodies react differently to them. Likewise, our biochemistry changes over time, depending on genetics, diet, lifestyle, stress, medical conditions and certain habits we have. For example, endocannabinoids are produced in the presence of omega-3 fatty acids. If these fatty acids are not present in your diet, your endocannabinoid system will function less efficiently. This can lead to higher THC levels accompanied by anxiety and mild psychosis.
SEX AND HORMONES
Hormones also play a role in the cannabis experience. Men, for example, are much more likely than women to have severe hunger attacks. On the other hand, women do not need to use as much to feel the plant’s physically calming effects.
Here’s another fact for you: women are more desensitized to the effects of THC than men. The time of the month the herb is consumed can also be a factor in the female experience of a high. It’s fascinating, isn’t it?
The kick you receive on your first glass of Negroni changes after you have approved your third, fourth and fifth. As with learning to ride a bike, you will learn to feel better and keep your balance not to fall off.
The same reasoning can be applied to cannabis use. If you smoke a little more than in the previous session, your body will develop a greater tolerance to the effects. And because the THC level is significantly higher in current strains, your system will get used to this kind of product much more quickly.
If cannabis makes you less intoxicated than before, you can try to change your preferred consumption method. For example, you could switch to edible foods for a week instead of smoking. It is even better to abstain from smoking for a short time. Give your body at least a month’s rest and then try again. After all, there is also talk about the fact that love grows with distance.
GENERAL FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE A CANNABIS HIGH
- THC level (the higher it is, the stronger the intoxication)
- Cannabinoid and terpene content of the selected strain
- Amount of cannabis you use
- The chosen method of consumption (e.g. food and tampons have a much greater effect than smoking a joint)
CAN YOU INFLUENCE THE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS?
It is quite possible. If you feel that your cannabis high is getting a bit too monotonous, here are some things you can do to make things more interesting again:
- Experiment with different varieties
- Get into the right bath
- Take advantage of it
With our discussion about how cannabis affects people and why it affects them differently, and our tips on making your experience more enjoyable, we hope that your next smoking session will put you and your friends in the positive mood you want without any inconvenience.