How Does THC Work?

psychological effects of THC –

Marijuana is one of the most common recreational drugs used to alter a person’s state of mind. It is often used to achieve immediate feelings of euphoria, also known as the “high.”

Besides the high, there are other psychological effects of THC. These effects vary from person to person, depending on the strength and amount of marijuana used and how it is taken.

The effects of THC include an initial relaxed and mellow feeling, eyes may dilate and other senses may be enhanced.

THC can also change thinking, memory, perception of time, and cause hallucinations or delusions. The more immediate effects of THC are typically felt 10 to 30 minutes after consumption.

Psychological effects of THC include:

  • Feelings of euphoria and relaxation
  • Time distortion
  • Intensification of sensory experiences
  • Increased socialization (laughter and being talkative)
  • Increased appetite (the “munchies”)

Side Effects of THC

long with the positive feelings that marijuana creates, there are negative side effects that can occur. The immediate effects of THC include changes in behavior and mood as well as physical effects.

The most unpleasant and common side effect associated with occasional marijuana use is anxiety or panic reactions.

Marijuana use can also have a negative impact on short-term memory, attention span, motor skills, reaction time and skilled activities like driving.

Certain side effects of marijuana are more common than others. Frequent users can also develop a tolerance and may experience less side effects as a result.

Common side effects of THC:

  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Increased heart rate
  • Red/bloodshot eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Cognitive impairment (memory and attention)
  • Motor impairment (coordination, reaction time, driving)

In severe cases:

  • Agitation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Psychosis (paranoia, delusions or hallucinations)

Long Term Effects of THC

THC can have possible long-term effects for those who are chronic or regular cannabis users. These include lung problems (such as bronchitis), heart risks, cognitive impairments, addiction, and withdrawal.

Lung Problems
Marijuana smokers may suffer from daily cough, phlegm, more constant cold and/or bronchitis. Smoking marijuana can also compromise the lung’s immune defenses and increase the risk of infection.

Smoking marijuana relaxes and enlarges the bronchial passageways in the lungs. While not all cannabis users experience serious lung conditions, some of the more common respiratory ailments may result from irritation of the airways and chronic use.

The smoke from marijuana itself contains 50 to 70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. So far, however, no definitive links have been made between marijuana use and lung cancer.

Using a vaporizer can decrease the amount of toxins delivered into the lungs and may limit some of the common respiratory symptoms experienced by cannabis smokers.

Heart Risks
After ingesting marijuana, the heart rate can increase dramatically and remain elevated for up to 3 hours.

Cannabis smoking can increase heart rate by 20 to 100%, increase blood pressure while sitting and decrease blood pressure when standing.

For anyone with high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia or other cardiac disease, the risk of altered heart rhythms or heart attack may be increased.

Cognitive Impairments
Chronic marijuana use has been associated with ongoing impairments of attention, memory, decision making, and social behavior.

There is evidence that these effects are also dose-dependent. In other words, longer and earlier exposure to THC may lead to greater deficits.

Heavy marijuana use may also contribute to lower expectations and poor relationship choices.

Addiction and Withdrawal
THC is also potentially addictive, based on feelings of craving or seeking out marijuana even when there may be negative social consequences.

Repeated doses or intake of marijuana can lead to tolerance, which means less of the effects are felt and it takes a heavier or stronger dose to get the same euphoric feelings.

Long-term marijuana users may experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using it. These include irritability, decreased appetite, sleeplessness, drug craving and anxiety.