Why does grass make some people happy and others paranoid?

New study suggests individual brain sensitivity to THC determines high level of happy or paranoid

It may not be more obvious, at least in the field of recreation, than a persistent and unanswered question: why does cannabis make one person feel pleasant and the other a paralyzing paranoia?

Thanks to a study carried out on July 5 by the University of Western in Ontario, Canada, we can get closer to the solution. Posted in Scientific Reports, this study is one of the few to explore the "divergent psychological effects" produced by the THC psychoactive ingredient and to explain why this occurs.

Using rats, the study showed that psychological reactions to the herb depend on which part of an individual's brain is most sensitive to THC. If it is the anterior part of the brain, the use of cannabis will produce rewarding effects (eg, feeling of ease, reduced anxiety and joy). If the posterior (rear) region is found to be most sensitive to THC, this will produce negative reactions (Paranoia and fear).

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Steven R. Laviolette, one of the study researchers, told Yahoo Lifestyle that the study had started on new territory.

 It's not clear why there are such differences in response to THC, ”says Laviolette. “We know a lot about the short and long term effects. But we know very little about the specific areas of the brain responsible for independently controlling these effects.

This study therefore constitutes a decisive step forward. “This is a whole new discovery,” Laviolette said. The multi-year project, led by Christopher Norris, validates many people who have reported experiencing very negative effects from marijuana. Beyond just negative feelings, the authors found that, in severe cases, individuals could exhibit symptoms such as "schizophrenia».

This work differs from previous attempts to explain different psychological reactions, including a study carried out in 2014 by Oxford , which suggests that traits such as low self-esteem play a role. 

Rather, the study by Norris and Laviolette suggests that the reaction is beyond the control of the individual and could be based more on genetics. For those who have a bad reaction, this can be good news.

"Once we determine which molecular pathways are causing these effects in different areas, we can work long term on modulating THC formulations so that they do not trigger these specific pathways," Laviolette explains “That's the long term goal of what we're trying to do here. "

The next step for Laviolette and his colleagues is to try and replicate the results on the human brain, which will not be an easy task. But for now, he's hoping the new research will educate users and help them make informed decisions. “Please know that we are starting to solve some of the more complex details of how cannabis affects the brain,” he said. Monitor your use and if you experience any negative side effects, talk to your doctor. "

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Follow the study in detail here

Tags : ConsumptionEtudepsychiatrypsychoactive

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