What smoking cannabis really does to your mind: Experts reveal the surprising effects this 4/20 - from boosting your libido to triggering auditory illusions

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As 4/20 rolls astir erstwhile again, nan unmistakable smell of cannabis will soon beryllium filling parks and student accommodations crossed nan country.

Despite remaining forbidden successful nan UK, nan supplier is regularly smoked, eaten, aliases vaped by an estimated 3.1 cardinal people.

But knowing nan subject of what cannabis does to your mind tin beryllium tricky, particularly if you hap to person conscionable smoked some. 

From boosting your libido to triggering auditory hallucinations, not each nan effects of cannabis are what you mightiness expect. 

So, whether aliases not you will beryllium celebrating this weekend, MailOnline asked nan experts what your encephalon is really for illustration connected drugs.  

As 4/20 rolls astir again, MailOnline has asked nan experts what your encephalon is really for illustration connected narcotics and reveals nan unusual effects of cannabis you mightiness not know 

Cannabis contains 2 chemicals that are mostly responsible for nan effects you feel: CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). 

These are capable to make america consciousness precocious because they are similar to chemicals that our encephalon produces naturally. 

Throughout our brains and bodies, we person a analyzable strategy of chemic signals and receptors called nan 'endocannabinoid system'.

Dr Will Lawn, a scientist from King's College London, told MailOnline this is for illustration a dial which turns up aliases down nan magnitude of connection betwixt parts of nan brain.

Parts of this strategy called CB1 receptors beryllium astatine nan junctions of our nerves for illustration postulation lights, slowing down aliases speeding up nan travel of nan brain's connection chemicals.

When you consume weed, THC sticks to these CB1 receptors and inhibits nan merchandise of definite neurotransmitters for illustration dopamine and glutamate.

Like a faulty postulation signal, this slows postulation betwixt different encephalon regions to a crawl and triggers nan psychoactive elements of nan high. 

Cannabis contains a chemic called TH which interacts pinch our bodies 'endocannabinoid system'. This relationship change our encephalon chemistry successful a measurement that produces a pleasurable high 

This has downstream effects connected nan full body, but what makes weed deed you nan measurement it does is each owed to wherever these CB1 receptors are astir commonly recovered successful nan brain. 

Dr Lawn says: 'We spot that they are expressed densely successful nan cerebellum, successful nan hippocampus and besides immoderate limbic regions including nan amygdala.

'The cerebellum is cardinal for underpinning movement, nan hippocampus is important for underpinning movement, and nan limbic strategy is important for affectional responses.

'You will recognise those arsenic nan 3 cognitive processes that are substantially affected by cannabis.'

The parts of nan encephalon affected by cannabis are located successful nan cerebellum (pictured), amygdala, and limbic system. These are linked pinch memory, movement, and affectional responses 

Short-term memory 

Beyond nan wide 'stoned' emotion and relaxation, 1 of nan astir communal effects of cannabis usage is simply a important simplification of short-term memory.

If you've ever watched nan classical stoner movie 'Dude, Where's My Car?', you'll recognise nan stereotype of nan bumbling, permanently confused stoner. 

Since nan 1970s researchers person documented that group really struggle to clasp and activity pinch accusation successful their short-term representation while high. 

If you tin still remember, this is because THC disrupts signalling successful nan hippocampus and interferes pinch really your encephalon processes memory. 

In 'Dude, Where's My Car?', 2 stoners negociate to hide wherever they parked their car during a binge. Science shows that cannabis does severely impact nan short-term representation but nan effects don't usually persist

Does cannabis origin semipermanent representation loss?

Cannabis does not look to alteration nan encephalon permanently successful a measurement that would origin reduced memory.

Studies propose that wrong 20 days astir of nan representation effects will abate.

There is simply a flimsy nexus betwixt dense usage and reduced verbal representation but this varies from personification to person.

Use successful teenagers has been linked to worse acquisition outcomes but location isn't beardown grounds to show that they are much susceptible to representation problems.

However, teenage users are much susceptible to cannabis addiction.

This disrupts nan 'working memory', nan portion of nan mind that allows for speedy retrieval and manipulation of information. 

Studies person shown that this leads to difficulties pinch attraction and attraction successful immoderate users.

Oddly, however, studies person besides shown that regular dense users really get amended astatine attraction tasks aft smoking since they are habituated to nan effects.  

Although we cognize for definite that cannabis usage affects nan representation while it's being used, nan grounds for semipermanent effects is overmuch little certain. 

Dr Lawn says that location is immoderate grounds that semipermanent usage has a mini effect connected verbal representation but astir lingering effects thin to vanish aft nan personification quits. 

'Many cannabis users person a precocious intelligence and a very bully memory,' Dr Lawn says.

'When you look astatine a comparison betwixt dense cannabis users and non-users, there's going to beryllium a batch of overlap.' 

There whitethorn beryllium immoderate effect connected cognitive usability and representation successful nan agelong term, Dr Lawn explains, but these effects thin to beryllium very mini and location is simply a batch of variety betwixt different users. 

Heavy cannabis smokers whitethorn person immoderate reduced verbal representation moreover while sober, but these effects thin to mostly vanish complete clip if they quit. The effects besides alteration truthful while immoderate acquisition nary representation disruption others whitethorn fare worse. Pictured: Cannabis users successful Hyde Park connected 4/20

Slows cognition of time 

If you've ever eaten excessively overmuch of a cookware brownie, possibly connected an ill-considered travel to Amsterdam, this effect will beryllium each excessively familiar.

Cannabis users study that clip seems to agelong endlessly arsenic nan minutes commencement to consciousness for illustration hours.

Research has shown that cannabis usage produces an effect known arsenic clip dilation.

In 1 study, participants were either fixed a placebo aliases THC injection and were asked to property a fastener erstwhile per 2nd 70 times.

Those who had been fixed nan cannabis dose were notably slower than their sober counterparts, pressing nan fastener each 1.73 seconds compared pinch each 1.49 seconds. 

Other investigation has shown that, while high, cannabis users thin to drastically overestimate really overmuch clip has passed.  

Stoners for illustration Cheech and Chong (pictured) whitethorn consciousness that clip drags retired endlessly. Scientists person recovered that this 'time dilation' effect causes cannabis users to overestimate really overmuch clip has passed 

Other experiments show guidance times fell and decision-making gaps accrued aft participants smoked weed.  

Scientists aren't precisely judge why this happens but 1 mentation suggests that THC binds to receptors successful a portion of our encephalon responsible for our soul assemblage clock.

This region, called nan suprachiasmatic nucleus, is cardinal for maintaining our circadian rhythm.

THC's disruptive effects could footwear this region into a spin, leaving america baffled astir nan transition of time. 

Scientists aren't judge why cannabis affects nan cognition of clip but it could beryllium because THC binds to parts of nan encephalon responsible for nan circadian rhythm 


From writers for illustration Seth Rogan to painters for illustration Salvador Dali, galore usage cannabis to boost their creativity. 

After a fume you whitethorn consciousness much successful touch pinch your imaginative broadside but nan subject is much complex. 

Cannabis users thin to people higher for self-reported productivity and execute amended connected measures of 'convergent thinking'.

But erstwhile you power for cannabis users' openness to caller experiences, these effects vanish - meaning it isn't nan cannabis making group much creative.

To explicate why group consciousness much imaginative while stoned you person to look astatine really cannabis affects their guidance to creativity. 

Salvador Dali (pictured) famously utilized cannabis to heighten his creativity, but experts propose that nan cannabis mightiness not person helped 

While investigation shows nary grounds that cannabis boosts creativity, it does make group who usage it consciousness bully and truthful comprehend ideas arsenic much creative. 

Researchers recovered that group tended to rank their ain cannabis-fueled ideas arsenic much imaginative than their sober ideas, moreover erstwhile they were sober.

Likewise, stoned participants tended to complaint nan ideas of others arsenic much imaginative than they did while sober. 

So, moreover though weed won't capable you pinch superb ideas, it mightiness springiness you nan assurance and nan enthusiasm to travel them. 

Even if writers and actors for illustration Seth Rogan (pictured right) usage cannabis to substance their creativity, nan plant's main effect is conscionable to make you complaint your ain ideas arsenic much creative 

Is aesculapian cannabis ineligible successful nan UK?

Owning aliases utilizing cannabis for recreational reasons is forbidden successful nan UK.

But since 2008 immoderate doctors person been capable to prescribe cannabis.

Dr Sodergren of Imperial College says that cannabis tin beryllium prescribed for immoderate information that hasn't responded to accepted medicines.

It cannot beryllium prescribed by a GP and only doctors connected nan General Medical Council's typical registry tin supply it.

CBD products, however, are ineligible and tin beryllium bought without a prescription.  


Cannabis isn't conscionable utilized for recreation and location is now a increasing marketplace for aesculapian marijuana.

Since 2018 it has been ineligible for nan General Medical Council's typical registry to prescribe cannabis-based medicine products.

Last twelvemonth astir 32,000 group took aesculapian cannabis, pinch chronic symptom being nan astir communal reason. 

Additionally, a 2023 YouGov canvass recovered that an estimated 1.8 cardinal group utilized forbidden cannabis to dainty their symptoms.

Dr Mikael Sodergren, caput of nan Medical Cannabis Research Group astatine Imperial College, told MailOnline that symptom is 1 of nan astir promising aesculapian applications of nan drug.

Dr Sodergren, who is besides nan laminitis of a aesculapian cannabis session named Curaleaf Clinic, says: 'We discovered that galore compounds successful aesculapian cannabis artifact a circumstantial receptor which plays a cardinal domiciled successful nervus pain.

'This is nan ground connected which we are utilizing aesculapian cannabis arsenic a painkiller – it inhibits these circumstantial pathways associated pinch acute symptom signalling.'

In nan US, dispensaries for illustration this 1 successful California administer cannabis to dainty pain. The chemicals successful cannabis artifact symptom receptors successful nan assemblage and truthful tin beryllium utilized to dainty chronic conditions 

Strangely this symptom receptor is besides nan aforesaid 1 that causes group to consciousness power symptom erstwhile they eat thing spicy.

But, earlier you bid yourself a vindaloo, Dr Sodergren explains that this won't really make spicy nutrient consciousness little hot.

However, he explains that it would 'feel little achy if you rubbed a chilli capsicum successful an unfastened wound.'

Of course, this is still astir apt not a awesome thought nary matter really overmuch you person smoked.  


One of nan lesser-known side-effects of cannabis usage is that it appears to boost your libido. 

Although it sounds for illustration thing retired of a 1930s anti-drug film, cannabis smokers are really having much activity - and astir apt enjoying it much too. 

In 1 of nan biggest studies of its benignant 50,000 Americans aged 25-45 responded to a study astir intersexual activity and cannabis use.

The study recovered that cannabis users were having 20 per cent much activity connected mean than non-users. 

Women who did not study utilizing marijuana had activity astir six times a month, compared to cannabis users, who had activity an mean of 7.1 times a month.

In nan 1930s America was swept by a civilized panic complete nan liberating effects of cannabis and films for illustration 'Marijuana Girl' dispersed widely. But these moralists mightiness person been onto thing arsenic cannabis users do look to person much activity than non-users 

The quality was moreover much stark for men, arsenic non-marijuana users had activity 5.6 a month, compared to regular users who had activity an mean of 6.9 a month.

This came arsenic a spot of a astonishment to nan researchers due to highly publicised claims that cannabis usage leads to erectile dysfunction.

At nan clip of nan study's publication, lead writer Michael Eisenberg of Stanford University School of Medicine, said: 'Frequent marijuana usage doesn't look to impair intersexual information aliases performance. 

'If anything, it's associated pinch accrued coital frequency.'

A smaller study of 216 participants recovered that 52 per cent of those surveyed said they utilized cannabis to change their intersexual experience.

Out of nan participants, 38 per cent said activity was better, 25 per cent said it was sometimes amended and only 4.7 per cent said it was worse. 

It isn't clear why stoners for illustration The Dude (pictured) would person much sex, but 1 mentation is that cannabis' experience-enhancing effects make it much enjoyable 

Anxiety and paranoia 

Of course, smoking cannabis isn't each roses isn't each roses and not everyone has a affirmative reaction.

Dr Lawn says: 'It does look to beryllium benignant of a marmite supplier successful immoderate respects.

'Some group thoroughly bask nan effects of mean doses of TCH but different group deliberation it feels perfectly horrible.'

The aforesaid chemic processes that lead to euphoria and relaxation for some, trigger anxiety, paranoia, and moreover auditory hallucinations for others.

When you consume weed, THC triggers nan accumulation of nan neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and GABA.

Normally, these suppress nan merchandise of norepinephrine, a chemic associated pinch alertness, causing group to calm down and relax.

But for immoderate people, little levels of norepinephrine trigger a 'rebound effect', sending parts of nan encephalon linked to worry into overdrive. 

This leads to feelings of panic, accrued bosom rate, and a spike successful cortisol levels which lend to that overwhelming emotion of 'freaking out'.  

Smoking a batch of cannabis tin origin immoderate group to acquisition paranoia and worry successful a measurement that mimics immoderate of nan elements of an 'acute psychotic. Pictured: Cannabis users successful Hyde Park connected 4/20

Does cannabis lead to psychosis?

This is 1 of nan astir contentious issues successful cannabis investigation and nan connections are not rather clear.

On 1 hand, dense cannabis usage is associated pinch higher risks of psychiatric conditions.

Heavy usage whitethorn besides trigger aliases exacerbate worse outcomes for group who are astatine consequence of psychosis.

There are besides anemic connections betwixt semipermanent usage and depression. 

But nan consequence of processing a information for illustration schizophrenia remains very debased moreover for dense smokers.

The immense mostly of cannabis users will not acquisition immoderate adverse effects.

But you should still usage be aware if cannabis makes you consciousness paranoid aliases if you person a history of intelligence illness.  

These are known arsenic 'psychotomimetic' effects because they mimic immoderate of nan elements of an 'acute psychotic experience'.

'Obviously, it doesn't afloat mimic that but nan auditory hallucinations and paranoia recovered successful immoderate group are reminiscent of nan florid psychotic symptoms that group pinch schizophrenia experience,' Dr Lawn says. 

There is besides a well-known relation betwixt semipermanent cannabis usage and nan consequence of processing a psychotic condition.

However, it is important to statement that these associations are highly analyzable and nan consequence are still comparatively low. 

Dr Lawn says: 'If you're a regular cannabis personification you do person a astir 4 times greater consequence of processing schizophrenia successful your life than personification who doesn't [use cannabis].

'But that consequence has only gone from astir 0.5 per cent to 2 per cent, truthful 98% of regular cannabis users aren't going to create schizophrenia.'

Since location are truthful galore different factors successful someone's life that tin lead to intelligence wellness issues it is besides very difficult to opportunity for definite that cannabis straight causes these semipermanent problems.

So moreover if you do get freaked retired while smoking, for nan overwhelming mostly of group nan emotion will walk erstwhile you sober up.  

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