Cannabis has been a contentious topic in recent years. It has become a point of contention among various medicinal societies and communities as to whether or not it should be legalized. Nonetheless, a few countries have taken steps to authorize the recreational and therapeutic use of cannabis. In reality, a slew of dispensaries and cannabis stores have opened to cater to the public’s needs.
Cannabis was previously lawful, according to history. It has even been grown on several acres for use in the textile industry as a source of fabric, a smoking medium, and a nutritional supplement. It has been served at high-end parties and is available for purchase at pharmacies.
However, since its discovery, the plant has been prohibited in several nations because of its psychotropic properties. It was classified as a narcotic, similar to opium, heroin, and ecstasy. Furthermore, the plant was prohibited from being grown, marketed, or even studied for study. Fear was frequently encoded in the minds of folks who heard this plant. It was shunned and viewed as evil or negative.
There is just one reason for its illegalization. It is first thought to cause psychosis and paranoia. Then, as a result of your addiction, it will kill and destroy your life. Is it true, however, that all of these “assumed facts” are correct? In this post, we’ll look into the psychotic effects of cannabis plants in further depth. Furthermore, we will attempt to comprehend its foundation by offering solid and verifiable facts to back it up.
Cannabis and its Genetics
Any flowering plant in the genus Cannabaceae is commonly referred to as a cannabis plant. It’s crucial to understand that cannabis has three genetic types: (1) cannabis sativa, (2) cannabis indica, and (3) cannabis ruderalis.
Despite this, each of its species has unique physical and chemical properties. As a result, when you think of cannabis, you’re not thinking about a single species. However, you’ll discuss three species with a diverse range of strains.
Cannabis sativa, also known as marijuana, pot, or weed, refers to cannabis species that originated in tropical and subtropical rainforests worldwide. There are two subspecies of it. Only the cannabis sativa and cannabis sativa L. are used.
The cannabis sativa subspecies is what most people think of when they think of marijuana or pot. It has psychotropic properties and is frequently used as a recreational drug. It is this cannabis strain that has led to the prohibition of cannabis plants in other countries.
The other cannabis sativa L. subspecies is called ‘hemp.’ These types have high fiber content, making them ideal for use in the textile industry. Hemp manufacturing is rarely used in many businesses nowadays because of its close ties to cannabis plants.
Another species is known as ‘cannabis indica,’ which refers to cannabis cultivars traditionally grown in the Middle East. Cannabis indica, unlike cannabis sativa, does not have any psychotropic properties. Rather, when these species are used, they have soothing and sedative effects. Similarly, hemp and indica strains are frequently prohibited, even though their use is widespread and few medical medications and goods are available on the market.
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Cannabis ruderalis, also known as “the autos,” is a photoperiod blooming cannabis variety. These species have a short vegetative phase and a modest size. This species takes at least one to three months to harvest. This is why the majority of indoor growers opt to grow this sort of plant.
The ruderalis strains are usually either psychoactive or sedative. Because it’s been exemplarily bred with numerous cannabis strains, this genotype has a wide chemical content.
Chemical Composition of Cannabis
Cannabis is a difficult plant to understand. With so many strains and kinds to choose from, there’s still a lot to discover. Nonetheless, its diversity distinguishes it from other plant species. Diverse cannabis breeders have created a plethora of strains.
However, for basics, we’ll just discuss the most important chemicals present in a typical cannabis plant. This includes the following;
Terpenes are a group of chemical molecules that give cannabis plants their flavor or scent. It frequently collects in the buds or on the leaves of plants. Nonetheless, terpenes come in at least 20,000 distinct varieties.
In addition to producing a distinct scent, Terpenes combine well with cannabinoids to enhance the medicinal advantages of cannabis. Furthermore, terpenes can repel pests and attract pollinators.
Myrcene, limonene, pinene, and linalool are some of the most significant terpenes found in cannabis plants. A single cannabis strain does not usually have the same amount of terpenes; therefore, it differs from one to the other.
Phytocannabinoids are another vital component of a cannabis plant. Cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids, are a group of chemicals found only in cannabis plants. These cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system of mammals uniquely, impacting our physical and metabolic activities.
Two prominent cannabinoids have a significant impact on the characteristics of cannabis. Only cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are used (THC).
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
One of the most important cannabinoids found in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This component has psychedelic action, which is common in sativa strains. As a result, it produces paranoia and possibly psychosis, according to a variety of studies.
Despite its bad connotation, THC has the potential to be helpful for a variety of ailments and conditions, including pain relief, anxiety, increased appetite, glaucoma, epilepsy, and fibromyalgia.
This potentially harmful cannabinoid was available as a prescription medicine under the brand name ‘Marinol.’ This medication is used to treat seizures caused by various epileptic diseases.
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
THC has a counteracting action called cannabidiol (CBD). Instead of producing euphoric effects, CBD promotes calm when used. It has sedative effects in the body that have therapeutic benefits. It’s commonly used to treat sleeplessness, diarrhea, exhaustion, and weakness, among other ailments. Multiple research is being conducted on this cannabinoid, as it can cure chronic diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and diabetes.
CBD is unnoticed to be sold in many marketplaces as an ingredient to drinks, food, lotions, chocolates, and shampoos, even though it is still forbidden. It’s sold under the brand name Epidiolex (FDA-approved), and it’s used to treat epilepsy.
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The Endocannabinoid System
To comprehend the science of psychosis in relation to cannabis, one must first understand the endocannabinoid system.
Endocannabinoids, neurotransmitters, and cannabinoid receptors make up the endocannabinoid system, which is a biological system. Furthermore, the endocannabinoid system is involved in hormone control. It’s also crucial for maintaining the body’s equilibrium.
In comparison to other neuro-related systems, the endocannabinoid system acts uniquely. Information moves from post to presynaptic neurons by retrograde transmission.
Because of the strong neuronal activity that occurs when neurons depolarize, the nutrient buildup may occur. This buildup will create an imbalance, causing endocannabinoids to be released from membrane lipids.
Endocannabinoid receptors can be found in several regions of the body. When endocannabinoids are released, they bind to receptors (like CB1 and CB2) that activate neurotransmitters (like g protein) that send signals to specific sections of the brain. Furthermore, it inhibits or exhibits biological activities that impact digestion, mood, and hormonal balance by suppressing pre-synaptic impulses.
Endocannabinoids are then carried into cells and destroyed by hormones that are directly assigned to them.
Why Cannabis is ‘Psychotic’
Psychosis is a symptom that many persons with mental illnesses encounter. Delusions and hallucinations frequently characterize it, and it’s a state of mind that exists outside of reality. It refers to any unreal sensory experiences that significantly impact a person’s behavior or mood. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and often severe depression are among the mental diseases with psychosis as a symptom.
Returning to the topic at hand, the grounds for cannabis causing psychosis are convincing. However, it appears to be a little difficult as is. Not all cannabis strains can cause psychosis. Only cannabis sativa (marijuana) is susceptible to severe psychosis.
According to a study conducted by King’s College London, someone who smokes marijuana three times per day is more prone to acquire psychotic illnesses. Nonetheless, marijuana with a high THC content (greater than 10%) raises the risk of psychosis.
A separate study was conducted in Brazil to determine the link between psychosis and marijuana use. The researchers compared almost 1200 people from Europe and South America to 900 psychotic patients.
According to the findings, 30% of psychotic patients had smoked marijuana at least once in their lives, while just 7% of ordinarily conditioned persons had done so. Furthermore, according to the study, one out of every five mentally ill people has smoked or used marijuana numerous times in their lives.
The Link between THC and Psychosis
Normally, the endocannabinoid system maintains homeostasis in our body. However, upon the interaction of seemingly ‘endocannabinoid’ aka THC, it binds EXACTLY to the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Neurotransmitters in the brain will convey signals to block or allow specific functions when they bind. As a result, one of its inhibitors is a reduction in dopamine levels in the brain.
Dopamine regulates motivation, mood, and emotional reactions as a neurotransmitter and a hormone. GABA neurons, which are found in a specific neurological route in the brain, are usually responsible for limiting it.
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The fact that dopamine does not contain any of these CB1 or CB2 receptors is intriguing. Nonetheless, GABA neurons have these receptors, limiting dopamine’s action when a THC-rich substance is consumed. Dopamine levels illogically elate and grow in levels, leading to hallucinations and delusions in the user. As a result, a rise in THC content and regular marijuana usage could lead to psychosis, a mental disease that should be avoided.
Why Cannabis is ‘Anti-Psychotic’
Surprisingly, this is correct as well. CBD-rich indica strains, in particular, are extremely beneficial to psychotic patients and even antipsychotic. It helps individuals with psychosis by lowering the number of bouts of hallucinations or delusions.
The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience conducted studies to show that CBD has antipsychotic properties.
The research focuses on 33 young people who are suffering from psychotic symptoms. 16 of the controls are given single doses of cannabidiol, while the other 17 are given a placebo. Along the way, an MRI scanner was used to monitor all of its brain activity to gain a better understanding.
The study’s findings demonstrate that cannabidiol dosages increase the brain activity of people experiencing early indications of psychosis. The usage of CBD therapy is thought to be the cause of this effect.
However, there are still some unanswered questions about CBD as a therapy for psychosis. The treatment’s required dosage and the permanence of its effects after long-term use are also being questioned.
Furthermore, ongoing research is being conducted to answer these questions. A large-scale human experiment for psychosis is underway.
How CBD reacts in the brain
There’s currently no clear explanation for how CBD improves brain function. According to scientific studies, CBD was formerly assumed to interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, or either of them. However, it was found to be false in a subsequent investigation.
CBD interacts with unknown neurotransmitters that are also part of the endocannabinoid system, which is all that is known. CBD can also impact the endocannabinoid system by slowing the degradation of anandamide, a lipid in the brain that binds to THC.
Aside from that, research has indicated that CBD affects the serotonin receptor. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects mood, anxiety, and cognitive functions. It has also been shown to affect the opioid receptors that control pain.
The Final Word
In conclusion, cannabis is a psychotic as well as an antipsychotic herb. THC, which is abundant in cannabis sativa or marijuana plants, increases psychosis. On the contrary, CBD, a high concentration in cannabis indica strains, acts as an antipsychotic.
Cannabis is a difficult plant in general. It, like everything else in the world, has both positive and negative aspects. It would show paranoia and possibly madness if it consumed too much THC. Marijuana, on the other hand, is completely safe and feasible when consumed in moderation and small doses.