What Does Cannabis (THC) Do To your Brain

Discussion in 'General' started by Zimed, May 16, 2006.

  1. I am very interested to learn, what cannabis, and THC in fact, do to your chemicals in the brain. I know they alter your seratonin/dopamien levels, but what is the scientific explanation, and the exacts? I hope someone on here can help me out.
     
  2. THC
    Tetrahydrocannabinol

    Its pharmacological actions are the result of its binding to the cannabinoid receptor CB1, located in the brain. The presence of these specialized receptors in the brain implied to researchers that endogenous cannabinoids were manufactured by the body, so the search began for a substance normally manufactured in the brain that binds to these receptors, the so-called natural ligand or agonist, leading to the eventual discovery of anandamide, 2 arachidonyl glyceride (2-AG) and other related compounds. This story resembles the discovery of the endogenous opiates (endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphin), after the realization that morphine and other opiates bound to specific receptors in the brain.

    THC has analgesic effects even at low doses that do not cause a "high", and cannabis was once commonly used to treat pain. Other effects include: relaxation, euphoria, altered space-time perception, alteration of visual, auditory, and olfactory senses, disorientation, fatigue and appetite stimulation. It also has anti-emetic properties.

    A number of studies indicate that THC may provide medical benefits for cancer and AIDS patients by increasing appetite and decreasing nausea, and by blocking the spread of some cancer-causing Herpes simplex viruses. It has been shown to assist some glaucoma patients by reducing pressure within the eye, and is used in the form of cannabis by a number of multiple sclerosis patients to relieve the spasms associated with their condition. Studies also indicate a variety of negative effects associated with constant, long-term use, including short-term memory loss. The long-term effects of THC on humans have been disputed because its status as an illegal drug almost everywhere prevents free research into the subject. The issue has become deeply politicized.

    from Wikipedia
     
  3. Biochemical effects

    The chemical structure of Δ9-THC

    Macro shot of fairly mature glandular trichome

    Micro shot of mature glandular trichome

    The main component of cannabis that interacts with the brain and produces all the psychoactive effects is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly called Δ9-THC, or simply THC). In addition to THC, there are also cofactor compounds contained in marijuana that do not exhibit any psychoactive response but are obligatory for functionality: Cannabidiol (CBD), which is an isomer of THC; Cannabinol (CBN), which is an oxidation product of THC; and Cannabinolic acid. How these other compounds interacts with THC is not fully understood, but some clinical studies have proposed that CBD acts as a balancing force to regulate the strength of the psychoactive agent THC. Anecdotal but inconclusive reports claim that marijuana with relatively high ratios of THC:CBD is less likely to induce anxiety than marijuana with low THC:CBD ratios. [1] CBD is also believed to regulate the body’s metabolism of THC by inactivating cytochrome P450, an important class of enzymes that metabolize drugs. Experiments in which mice were treated with CBD followed by THC showed that CBD treatment was associated with a substantial increase in brain concentrations of THC and its major metabolites, most likely because it decreased the rate of clearance of THC from the body. [1] Cannabis cofactor compounds have also been linked to lowering body temperature, modulating immune functioning, and cell protection. The essential oil of cannabis also contains many fragrant terpenoids, which may synergize with the cannabinoids to produce their unique effects.

    In 1990, the discovery of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the brain and body, along with endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitters like anandamide, suggested that the use of marijuana affects the brain in the same manner as a naturally occurring brain chemical. Cannabinoids usually contain a 1,1'-di-methyl-pyrane ring, a variedly derivatized aromatic ring and a variedly unsaturated cyclohexyl ring and their immediate chemical precursors, constituting a family of about 60 bi-cyclic and tri-cyclic compounds. Like most other neurological processes, the effects of marijuana on the brain follow the standard protocol of signal transduction, the electrochemical system of sending signals through neurons for a biological response. It is now understood that cannabinoid receptors appear in similar forms in most vertebrates and invertebrates and have a long evolutionary history of 500 million years. The fact that these receptors have been conserved throughout this time indicates that they must have an important basic role in animal physiology. There are two types of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2).

    The CB1 receptor is found primarily in the brain and mediates the psychological effects of THC. The CB2 receptor is most abundantly found on cells of the immune system. Cannabinoids act as immunomodulators at CB2 receptors, meaning they increase some immune responses and decrease others. For example, nonpsychotrophic cannabinoids can be used as a very effective anti-inflammatory. [1] The affinity of cannabinoids to bind to either receptor is about the same, with only a slight increase observed with the plant-derived compound CBD binding to CB2 receptors more frequently. Cannabinoids likely have a role in the brain’s control of movement and memory, as well as natural pain modulation. It is clear that cannabinoids can affect pain transmission and, specifically, that cannabinoids interact with the brain's natural opioid system acting as a dopamine agonist. [2] This is an important physiological pathway for the medical treatment of pain.

    The cannabinoid receptor is a typical member of the largest known family of receptors called a G protein-coupled receptor. A signature of this type of receptor is the distinct pattern of how the receptor molecule spans the cell membrane seven times. The location of cannabinoid receptors exists on the cell membrane, and both outside (extracellularly) and inside (intracellularly) the cell membrane. CB1 receptors, the bigger of the two, are extraordinarily abundant in the brain: 10 times more plentiful than mu opioid receptors, the receptors responsible for the effects of morphine. CB2 receptors are structurally different (the homology between the two subtypes of receptors is 44%), found only on cells of the immune system, and seems to function similarly to its CB1 counterpart. CB2 receptors are most commonly prevalent on B-cells, natural killer cells, and monocytes, but can also be found on polymorphonuclear neurtrophil cells, T8 cells, and T4 cells. In the tonsils the CB2 receptors appear to be restricted to B-lymphocyte-enriched areas.

    Cannabis also contains a related class of compound: the Cannflavins. These compounds have been suggested to contribute certain effects of cannabis, such as analgesia and anti-inflammatory properties, and are considerably more effective than aspirin. Cannaflavins usually contain a 1,4-pyrone ring fused to a variedly derivatized aromatic ring and linked to a 2nd variedly derivatized aromatic ring and include for example the non-psychoactive Cannflavin A and B.

    The nature of marijuana, and its lipophilic (fat soluble) properties, makes it one of the most slowly degraded drugs by exponential decay in the human body. The THC molecule, and related compounds, are usually detectable in drug tests for up to approximately one month after using cannabis (see drug test). This detection is possible because non-psychoactive THC metabolites are stored for long periods of time in fat cells and THC has an extremely low water solubility. It is this slow and steady removal from the body that is linked with usually mild or nonexistent withdrawal symptoms after single or occasional use of the drug. The rate of elimination of metabolites is slightly greater for more frequent users due to tolerance, and indicates greater possibility for withdrawal symptoms after termination of chronic or habitual use.

    The LD50 of THC is 1270 mg/kg (male rats), 730 mg/kg (female rats) oral in sesame oil, and 42 mg/kg (rats) from inhalation.
     
  4. it melts it and u can die after taking just 1 hit cuz u neva kno how potent it is
     
  5. just like the this is your brain on drugs propaganda
     
  6. It melts it, huh? You know why even take the time out to reply to an otherwise intellectual thread and taint it with your non sense? I do not know, that's just todays unfortunate society. This thread was meant to be serious; not a joke. I read those articles, however it did not clearly state the effects it had on Seratonin, and Dopamien levels.
     
  7. Sorry but you're the one asking the question, so obviously you don't know the answer. How do you know he isnt right? :)
     
  8. From an american drug film, circa 1955.

    Or how about this:

    From the notorious Harry Anslinger in 1929
    Or

    Which is from Hearst Newspapers. Their interested in hemp produced papers and direct connection to Cheif of the Federal Narcotics Beaurau, Harry Anslinger? All too evident.

    More? How about more recent?

    From the Cheif and Commander, Ronald Reagan, 1974

    Another you say?

    Carlton Turner, 1986.

    Just one more for the road, I insist;

    From the notorious marijuana-prohibitionist Emily Murphy, 1923.


    To conclude; Marijuana is a terrible, addictive drug. You are all raving lunatics, i can't believe your can operate computers!

    You're an abomination to society and should be hunted down and shot!

    ;)
     
  9. neg,
    you should have posted this info on that freeadvice board the other day. the tards could than see that although we may be stoners, we still know what the fuck we're talking about.
     
  10. I vote this as one of the best posts i've read on this forum :p
     

  11. What are you talking about, I was just joking, THC really does melt your brain, in fact, this bowl might me my last...
     
  12. Nah, don't worry about it man I wasn't directing it towards you. People are just making wise cracks at the title of the topic by saying, "it melts your brain" I wabted to know more along the lines of what it actually did with regards to the seratonin/dopamien levels in the brain...I know it doesn't melt your brain..
     
  13. so THAT'S why i went on that killing spree.....
     
  14. wow thats alot of info
     

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