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How Weed Affects Your 5 Senses

Science tells us that, aside from making you high, smoking weed alters your 5 senses in unbelievable ways.

By Bethany TiamatPublished 7 years ago 5 min read
Artwork by Trace Burroughs

Your five senses change when you smoke weed. Obvious statement is obvious, but let's break that down for a second. Weed makes you feel happier—more loose, more free. This is because cannabis affects your brain chemistry, which results in that chemical high pot smokers crave when lighting up. However, if pot can make you high, doesn't it stand to reason it can do other things to your brain? Like give you super senses?

A simple truth: THC and CBD augments your five senses in incredible, distinct ways.

Weed Releases Chemicals In the Brain

All sensation originates from the brain. You light a match in your hand, and you feel pain—but the pain isn't really generated from your hand. What happens is that your hand sends a signal to your brain telling your brain that your hand hurts. The brain, then, creates the tactile sensation of pain, and relays it to your hand. Just like your eyes don't see. They take in visual stimuli, which is relayed through your optic nerves into your visual cortex, and, thus, interpreted as sight.

All of this happens because of neurotransmitters in the brain. Many chemicals can either speed up or slow down neurotransmitters so that sensations are altered. Augmented. Hampered. Weed is just one of many substances that can alter the way neurotransmitters relay information. Obviously, pot jumpstarts the transfer of dopamine, which results in a high. However, other neurotransmitters are released as well. These can have a whole number of affects on the body.

Weed Kills Pain

"Pain don't hurt." These classic lines from Roadhouse have some grounding in reality when you consider that weed can actually muffle the neurotransmitters that cause you pain.

As mentioned before, pain is only a product of your brain. Studies show that THC can affect the transfer of anandamide, a chemical in the brain responsible for regulating pain, as well as mood, hunger, and memory. While smoking weed won't turn you into an indestructible T-800, it will prevent you from feeling some pain. In some ways, this can be dangerous, because we as people need pain to warn us when we need to stop doing a thing. Some children born without pain receptors have been known to break their limbs and not notice because they feel nothing. Weed will not deafen your senses enough that you can walk on home with a broken leg and dislocated shoulder, but it will leave you feeling comfortably numb.

Cannabis Alters Your Sense of Taste

No secret that smoking weed will give you munchies. One of the biggest stereotypes about stoners is that they love to sit back and much on any food passed their way. However, there may be more to it than just weed makes you hungry.

Consumption of weed jumpstarts production of the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is what makes you hungry—and, more so, make you crave food. This in accordance with the release of dopamine from weed will make you feel so happy to eat food. All of this adds up to making your body crave more and more food—and, more so than that, love whatever it is you're eating at least a hundred times more.

Cannibas Affects your Blood Pressure... Which Makes the World Shine

Consumption of weed affects blood pressure. Blood circulates throughout your whole body. Every organ needs blood, and, if blood is flowing into it at a different rate, that organ may behave a little different than usual.

The eyes are no exception. All that blood flow to your eyes will dilate your pupils. This in turn results in more light entering your system, which makes the whole world appear brighter than it might normally appear. More vivid. More intense. The world will almost appear to radiate before you thanks to that, and grant you a literal brighter outlook on life.

Smelling the Weeds

Shock of all shocks: weed stinks. It has a very pungent odor that makes it easy for your parents to sniff it out when you've been sneaking it in their basement. Everyone knows weed smells, but did you know that weed also makes you smell?

No, not give off an odor. You can smell differently than before. Studies on animals show that THC affects their olfactory bulb, the part of the brain that allows you smell. One study put a bunch of mice in a labyrinth. Scientists marks the end of the maze with some cheese. Half of the mice were given a dosage of THC, while the other half weren't. Those mice with THC in their system found the cheese faster than those without—assuming those without could find it at all. The high mice had a stronger sense of smell than the normal mice.

Keep in mind that all of these changes are in so many ways connected. The alteration of neurotransmitters in the brain affects everything. Because certain neurotransmitters work overtime, the brain is able to take in and interpret external stimuli at a faster rate. In short, brain gets kick-started into sixth gear thanks to pot.

Hearing—The Outlier?

So it is apparent that cannabis affects the senses. However, there is one odd outlier: hearing. Many consumers of marijuana claim that they have superior hearing after smoking pot, but it would appear that no major link exists between smoking pot and the ability to hear.

A study performed in 1976 tried to find a link between hearing and smoking weed. The test in this case tried to find a negative correlation by administering hearing tests. Half of the subjects had marijuana, while the other half were given placebos. All of them had preliminary hearing tests before smoking. Despite the scientists' preconceived prejudice against marijuana, they found weed had no negative impact on any of the subject's ability to hear. On the other hand, they also found little to no positive correlation between hearing and weed. Subjects performed well on a hearing test before smoking, and performed well after smoking. Those on placebos performed on average just as well as those smoking real pot. The scientists found no correlation.

Many people, however, claim to have an improved sense of hearing while smoking, to hear music better while high than they ever had before. The truth is that these individuals do not have enhanced levels of hearing, but rather enhanced levels of dopamine. The dopamine in their system enhances not their hearing abilities but their reaction to audio stimuli. Their ears aren't any better. It's just they are in a different headspace listening to the things around them.

It is the only sense not impacted by weed. By all accounts, weed's affects on the body are only just starting to be understood. Imagine what we might learn as more studies are performed to dissect the influence marijuana has on the human body.

healthfact or fiction

About the Creator

Bethany Tiamat

I love three things: books with yellowed pages, long walks on beaches with my german shepard Dany, and dishes incorporating fried onions.

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