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The effects of Cannabis - what's it like?

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
So just what does cannabis do? How does it make you feel?

This first thing to know is that cannabis comes in many different varieties, which all have different versions of the same effect. Unike almost every other recreational substance, cannabis is not a single drug.

Different strains of cannabis produce different versions of being stoned due to varying amounts of active ingredients. Different strains - or varieties - of cannabis contain different balances of active chemicals - see the panel opposite.

To try and describe what it is like to feel stoned to someone that hasn't been there is very difficult, but the first thing to know is it is nothing like being drunk.

Whereas being drunk can change the personality of the drinker and make him or her unaware of who and where they are, Cannabis users are very much still "there" and aware of the world around them.
Getting Stoned

Although unlike alcohol, you are always "in control" with cannabis (unless you get really hammered and fall asleep), the world can feel distant and conversation can become difficult. Movement can be difficult and reaction times are slowed.

So what happens when you get stoned? Well, you can expect a range of things to happen which might include:

keener perception - especially an increased appreciation of music or images. This is what people mostly use cannabis in a creative way for. Music in particular can sound very much more intense and elements of the music stand out. The governments anti drug site "Talk to Frank" puts it this way: "users can find hidden depths in daytime television/ the most unlikely song lyrics". This is probably true, but by no means the full story.

A remoteness people talk, but you miss what they say, things seem "distant".

The munchies - a feeling of hunger. Be careful of this one, it can lead to midnight raids of the 'fridge! It's also one of the therapeutic effects of cannabis, particularly for cancer sufferers undergoing chemotherapy

Thirst coupled with a dry mouth and throat; it's a good idea to have some fruit juice around, but not alcohol for best effect.

A feeling of increased empathy, peacefulness and relaxation, oneness with nature and so on.

A definite feeling of slowed time, minutes can pass in a matter of hours, if you see what I mean.

Trancing: Getting stoned whilst dancing is an aspect of cannabis use which has been understood for a long time.


The "Cannabis Cultivation Network" site lists these components of cannabis

THC: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol & delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol - THC mimics the action of anandamide, a neurotransmitter produced naturally in the body, which binds with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain to produce the 'high' associated with marijuana. THC possesses high UV-B (280-315 nm) absorption properties.

THCV: tetrahydrocannabivarin - prevalent in certain South African and Southeast Asian strains of cannabis. It is said to produce a 'clearer high' & seems to possess many of the therapeutic properties of THC.

CBD: Cannabidiol - previously believed to be psychoactive, or to contribute to the high by interacting with other cannabinoids, conversely the most recent research indicates that CBD has negligible effect on the high, it is however a strong anti-inflammatory, and may take the edge off some THC effects, such as anxiety. CBD as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid appears to be helpful for many medical conditions. CBD biosynthesizes into cannabinol (CBN) & tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

CBN: Cannabinol - a degradation product of THC, produces a depressant effect, 'fuzzy' forehead.

CBC: Cannabichromene - non-psychoactive , a precursor to THC.

CBG: Cannabigerol - non-psychoactive, hemp strains often posses elevated levels of CBG while possessing only trace amounts of THC.

The "Cannabis Cultivation Network" site lists these components of cannabis

THC: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol & delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol - THC mimics the action of anandamide, a neurotransmitter produced naturally in the body, which binds with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain to produce the 'high' associated with marijuana. THC possesses high UV-B (280-315 nm) absorption properties.

THCV: tetrahydrocannabivarin - prevalent in certain South African and Southeast Asian strains of cannabis. It is said to produce a 'clearer high' & seems to possess many of the therapeutic properties of THC.

CBD: Cannabidiol - previously believed to be psychoactive, or to contribute to the high by interacting with other cannabinoids, conversely the most recent research indicates that CBD has negligible effect on the high, it is however a strong anti-inflammatory, and may take the edge off some THC effects, such as anxiety. CBD as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid appears to be helpful for many medical conditions. CBD biosynthesizes into cannabinol (CBN) & tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

CBN: Cannabinol - a degradation product of THC, produces a depressant effect, 'fuzzy' forehead.

CBC: Cannabichromene - non-psychoactive , a precursor to THC.

CBG: Cannabigerol - non-psychoactive, hemp strains often posses elevated levels of CBG while possessing only trace amounts of THC.
A cannabis flower
It's a plant

Some users feel paranoid and uncomfortable when stoned - and for a few people this can be a very unsettling experience.

Feelings of paranoia can happen from time to time to anyone and is usually linked to using cannabis in the wrong sort of place, but a few people find it dominates their feelings and if this happens, treat it as a warning - cannabis isn't for you.

If you do get a bad reaction from cannabis, don't keep using it in the hope these bad feelings will pass.
Where and when to use cannabis

Getting stoned before you go to work or college isn't a good idea. Although there are people who use cannabis to aid their concentration, being stoned will not in itself make you good at doing something, indeed, it'll do quite the opposite.

Cannabis isn't like alcohol and doesn't give you a false confidence, it can affect your short term memory whilst stoned though and your reaction times are lengthened, so using machinery or driving whilst stoned is not a good idea and may be dangerous. Dealing with work colleagues can be difficult and intimidating if you're stoned.

Make sure the location is good - getting stoned in a threatening place can also lead to the feelings of paranoia.

If you want to get stoned, do it after work, in a place you feel safe in with people you feel safe with.


"Hashish absorbed in large quantities produces a furious delirium and...predisposes to acts of violence and produces a characteristic strident laugh...[with habitual use] the countenance of the addict becomes gloomy, his eye is wild,and the expression of his face is stupid...his intellectual faculties gradually weaken and the whole organism decays. The addict very frequently becomes neurasthenic and eventually insane."
"Hashish absorbed in large quantities produces a furious delirium and...predisposes to acts of violence and produces a characteristic strident laugh...[with habitual use] the countenance of the addict becomes gloomy, his eye is wild,and the expression of his face is stupid...his intellectual faculties gradually weaken and the whole organism decays. The addict very frequently becomes neurasthenic and eventually insane."
Dr El Guindy, Egyptian delegate, second International Opium Conference, 1924 (it's not true, don't worry).

So there you have it, sort of.. Getting stoned is a personal thing though. The feelings you experience are also influenced by the amount of cannabis you take and its strength, the environment you are in and maybe the people you're with (site and setting), also your emotional state before getting stoned is important.

Nothing on earth is completely without risk and cannabis is no exception. The risks of using cannabis are outlined in our risks section.
 

Herb Fellow

New Member
Excellent article. I bet you have that strident laugh and the wild eye!
 
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