The effects of cannabis are varied, the different strains contain subtle differences in the cannabinoid composition and many users develop preferences for certain strains. So, what are the effects of cannabis?
Cannabis has effects both on the body (physiological) and the mind (psychoactive). The physiological effects may include increased heart rate, reddening of the eyes, dryness in the mouth, reduced pressure in the eyeball (intraocular pressure) and muscle relaxation.
The psychoactive cannabis effects are often referred to as the ‘high’ which may start within a few moments of taking the cannabis and typically lasts 2-3 hours. For many the effect of cannabis is a euphoric high that will include a relaxed sense of well being, pleasant changes in perception, enhanced appreciation of art, humour, nature, music, people and TV. Possible increased libido and appetite are common side effects as is the removal of anxiety. For the experienced user, higher doses may allow altered state of consciousness, enhanced distant memory recollections and even depersonalisation - allowing the user to ‘think’ outside of their normal self.
Cannabis use may affect the users attention and reflexes, the responsible stoner may prefer not to drive whilst high. The effects of cannabis can be magnified with alcohol and many users prefer to avoid mixing the effects of both.
Users may also note impairment of short term memory and adistortion in their perception of time whilst high. For users not accustomed to some of these effects of cannabis there may be a sense of anxiety or paranoia especially if they have exceeded their optimum ‘dose’.
Some users may feel sleepy towards the end of their high, and some medical strains such as Dutch Passions Ortega Indica have been bred to enhance the quality of sleep without the groggy ‘morning after’ feeling that sleeping pills can have.
In 1990 a controversial medical finding disclosed that the human body has two different types of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). The cannabinoid receptors allow the cannabis compounds to be easily and quickly absorbed by the body. Further research is ongoing and there may be more than 2 receptors present in humans. Many users with medical ailments find cannabis useful in everything from pain relief (analgesia) to restoration of appetite, the medical uses of cannabis will be discussed in a separate section since this is now an area of massive research and development.
Most cannabinoids are soluble in body fat, one result of this is that cannabis drug tests may pick up traces of cannabis many days (and even weeks) after cannabis usage. This has allowed authorities and employers to persecute cannabis users more effectively than any other type of ‘drug’ user.
The effects of cannabis have been known for thousands of years and some are only now being rediscovered.
20th century man was the first to try an unsuccessful worldwide prohibition of cannabis yet the benefits of cannabis continue to speak for themselves. The effects of cannabis mean that it will always be used by man irrespective of the attitudes from the lawmakers.