Marijuana 101: How it Works, Its Effects, & More

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Marijuana 101: How it Works, Its Effects, & More

Marijuana has brought relief to a variety of people and ailments. Nausea, anxiety, insomnia, and even PTSD can be relieved with the right dosage and strain of cannabis. However, for true beginners, entering this world of solace can bring its own stress.

We’re here to help.

At Herbal Relief, we will help you sort out the best treatment for your affliction. Let’s start right now, with a quick Marijuana 101. We will run down the basics of how marijuana works, how it affects your system and senses, and any long-term consequences of cannabis.

How Marijuana Works

Cannabis contains a number of cannabinoids – by some estimates, the plant can have over 60 types. The cannabinoids in marijuana resemble the endocannabinoids created naturally in your brain. To understand why cannabis works, we need to first understand the endocannabinoid system.

The Endocannabinoid System

Endocannabinoids are chemical compounds that activate receptors in your brain. They are formed on-demand, never stored, in your system. They are important for metabolic processes, combating inflammation, and have a large effect on your memory, mood, and brain reward system. Furthermore, your endocannabinoid system (ECS) has a huge impact on your nervous system, pain receptors, stress responses, and blood vessels. It even has a positive role in your reproductive, skeletal, and gastrointestinal systems. In short, endocannabinoids regulate your entire body.

For an extremely in-depth and technical look at your endocannabinoid system, read more here.

Cannabinoids & Your System

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana that makes you feel high, activates the same receptors as your natural endocannabinoids. THC is especially like the endocannabinoid anandamide, which is in charge of regulating your mood, sleep, memory, and appetite. This similarity allows THC to bind directly to cannabinoid receptors, creating the psychoactive effects you feel.  

Marijuana cannabinoids cause your neurons to fire constantly, instead of taking cooldown breaks after each firing like your natural ECS. This rapid fire causes your thoughts and imagination to intensify and enhances your experiences such as art, movement, and conversations.

The Effects of Cannabis

Marijuana makes you feel and think differently. This is because the drug affects both your brain and your body. Some of the effects and pleasant, while others can be detrimental.

Your Brain

Cannabis also induces a wave of dopamine and norepinephrine, creating euphoria, relaxation, alleviation of pain, and experience enhancement. Regardless of consumption method, use of cannabinoids make you feel happy, tranquil, and comfortable.

It’s not all good news, however. The same chemical release can cause anxiety and has a negative effect on your coordination, cognitive function, and memory. Trying to learn something new while high on marijuana is extremely difficult. The inability to change your train of thought can create anxiety or nervousness while high.

Your Body


Cannabis changes the body’s sensation of pain and can reduce inflammation. There are even studies showing its efficacy in preventing or treating cancer. It causes blood vessels to expand, which causes short-term relief of glaucoma and the telltale red eyes. The anti-inflammatory effect can ease pain, control muscle spasms, and reduce seizures.

Because of the way the cannabinoids affect your motor skills, coordination, and reaction time, sports and driving should definitely be avoided while under the influence. It can also have a debilitating effect, where you become so sedated that you feel couch-bound, or cause hallucinations or delusions. This can be avoided by taking in smaller amount of marijuana.

Long-Term Consequences of Cannabis Use

Marijuana is still being studied for its long-term effects. While physical addiction is not a consequence of consuming cannabis, psychological addiction is a real concern. Consuming cannabis also causes increased appetite, which can lead to obesity if one is not careful. Plus, It has been suggested that marijuana contributes to erectile dysfunction.

Unfortunately, since marijuana is an illegal drug, studies have been difficult to carry out. Since the legalization of medical marijuana, new discoveries are being made, but further testing is needed.

Legitimate Concerns About Using Marijuana

It is important to remember that marijuana is still a drug. All drugs, illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter, can have a negative impact on your life. For that reason, it is best to rely on a doctor to ensure your use is safe and effective.

Physical Effects

Extremely large doses can have a negative effect and chronic smoking creates the cough we associate with heavy smokers. Cannabis has shown to have a negative effect on schizophrenia, creating stronger symptoms for those with the disorder. Also, marijuana is detrimental to motor control, creating sedentary lifestyles in chronic users.

Lowered IQ

Twin studies show that marijuana intake does not cause a lower IQ, but there is a correlation between cannabis use and lower test scores. It has been suggested that the drug affects a person’s ability to concentrate and remember facts. Learning while under the influence is a futile endeavour.

Developing Brains

Pregnant women and underage individuals should steer clear of marijuana. The drug can have a negative effect on developing brains, and cause a lowered ability to concentrate, problem solve, or remember things.

We’re the Professionals & We’re Here to Help

If you are considering marijuana for relief from physical & mental pain, please talk to us at Herbal Relief. Our on-site doctor will take the time to explain everything you could want to know about marijuana from getting your medical card to making your own edibles. We invest in your education to empower you to make the right choice about cannabis. Stop in or call us today.