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5 Ways Cannabis Edibles Can Affect Your Brain

Have you ever been offered a space cake or a hash brownie? Though they may initially appear to be no different from the typical cake or brownie varieties you’ve had before, such baked goods — known as cannabis edibles — pack quite a punch, and with good reason.

As an ingredient in various recipes, cannabis is as versatile as it is potent. The list of possible cannabis-infused dishes is impressive: Candies, cookies, bread, brownies, granola bars, quinoa salads, jerky, kale chips, and even full recipes. You can also consume a drink mixed with cannabis, even though it ends up diluting the cannabis and ultimately making it less potent. Some examples of this are tea and coffee.

Thanks to the added cannabis, these foods have psychoactive and calming effects on the person consuming them, delivered via the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Upon entering the body, these substances get processed, eventually activating the brain’s cannabinoid receptors and subsequently creating that feeling of getting high.

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Why do cannabis edibles affect the human mind?

Interestingly, when ingested as an edible, cannabis has a profound effect on the user, especially when compared to smoking it. During the process of digestion, the cannabinoids go through a longer, slower process — first via the bloodstream, then carried through the stomach, and then finding their way to the liver.

This multi-step process means that it would take from half an hour to 90 minutes before THC and CBD eventually reach the brain. The resulting high, however, lasts for a considerably longer time — anywhere between 4 and 6 hours — and leads to a more potent sedative effect.

How cannabis edibles positively affect the brain

An extensive study on cannabis consumption conducted in 2017, which detailed the benefits and disadvantages of cannabis use, joined the ever-growing body of research on the impact and effects of the substance on human health.

While the use of cannabis oil in cooking is almost certain to become more widespread once more and more researchers are able to attest to its benefits, existing studies have already shown that edibles can and do positively affect the user’s brain.

Here are just 5 of the observable ways cannabis edibles can improve your brain’s condition, as well as your overall disposition.

1. Cannabis edibles can help relieve your physical pain.

Thanks to its calming, soothing effect on the brain, CBD can also help ease your physical pain. Cannabis oil high in this cannabinoid, in particular, is often recommended for patients suffering from chronic pain or inflammation, as well as cancer patients who wish to experience even just temporary relief from the pain that comes with either the cancer itself or the chemotherapy used to treat it. 

When cannabinoids enter the body, they attach to the nerve and muscle receptors, thereby relieving physical pain. Some research also suggests that these substances can help in controlling muscle spasms, as well as in improving motor skills. Among the diseases that cannabis oil can help in managing are multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease.

2. Cannabis can make you more creative.

Various research studies also show that cannabis may have a positive impact on your creativity. In the study, participants had to run through a series of tests revolving around word association. Researchers found that, compared to the subjects who did not consume cannabis, those who did were able to come up with more options, displaying a seemingly enhanced ability to detect remote associations between objects. Verbal fluency, or the capacity to think of different words at a given time, has also been shown to improve with cannabis use.

3. Consuming cannabis can help you sleep longer and better.

If you’re having difficulty getting enough sleep at night, a slice of space cake just might be the answer. As stated previously, cannabis oil with the right THC to CBD ratio can relax your mind and body and may calm you down during stressful times. Fortunately, this also means that cannabis oil generates a lower energy level and leads to a lower heart rate, allowing your body to calm down and rest.

4. The calming effect of cannabis can help you get rid of your stress and anxiety.

To find a good example of how cannabis is used to manage stress and anxiety, it would be best to look at the case of a war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In cases like this, it is recommended for the patient to use cannabis oil mainly for anxiety and stress relief.

The reason behind the impact of cannabis on both creativity and stress relief revolves around a single chemical. Cannabis consumption opens the floodgates for dopamine, a neurotransmitter that affects your brain’s pleasure and reward centers. This makes people feel more relaxed and less inhibited, which in turn empowers them to present new ideas and approach situations and objects with more bravado than usual.

5. Cannabis can protect your brain after a stroke or similarly traumatic experiences.

Lastly, for patients who have suffered from a stroke or other accidents or instances that may cause trauma, cannabis consumption can be a tremendous help. Research shows that cannabis reduced the size of the area affected by the stroke in animal test subjects, bringing the herb’s neuroprotective effects to light. Meanwhile, another study showed that cannabis actually reduced the bruising in the brain after a traumatic injury, and even assisted the body’s natural healing mechanisms afterwards.

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Cannabis Edibles versus Smoking

Experts have also found that edibles are a significantly healthier option for consuming cannabis compared to smoking. This is due to the fact that the process of smoking cannabis generates harmful byproducts such as carbon monoxide, lung irritants, and other cancer-causing agents — the types of toxic components that are nowhere to be found in edibles.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can just blindly and recklessly consume copious amounts of cannabis edibles. Moderation is key, especially when you consider that because of the delayed high, there is a very high chance that you would eat more servings of those brownies or cookies than you had initially planned. Mind your edible consumption and be patient to get a great experience from using cannabis.