New research shows why THC affects different minds differently

New research shows why THC affects different minds differently

A new study from researchers at Western University in Ontario, Canada says it has more context for why THC has different effects on different people. Some people who smoke cannabis (and bring the THC from it into their bodies) can feel relaxed or happy, while others can become anxious or paranoid. Certain strains can also make a difference too — indica and sativa strains of cannabis, though they come from exactly the same plant, can have very different effects on people.

This study, published in Scientific Reports, claims to know more about why this happens. According to the researchers, who experimented with THC in rats, someone’s reaction to the drug depends on where their brain is most sensitive to THC. If the THC reacts with the front part of the brain, they’re more likely to experience relaxation and joy. If the THC reacts with the back part of the brain, it will most likely produce negative reactions. That may sound obvious (and inconclusive — the study doesn’t explain exactly why certain brains are more sensitive in certain places), but given that previous research suggested the reaction might have to do with mental health or self-esteem level, this study suggests the function is more biological, and could even be genetically related.

As the researchers say, if we can identify what pathways cause specific reactions and why THC goes to those pathways, we can possibly adjust the THC so it doesn’t go down undesirable pathways, and prevent unwanted reactions. So there’s a lot more research to do here — if you have a paranoid or anxious reaction to THC, then there isn’t a clear fix for that just yet. With the drug becoming legal in more places, however, more research is being done on the drug and its effects every day. The researchers say their next step is to replicate their findings from rat brains in human brains, and from there they’ll have more information about how the reaction works. Hopefully they and all of the other researchers working on the drug will be able to break that code, and allow us to make use of THC’s many benefits, while understanding and avoiding its negatives.

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