February 16, 2016

Did You Get High The First Time You Smoked Marijuana?

February 16, 2016
youth teen young adult marijuana usage medical marijuana

youth teen young adult marijuana usage medical marijuanaWhen people ask me about the first time that I smoked marijuana (1993), I always make sure to point out that I didn’t experience any euphoric effects the first time that I smoked marijuana. In fact, I didn’t feel any effects until the fourth time that I smoked marijuana. Since I had never been high prior to consuming marijuana, I didn’t know what to expect.

The first three times I smoked I saw my friends get high as a kite, and I was left asking myself, ‘am I high?’ I certainly didn’t feel any different, but I had clearly smoked the exact same marijuana that my friends did, and as many hits too. I inhaled deep and held it in (something that I would learn was unnecessary later in life), and did everything right. I almost didn’t smoke on that fourth attempt because I didn’t see what the benefit was.

But I will tell you what – that fourth time was a charm! I was smoking out of a pipe with my best friend, which led to an experience that I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life. It was one of the most eye opening experiences I’ve ever had, and I have never looked at the world the same way since. But I have always wondered what was up with my first three attempts, and why I didn’t feel the euphoric effects that I would eventually experience.

I recently read an article by Green Flower Media, which had a very scientific explanation:

This really is an intriguing concept. The ability to get high from cannabis (specifically, from THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) depends on the availability of cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Specifically, the high requires CB₁-receptors, which bind to THC and regulate its psychoactive effect.

Even more specifically, this process requires CB₁-receptors in the areas of the brain related to psychoactivity, stimulus and reward—areas such as the hippocampus and amygdala. If these areas are low in CB₁-receptors, then there may not be enough binding sites to process sufficient THC to produce a noticeably altered state of consciousness.

There are various possibilities to account for why an individual may be lacking in CB₁-receptors. Perhaps presence of certain compounds (such as medications, dietary supplements, or other psychoactive drugs) could cause low CB₁-receptor density, or perhaps pre-existing medical conditions could play a role, or perhaps it’s down to individual genetics, or even a combination of multiple factors.

There’s a lot of factors that go into I’m sure, but the above explanation makes sense. Maybe my CB₁-receptors were just low at the time. I know others that have experienced the same thing as me, having to partake in multiple consumption sessions before feeling any effects. But then there are many others that ‘go to where they needed to go’ on the first try. The brain is a funny thing I suppose. What was it like for you the first time? Did you feel any effects? Or was your experience more like mine?

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