Here at Black Rabbit, we’re more than just an online dispensary and THE destination to get same day weed delivery in Toronto (plus 15 other areas in the GTA) and weed delivery Canada-wide – we also aim to be the destination for higher education on cannabis and cannabis culture.
Like we’ve said before, the canon surrounding cannabis is complex and the science surrounding the plant itself, even more so. In the past we’ve covered things like “How to Make Cannabutter” and “What Are Trichomes” and even “What Are Cannabinoids.” Today, we’re breaking down the science behind a happy high. Think of it as a guide of sorts, an explanation behind why marijuana incites feelings of euphoria and bliss.
A Cannabinoid Refresher
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in and secreted by cannabis flowers that have psychoactive effects and provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea and anxiety.
Research shows that cannabis plants can produce between 80 to 100 varying cannabinoids and about 300 non-cannabinoid chemicals – the two most commonly known and most abundant in the cannabis plant are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
The Endocannabinoid System
As another refresher, according to A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System on healthline.com, “the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex, cell-signaling system identified in the early 1990s by researchers exploring THC.” The ECS is a complex communications system found in the brain and body that is capable of interacting with the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
We know that the ECS is comprised of three main components: endocannabinoids – small molecules that activate cannabinoid receptors, receptors – found throughout the body and functionally bind to endocannabinoids signalling to the ECS that an action needs to take place i.e. relieve pain and enzymes – responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoids once they’ve carried out their function. When interacting with cannabinoids, all three components of the ECS work together, ultimately helping to regulate and bring balance to human functions such as sleep, appetite and pain sensation.
So Why Does Weed Make You Happy?
When it comes to de-coding what it is exactly that contributes to those feelings of happiness, we know that it has a lot to do with the endocannabinoid neurotransmitter, anandamide. Also known as the “bliss” molecule, anandamide (“ananda” is the Sanskrit word for “bliss”), was discovered by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam in the early 90’s while studying the very question of why weed makes us happy . Anandamide is naturally occurring in the body, while THC is found in cannabis – both cannabinoids bind to the ECS receptors CB1 and CB2 and it’s this binding process to CB1 that produces a heightened sense of joy happiness and euphoria. Anandamide also plays a role in pain, memory, sex drive and emotion – it’s also an anti-anxiety and antidepressant agent. Anandamide also impacts our sense of time and is a main contributor to the warm fuzzies you sometimes get when lighting up.
Anandamide and Dopamine – What’s the Difference?
People often associate feelings of happiness with the other, maybe more famous ECS molecule – dopamine. Dopamine is often referred to as the “reward molecule” and while there’s often the misconception that dopamine is the one to thank for those feelings of euphoria, in reality, the amounts of extra dopamine produced when cannabis is consumed is quite minimal. Why you ask? Turns out anandamide can limit the production of dopamine. Compared to stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines, which actually do trigger a flood of dopamine, such isn’t the case with cannabis. A 2015 review of 25 studies, conducted at King’s College London, concluded there is “little direct evidence to suggest that cannabis use affects acute striatal dopamine release or affects chronic dopamine receptor status in healthy human volunteers.”
A Guide to a Happy High
Now that you’re more familiar with what exactly contributes to a happy high, we invite you to chase that bliss. To achieve a happy high, we recommend Black Rabbit’s Craft strains Layer Cake and Thin Mint Cookies and from our Premium strains check out Gelato Cake and Miracle Alien Cookies.