Cannabis facts: release the hemp, or better not?

Cannabis facts: release the hemp, or better not?

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A current social debate has flared up as to whether cannabis should be released in a controlled manner or not. We have gathered some facts to contribute to this discussion.

A minority of users who smoke a joint or otherwise use cannabis become psychologically noticeable. "However, people who are predisposed to psychosis are at risk," says search expert Benedikt Bloching from the Stuttgart clinic. As always, the dose is crucial. But how does cannabis actually work?

Cannabis contains over 66 known substances. Scientists call these cannabinoids. The most important and intoxicating substance is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It causes euphoric and foggy conditions. Another substance is cannabidiol (CBD). This is considered a so-called opponent and has an antipsychotic effect. Cannabis works in the human body because the brain produces substances that are very similar to cannabis substances. Therefore, THC and CBD find corresponding docking points in the human body, which are also called receptors. They attach to these and trigger corresponding psychological effects.

Anxious but also anxiety-promoting
For example, THC adheres to receptors that are responsible for the brain's reward center. There, the messenger substance dopamine is released, which is responsible for feelings of happiness. "The drug therefore creates a good mood up to euphoria, but can also lead to indifference or anxiety in large quantities," said the search expert Benedikt Bloching from the Stuttgart Clinic.

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Often, existing conditions such as sadness or cheerfulness are additionally supported by the consumption of cannabis. “When I smoke, I either get a laugh or just sit indifferently in the corner. Both relax me, ”says Clemens Just. Just has been a consumer for around 20 years and only occasionally smokes a joint in the evening.

Moderate consumption can relax
Moderate consumption can therefore also have positive effects. The receptors to which the active substances bind are also located in the places in the brain where emotions such as fear, pain or stress are generated. These sensations, which are often not pleasant for people, can be subdued with cannabis. Another receptor is found in the immune cells in the intestine and lungs. Cannbis can affect the immune system and counter inflammation. However, some people do not have these receptors. Then this effect cannot be developed.

Cannabis substances make learning difficult
Those who learn shouldn't smoke anything. Because cannabis inhibits learning, even if the intoxication is already over. Because the receptors are still occupied and make it difficult to absorb new information. It is also because of this that long-term users often have difficulty remembering things and are “forgetful”. Impairments after intoxication can persist for up to four weeks in heavy users.

Does cannabis also affect intelligence? The search expert refers to a long-term study. Subjects were continuously examined neuropsychologically from childhood to adulthood. "The evaluations indicate that regular consumption reduces the intelligence by eight IQ points - provided you started using cannabis in early adolescence."

When the brain is still developing, it is more susceptible to the effects caused by cannabis. An Australian study found that stoned teenagers have less chance of successfully completing school. The chances decreased by up to 60 percent compared to the non-consumers. Even if other researchers refuted these observations. It is not contradicted that the brain of long-term users changes. According to scientists at the University of Bonn, it works “just differently”, but not necessarily worse. (sb)

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