There’s no end to the list of reasons that people choose to use cannabis, but one thing is for sure: Cannabis certainly has the ability to make people feel happier.
The happy, comfortable disposition consumers find themselves after consuming cannabis is thanks to how its makeup affects the chemicals in our brains. This alteration in the brain is what gives us that high feeling and since it affects the brain, it’s worth noting how it can alter all of our senses.
Food seems to taste better, music sounds better and trees look prettier, but how? A lot of the effects that cannabis has are connected since it’s the alteration of neurotransmitters in the brain that ultimately affect everything else. Certain neurotransmitters are working harder after consuming cannabis so the brain can process and interpret external stimuli at a quicker rate.
While cannabis can affect everyone differently, here’s a look at how cannabis may affect your five senses:
Consuming cannabis affects your blood pressure which affects the rate at which blood is flowing to the organs. This can actually cause the organ to behave differently than usual. The extra blood flood can cause the pupils to dilate drastically, allowing more light to enter the system. This might be why everything seems literally so much brighter.
Besides the obvious fragrance most strains carry with them, did you know that consuming cannabis can actually enhance your sense of smell?
Past animal studies have shown that THC affects the olfactory bulb in animals, which is the part of the brain that allows you to smell. One particular study had a bunch of mice try to find cheese in a labyrinth. Half of the mice were given a dose of THC while the other half was not. The mice that were given the THC found the cheese much faster. Some of the mice that were not given THC were completely unable to find the cheese.
One of the longest running stoner stereotypes is that marijuana consumption makes the consumer want to eat everything but the refrigerator, but there’s more to it and it’s not necessarily that cannabis has any effect on how food tastes. Consuming cannabis can promote the production of ghrelin, otherwise known as the ‘hunger hormone’. Ghrelin is what makes us hungry and crave food. It’s released primarily by the stomach with some released by the small intestine, pancreas and brain.
When ghrelin is administered to humans, it can increase food intake by as much as 30 percent. The same goes when the hormone is being increased by cannabis and other external stimuli. This along with more dopamine being released will only enhance whatever you choose to eat following consumption.
Cannabis is praised for its ability to relieve numerous kinds of pain. This has long been attributed to THC’s ability to muffle the neurotransmitters responsible for causing pain. THC can affect the transfer of amandamine, a chemical responsible for regulating pain, hunger, mood and memory. However, more recently, it’s CBD that’s being given just as much credit for pain relief thanks to its ability to reduce inflammation.
Unlike THC, CBD will not cause a high, which is why it’s such a hot topic in the medical field and for those seeking healthier, more natural pain relief options. Cannabis does not completely deafen all the pain, but many suffering from both short term and chronic pain still swear by its pain relieving qualities.
Hearing might actually be the outlier of the five senses as there’s currently no major connection between consuming marijuana and enhanced hearing. A 1976 study tried to find a negative correlation between marijuana consumption and hearing through audiological tests. Half of the test subjects were given cannabis and the other half was given a placebo. Each subject participated in a hearing test before smoking. While the researchers were trying to find a negative impact, what they found was that smoking cannabis had little to no impact on any of the test subject’s hearing ability, positive or negative.
When people claim that they can hear music and other sounds better after consuming cannabis, this should be attributed to the effects of higher dopamine levels, which can enhance their reaction to audio stimuli.
As cannabis becomes more widely accepted and scientists are able to conduct more research, there’s no telling how many other effects we’ll find that cannabis has on our minds and on our bodies.