Does Cannabis Make You Happy? Cannabis and Mental Health

Does Cannabis Make You Happy? 

Many occasional cannabis consumers and people who want to use cannabis for the first time ask the same question: does cannabis make you happy? The short answer is yes, it can; various studies show that cannabis can reduce anxiety and produce euphoria in adults. So, by most standards, cannabis can make you feel happier in multiple ways.

Why does cannabis make you happy?

Research indicates that cannabis has the potential ability to lower anxiety, elevate mood, alleviate physical pain, reduce the risk of psychotic episodes, and even protect against neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, while happiness is a personal state of mind, cannabis contains several compounds that trigger happiness in most people.

But this still doesn’t answer a few important questions. Namely, how does cannabis work to make you happy?

How does cannabis make you feel good?

The two most active cannabinoids in cannabis are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) (see do CBD / THC ratios matter). While both compounds may affect mood, they interact with the brain and body in different ways. Consequently, they produce different results. THC is most often associated with euphoria, while CBD is most often linked to pain relief and anxiety reduction. So, why does cannabis make you feel good? Let’s look at the science to find out:

Dopamine Boost

Cannabis contains numerous natural compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes that may help elevate mood and produce happiness for the vast majority of consumers. However, THC is by far the most discussed component in creating a “happy” effect. The aforementioned euphoria occurs because THC binds to your cannabinoid receptors, producing a “flood of dopamine” in the brain that makes virtually any activity — including eating, exercising, or just relaxing — more enjoyable.

Serotonin Boost

While THC is activating your brain’s natural reward system, CBD creates various anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects. The jury is still out on exactly how CBD may reduce anxiety, but current research suggests that CBD works to increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects a wide range of processes in the mind and body. Generally, higher serotonin levels are associated with lower anxiety, reduced risk of depression, and improved sleep. Not only can CBD promote healthier sleep patterns, but it can also work as a wake-inducing compound, helping to increase energy levels.

Can THC Cause Depression? 

Just as stated when asked if cannabis can make you happy, the same applies to the question of cannabis causing depression: Possibly. With millions of adults experiencing symptoms related to depression or similar mental health problems, it is exceptionally difficult to pinpoint a single trigger or cause.

That said, a study published in the Journal of Biology and Medicine observed 1,819 cannabis users to determine the effectiveness of depression symptom relief from cannabis use. The researchers’ findings suggest that “at least in the short term, the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects” [1]. Additionally, the study went on to state, “the effect and extent of side effect experiences vary with chemotypic properties of the plant” [1].

So, Does That Mean The Effects of Weed on Mental Health Are Positive?

While cannabis certainly poses the potential for positive effects on mental health, it would be disingenuous to disregard the possible undesired effects that some users (medical and recreational) may experience. Instead, what this study above is pointing out is the fact that there’s more to the story than simply THC content. Other constituents of the plant like cannabinoids (CBD, CBG, etc.) as well as terpenes work together to define your experience.

That’s why it is so important for canna-consumers to discuss with their budtender the full-panel of ingredients in their cannabis. Equally important to dialing in your cannabis experience is ensuring your product is accurately, precisely, and consistently dosed —  a surprisingly rare find until recently.

You wouldn’t want to use an over-the-counter pain reliever if you weren’t confident that the active ingredients on the label matched the product, right? So, why should your cannabis consumption be treated any differently?

What Are The Mental Health Effects of Getting High

In an ideal world, this would be a simple question to answer. However, given the litany of various mental health topics, it would be impossible to apply a blanket statement. Based on what we do know, cannabinoids and terpenes appear to maintain the possibility of both amplifying or reducing mental health issues.

For instance, studies suggest that low doses of THC may reduce anxiety, while larger doses can actually increase it. Anecdotally, some users report cannabis aggravating certain mental health problems like paranoia or schizophrenia, while others swear that cannabis mitigates symptoms. This example applies to nearly all psychological events when considering cannabis. Ultimately, until more research is available and we have a better understanding of how cannabis can play a role in individual mental health problems, it is best to discuss your cannabis use with your mental health service provider and/or healthcare provider for guidance on using it as a tool to improve your quality of life and mental well-being.

How Can I Ensure My Cannabis Is Accurately Dosed?

When it comes to cannabis flower, this is all but an impossible task. Concentrates can be a little more reliable if the brand provides a batch specific COA and terpene analysis. If you’re looking for the easiest — and newest — approach to being able to repeat your cannabis experiences, brands like Koan Cordials have given users the control of their canna-experience. They’ve accomplished this feat with the help of some advances in infusion technology. Their single-serving blends are tailored to the experience. For example, their Delight blend is perfect for those who are looking for a pick-me-up while their Wonder blend is ideal for users who are seeking a product that will provide a deeper spiritual journey.

This article is for informational purposes only and not to be used as medical advice. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your diet, medications, or daily routine. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.