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Frequently Asked Cannabis Questions: Answered

faqs about marijuana
Cannabis use is becoming increasingly common and accepted in the United States. As legalization spreads, more people are looking to understand how cannabis works and its effects on the body and mind.  Here we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about cannabis.

Why Does Cannabis Make You Hungry?

One of the most well-known effects of cannabis is the “munchies” – feeling hungry or getting snack cravings after using cannabis. This is caused by THC interacting with the endocannabinoid system in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus helps regulate appetite and food intake. THC mimics the endocannabinoid anandamide, which can increase appetite by activating CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus. This makes you feel hungry even if you just ate.

How Does Cannabis Affect Dopamine?

THC causes dopamine levels in the brain’s reward system to rise. This is similar to other pleasurable activities like eating or laughing. The elevated dopamine levels induce euphoria and relaxation. It also reinforces the pleasurable feelings associated with cannabis use. Chronic, heavy cannabis use may blunt dopamine signaling over time and potentially lead to a lack of motivation or enjoyment in activities that previously brought joy.

How Does Cannabis Affect Serotonin?

Research shows that THC also activates serotonin receptors. Serotonin is known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter that regulates mood and happiness. Increased serotonin activity from cannabis likely contributes to relaxation and anti-anxiety effects. It may also play a role in the introspective or creative thoughts some users experience while high. However, frequent cannabis use can potentially disrupt normal serotonin signaling and function over time. This may exacerbate underlying mood disorders in susceptible individuals.

What’s the Difference Between Indica and Sativa Strains?

Cannabis strains are often categorized into indica, sativa, and hybrid types. But what do these labels mean? Indica strains are known for providing a “body high” – deep relaxation, pain relief, and sleepiness. They grow short and bushy. Sativa strains tend to provide more uplifting, energetic cerebral effects. They grow tall and thin with narrow leaves. However, most strains today are hybrids with complex cannabinoid and terpene profiles that don’t always fit neatly into indica or sativa categories. A strain’s unique chemical composition and an individual’s body chemistry ultimately determine the effects experienced.

Which States Have Legal Adult-Use Cannabis?

As of January 2024, 24 states plus Washington D.C. have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use:
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
Several other states have cannabis decriminalization policies or allow medical cannabis programs. The landscape is changing rapidly, so check your state’s latest cannabis laws.

Does Cannabis Kill Brain Cells?

This is a common myth – there is no evidence that cannabis kills brain cells or causes decreases in brain volume. In fact, some studies show cannabis may stimulate the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a region involved in memory and emotions. Heavy, chronic use starting at a young age may impair cognitive function over time. But it does not kill off brain cells.

Is Secondhand Cannabis Smoke Harmful?

There is limited research on the risks of secondhand cannabis smoke. But it likely contains similar irritants and carcinogens to tobacco smoke, so prolonged exposure in unventilated spaces may cause health issues. There are no documented risks from briefly walking past secondhand cannabis smoke outdoors. Still, it’s courteous to avoid smoking cannabis around others, especially children.

Does Cannabis Use Cause Psychosis?

Cannabis alone does not seem to cause psychotic disorders like schizophrenia in people with no family history or risk factors. However, cannabis may trigger psychotic symptoms like paranoia in those already predisposed to psychosis due to genetics or environmental factors. Frequent use at a young age also appears to modestly increase general psychosis risk. However, the vast majority of cannabis users never experience psychosis. Those with a family history should use caution.

Is Cannabis Addictive?

Cannabis use can become compulsive over time, but it is moderately psychologically addictive – not physically. Withdrawal symptoms like irritability and sleep problems may occur when stopping heavy use. About 1 in 10 regular users will develop a marijuana use disorder. Those who start young, use high-THC potent products daily, struggle with mental health, or use cannabis to cope are most at risk.

Does Cannabis Help with Anxiety?

It depends – cannabis can either relieve or worsen anxious feelings. High-THC strains may provoke anxiety, while balanced THC:CBD strains and CBD-dominant products can reduce it. Start with low doses of balanced cannabis products and avoid large amounts of THC if you are prone to anxiety. A relaxed setting also helps prevent anxious side effects.

Cannabis FAQs – Qredible has the Answer

Understanding how cannabis works allows you to use it safely and effectively. Speak to your doctor, especially if on other medications or have mental health conditions, and always start with low doses if new to cannabis. As the plant becomes more legal, we’ll continue learning more about its intriguing effects on humans.
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