As the chemical THC reaches parts of the brain, it attaches to cannabinoid receptors. Usually the receptors are stimulated by anandamide produced at low rates by the body, but THC in the blood emulates the effects of anandamide on these receptors, over-activating them, which in tern has effects on other neurotransmitters systems, most notably the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. As dopamine and norepinephrine levels rise, the body experiences a heightened focus, and a greater level of perception, sometimes resulting in extremely elevated emotions and feelings. Some effects may include a general alteration of conscious perception, euphoria, feelings of well-being, relaxation or stress reduction, increased appreciation of humor, music or the arts, joviality, metacognition and introspection, enhanced recollection (episodic memory), increased sensuality, increased awareness of sensation, increased libido] and creativity. Abstract or philosophical thinking, disruption of linear memory and paranoia or anxiety are also typical. Anxiety is the most commonly reported side effect of smoking marijuana. Between 20 and 30 percent of recreational users experience intense anxiety and/or panic attacks after smoking cannabis.
Cannabis also produces many subjective and highly tangible effects, such as greater enjoyment of food taste and aroma (“the munchies”), an enhanced enjoyment of music and comedy, and marked distortions in the perception of time and space (where experiencing a “rush” of ideas from the bank of long-term memory can create the subjective impression of long elapsed time, while a clock reveals that only a short time has passed). At higher doses, effects can include altered body image, auditory and/or visual illusions, pseudo-hallucinatory or (rarely, at very high doses) fully hallucinatory experiences, and ataxia from selective impairment of polysynaptic reflexes. In some cases, cannabis can lead to dissociative states such as depersonalization and derealization; such effects are most often considered desirable, but have the potential to induce panic attack and paranoia in some unaccustomed users
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