Marijuana, used since ancient times for both its medicinal and spiritual properties, contains several substances called cannabinoids.
The main responsible of the psychoactive effects of cannabis is the cannabinoid called Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC.
However, we must not think that all the effects of cannabis are produced by THC, nor that this is the only substance that produces them. On the contrary, THC acts in sinergy with tens of terpenes and cannabinoids, which are combined modulating the effects of marijuana.
One of these substances is Cannabidiol or CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with many therapeutical properties suitable to treat several diseases and medical conditions. Once again, the effect of the plant is determined by the cannabinoid and terpene content, as well as their mutual interaction.
One of the main advantages of CBD is, precisely, its condition of non-psychoactive cannabinoid. This has allowed the development of cannabis strains rich in CBD but with a THC content low enough to not be considered a drug. Thus, many CBD varieties have entered the market lately (caution, many of them DO have enough THC to be considered as drug) as well as diverse CBD-based cosmetics and pharmaceutical products , the latter being completely legal.
Terpenes, aromatic molecules found in plants, also act in sinergy with the rest of cannabinoids, altering the final effect produced by the plant. You can know more on them by reading our post on cannabis terpenes and how they modify the effect of cannabinoids.
Forms of administration of marijuana
If we speak about the effects of marijuana we have to consider different forms of administration:
- Inhalation: Immediate effect. By smoking, we absorb the active substances of cannabis. The best way to avoid the harmful effects of smoking is using a vaporizer .
- Oral (food): The bio-availability of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol is about 25-30%, therefore the effect begins 30-120 minutes aftes ingestion.
- Oral (infusion): Remember that cannabinoids are not water-soluble. The effect of infused marijuana is similar to strong lime infusions. We can find CBD capsules on the market ready to make infusions.
- Sublingual: Sativex® is a spray that modulates the endocannabinoid system, administered by mouth. It is used to lessen the effects of multiple sclerosi and is currently prescribed in Canada. Each dose contains 2.7mg of tetrahydrocannabinol and 2.5mg of cannabidiol, the main active exogenous cannabinoids. Sativex® is manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals, plc.
- Transdermal: Eyesalve, patches and aintments. We can find from shampoos to facial creams rich in CBD .
- Anal: Enemas and suppositories.
Normally, the effects of smoked cannabis last from 1 to 4 hours, while they can last from 3 to 12 when ingested. In our Blog you can find different cannabis-based recipes that you can easily prepare to use cannabis without the need to smoke or vaporize it.
Types of effects of marijuana
Medicinal effects: The effects of medicinal cannabis are benefitial for the antiemetic treatment of chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, depression, chronic pains, fibromyalgia, cachexia, AIDS, premenstrual syndrome, migraines, glaucoma, epilepsy, arthritis and rheumatic conditions, etc.
Psychotropic effects: The spiritual effects of marijuana cause wellness feeling, happyness and euphoria, which can cause the feeling that time slows down. The senses of sight, hearing and touch increase. Short-term memory decreases. Once again, remember that these effects are produced by the interaction of both terpenes and cannabinoids.
Quoting José María Mendiluce (*), cannabis may also be used: “For example, to overcome shyness, enhance sensuality, relax tensions, stimulate creative and artistic activities, share intimacy, calm agressivity, as friendship promoter, trip companion, activator of forgotten memories, amnesic…and, of course, it can be used as antidote to intolerance, this diversity plant (…) is an element of harmony and peace…”
Physiological effects: Regarding physical effects, cannabis causes a slight increase of the heart rate, as well as redness of the eyes. Both symptoms are not harmful. Using marijuana also causes a remarkable increase of appetite, dry mouth and moderate analgesia.
Adverse effects of marijuana
The psychoactivity of marijuana may bother some users. This is why, during the last years, many CBD strains – usually less psychoactive – have become very popular, since they allow patients to benefit from their therapeutical properties without having their counciousness state altered.
The more frequent adverse effects are anxiety, panic crysis, lack of concentration, tachycardia, and decrease of memory, attention, coordination and orientation. Precaution should be taken in cases of pregnancy, anxiety disorders and heart diseases. It is not recommended mixing it with alcohol, the legal drug par excellence along with tobacco, which have both killed thousands of people. At this moment, no one has ever died from smoking marijuana.
(*) Marihuana. The forbidden Medicine, Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar