As research into marijuana grows, so does what we know about how the unique cannabinoids it contains interact with our internal receptors. One being, serotonin. The internal compound is often referred to as ‘the happy chemical’.
Our body’s levels of serotonin can affect a number of functions and even offset a variety of common conditions. But in reference to feeling ‘happy’, the more serotonin, the better. Which is why so many cannabis consumers, medically or recreationally, turn to weed. Beyond its euphoric and uplifting effects, let’s explore the scientific way that cannabis affects serotonin and the benefits that the relationship can provide.
What is serotonin?
Scientifically, serotonin is a chemical nerve that our body’s cells naturally produce from a process involving tryptophan. Which is found in many food items like cheese and red meat. Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter that travels throughout the body sending messages to varying systems
While it’s well-known for producing an overall feeling of ‘well-being’ or ‘happiness’ about 90% of your body’s serotonin is found in the digestive tract, and keeps the system running smoothly. It’s serotonin’s activity in the brain that is most important for its reputation of producing happy feels. Serotonin helps promote strong connections between cells in the brain that affect a wide range of functions like sleeping, mood and even appetite.
What conditions is serotonin related to?
Research is showing that low or off-balanced levels of serotonin is the source of many common conditions. Most notoriously, low serotonin levels contribute to anxiety and depression. In fact, SSRI antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are most frequently prescribed to treat Including specific disorders like –
- OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder
- PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Eating disorders
- IBS or irritable bowel syndrome
Beyond actual disorders, a serotonin deficiency can also lead to everyday issues that may affect your overall health, too. Including –
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
As you can see, optimal and ideal levels of serotonin are vital for feeling your best. So let’s next explore the ways that medical marijuana and serotonin connect, to help alleviate deficiencies.
The benefits of medical marijuana and serotonin
Science is still working to find the exact relationship between cannabis, its cannabinoids and serotonin but they’re on the right track. Currently, they know the relationship stems from the cannabinoids like CBD and THC interacting with your body’s CB1 receptors. Cannabinoid receptors are also found on serotonin neurons, and on neurons that are known for inhibiting serotonin. This means when cannabinoids enter the body from consuming cannabis, they can directly affect both.
Cannabis is also directly linked to the main serotonin receptor, 5-HT1A found in the hypothalamus portion of the brain. CBD is an agonist of this receptor, directly activating it and influencing its action with the cannabinoid’s effects. Another connection between marijuana and serotonin comes through the GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons. These neurons regulate the activity of serotonin, therefore amplifying cannabis’ overall effect on the beneficial compound.
The best strains for uplifted moods and depression
With serotonin being so closely tied to feeling ‘happy’ and alleviating symptoms of depression, it’s no wonder so many medical marijuana consumers are using cannabis to uplift their mood. This self-exploration of self-medicating is proving to be helpful for a number of users with the expansion of cannabis products available on the market today. That includes fine-tuned strain crosses that produce relaxing and stress-relieving effects, from unique combinations of cannabinoids.
Since CBD and THC are both highly active at stimulating and promoting the production of serotonin, a well-balanced ratio of the two cannabinoids is ideal. From other research on the complex cannabis plant, we also know that a few specific terpenes can be uplifting for moods, too. These include limonene, terpinolene and linalool. To help you on your search for cannabis products to help elevate and uplift your moods, or increase your serotonin levels we’ve put together a list of the best strains for mood enhancement.
- Jack Herer – Jack Herer is a classic sativa dominant strain, that will have you feeling giggly with an overall sense of euphoria and happiness.
- Blackberry Kush – The indica dominant strain Blackberry Kush is calming for the mind, with a blissful tranquility.
- Headband – Headband or any strain containing the genetics is a natural mood lifter. Named for its cerebral effects, your head is quickly sent off into a dreamy haze.
- Strawberry Banana – An indica dominant strain, Strawberry Banana provides a highly euphoric yet mellowing high.
- Green Crack – Green Crack is an energizing sativa that uplifts your mood, while providing motivation and focus, too. The strain also contains more CBD than most, which helps boost serotonin.
- Girl Scout Cookies – Of course, Girl Scout Cookies is as uplifting for your mood as the actual treat can be too. The well-balanced hybrid delivers an intense feeling of overall happiness and glee.
If you’re opposed to the traditional smoking method of cannabis, luckily advancements in the industry have made a plethora of other infused products available. Because CBD and THC equally work towards improving serotonin levels, finding a tincture, edible, or vape cartridge with balanced ratios will work, too.
Don’t worry, be happy
From the cannabis cult classic tune, we all know that weed helps you ‘don’t worry, be happy’. The only difference now, is we’re beginning to discover the scientific reasons to why and how. From early research experts have identified that medical marijuana’s connection to serotonin is just one way the plant is elevating moods.
While they continue to investigate, you now have the information and recommendations of cannabis products and strains that may be able to assist. As you go, experts recommend keeping a journal on how each different strain or ratio you try makes you feel. This way, you can better assess which works best for what you need.
Start uplifting your mood today, and check out MMJDirect.co’s wide selection of high-quality cannabis goods.