Cannabis products are renowned for bringing about the good times – we’ve all smoked a joint or eaten a brownie and got the giggles. When enjoying marijuana with friends, having a giggly time is standard. But what is it about cannabis that makes us laugh and go all beady-eyed? Scientists have a few ideas as to why cannabis has the effect it does.
Cannabis improves your mood
The influence that cannabis has on our mood is a big part of why we get the giggles when we’ve had some. The psychoactive THC molecule in cannabis is chemically similar to anandamide, an endocannabinoid. Anandamide is released into the body after activities such as an intense, rewarding workout or sex. Put simply, it just feels good. THC replaces anandamide in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) when you take cannabis – users can therefore experience those pleasurable sensations on demand.
Keeping in mind that anandamide can arouse us even when we aren’t looking to be turned on, it’s possible that marijuana and THC could be used to boost sex drive.
THC and anandamide help to reduce pain perception and send a wave of euphoria throughout the body. Both chemicals connect with the same CB1 receptors in the ECS. When we smoke cannabis, the euphoric feeling is multiplied beyond anything that could be achieved just through anandamide.
In states of relaxation and euphoria, our mood is typically improved, our appetite increases and we are more likely to sleep.
CBD and THC, the two most abundant cannabinoids in marijuana, are potent antidepressant compounds. Cannabinoids can lift you from even the darkest of mindsets, thanks to their similarities to the natural, mood-enhancing anandamide.
Cannabis could speed up your brain’s metabolism
Think metabolism and breaking down food in the stomach is probably the first thing that springs to mind. However, brain cells also have to break down substances. Brain metabolism speeds vary from person to person, just like stomach metabolism. A sub-standard brain metabolism can have an adverse effect on mood.
Researchers at King’s College London concluded that marijuana could be beneficial for patients with poor brain metabolisms. Cannabis users were found to have increased metabolic activity in the parts of the brain that control emotions – the anterior cingulate cortex and the frontal lobe.
Cannabis speeds up your brain’s metabolism, which in turn makes it easier to break down important chemicals and vitamins that promote happiness. It’s vital that the brain utilizes vitamin B-5 efficiently, or it won’t produce the necessary neurotransmitters to keep a good mood. This is the case for other vitamins and endocannabinoids, and also neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
Patients with a slow brain metabolism are more likely to develop bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. But how does cannabis and the giggles play into all of this? The powerful herb helps to speed up your brain’s chemical metabolism, and enable it to break down the required chemicals to keep you happy or restore your happiness.
Laughter improves mood
Now we’re not saying that you should be consuming cannabis all the time to keep your mood up, but having it now and again with mates can help enhance your overall wellbeing. And it can make for some hilarious times too. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned smoker, every cannabis user can have their funny bone tickled and break into fits of laughter at a joke. You may find yourself laughing for minutes and even feel a bit breathless after a while! This is party time for your body, as all those pleasure-inducing chemicals are released to work their charm.
Smoking cannabis betters your mood, and if you’re in a good state of mind then you’re more likely to laugh anyway. Once you’ve started laughing, the giggles tend to keep flowing. That old age that laughter is the best medicine – it just might be true!
Laughter isn’t a placebo, it has some really useful health benefits too, including:
- Reduces pain perception
- Improves quality of life
- Limits damage to stress hormones
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
- Boosts your immune system
However, the science shows that you cannot fake it to make it with laughter. Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist, has studied the differences between real and fake laughter and found that socially stimulating scenarios are most likely to encourage genuine laughter among adults. Chilling out with a few joints and some great mates fits the bill.
When we relax and smoke with our best friends or a romantic partner, our stress levels are reduced and this improves the bonds that we make with other people. Scott found that couples who engage in genuine laughter have stronger relationships than those who don’t. Furthermore, couples who could find the funny side when looking back at stressful events in the past stay together longer than those who have a negative outlook to life.
As with so much cannabis science, our knowledge on why the herb gives us the giggles to the extent it does remains incomplete. However, we know from our experiences with the plant that it can boost our mood and give us a pick up when we need it most. So, bake up some edibles, pack a bowl or roll a top-notch joint and take some time out to relax and laugh with a movie or with friends.
What strains do you find make you laugh the most? Let us know and start a conversatio by dropping a line in the comments!