Does Cannabis Make You Happy, And Why?
Many occasional cannabis consumers and people who want to use cannabis for the first time ask the same question: does cannabis make you happy? The short answer is yes; various studies show that cannabis can reduce anxiety and produce euphoria in adults. So, by most standards, cannabis can make you feel happier in multiple ways.
Why does cannabis make you happy?
Research indicates that cannabis has the ability to lower anxiety, elevate mood, alleviate physical pain, reduce the risk of psychotic episodes, and even protect against neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, while happiness is a personal state of mind, cannabis contains several compounds that trigger happiness in most people.
But this still doesn’t answer a few important questions. Namely, how does cannabis work to make you happy?
How does cannabis make you feel good?
The two most active cannabinoids in cannabis are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). While both compounds can affect mood, they interact with the brain and body in different ways. Consequently, they produce different results. THC is most often associated with euphoria, while CBD is most often linked to pain relief and anxiety reduction. So, why does cannabis make you feel good? Let’s look at the science to find out:
Cannabis contains numerous natural properties that help elevate mood and produce happiness for the vast majority of consumers. However, THC is by far the most powerful component in creating a “happy” effect. The aforementioned euphoria occurs because THC binds to your cannabinoid receptors, producing a “flood of dopamine” in the brain that makes virtually any activity — including eating, exercising, or just relaxing — more enjoyable.
While THC is activating your brain’s natural reward system, CBD creates various anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects. The jury is still out on exactly how CBD reduces anxiety, but current research suggests that CBD works to increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects a wide range of processes in the mind and body. Generally, higher serotonin levels are associated with lower anxiety, reduced risk of depression, and improved sleep. Not only can CBD promote healthier sleep patterns, but it can also work as a wake-inducing compound, helping to increase energy levels.
In addition to its anxiolytic effects, CBD can also reduce pain and inflammation. One way in which your body fights pain is through endocannabinoids. Your body’s natural endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system, which helps reduce pain and inflammation. CBD works to stimulate this action, enhancing your body’s natural pain-reduction processes.
Short-Term Depression Relief
In the past, it was assumed that increased cannabis use was resulting in higher occurrences of depression. However, recent studies indicate an inverse relationship. Many people with depression may be using cannabis as an informal anti-depressant. More research is needed to know the exact relationship between cannabis and depression. That said, cannabis has proven to offer short-term relief of depression symptoms.
Too much of a good thing: a biphasic effect of THC
It’s important to note that both medicinal and recreational users of cannabis should not take a “more is better” approach — especially when using cannabis to elevate or stabilize mood. While CBD has less potential for negative side effects, THC is a little more complicated. In low doses (1-10 mg), THC has proven to be anxiolytic. However, once the doses increase, THC can have the opposite effect. At very high doses (12.5< mg), THC can become anxiogenic, increasing anxiety-related symptoms.
It is therefore important to control your dosage. While it’s true that THC can produce euphoria, you should not assume that more THC necessarily equates to a better (or happier) experience. By controlling your dosage (particularly in regard to THC), you can ensure that your happy experience does not turn into a depressing or anxiety-riddled one.
What is the best cannabis product to feel happy?
Before we look at the best cannabis product to make you feel happy, it’s necessary to debunk the myth of “happy weed strains.” Strain classifications are largely irrelevant, as different "strains" are simply products that fall within certain ranges of cannabinoid content and terpene composition. Moreover, many cannabis product manufacturers don’t measure their compositions precisely. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see strains that claim to produce very specific effects, but only provide a wide range of CBD and THC content. For example, you might see a strain that advertises 15-18% THC and less than 5% CBD. Neither of these measurements gives you enough information to know if the strain will create a happy experience or not.
If you want to have a happy experience, you’ll need to have full control over every aspect of your cannabis product. By looking for a “strain” to consume for a specific effect, there’s still a lot that you are leaving to chance. You’re not taking into account the exact dosage (which is impossible to control when smoking), onset time, and peak time — among other factors. Thus, looking for a “happy” strain is an inexact and ineffective way to ensure a positive emotional experience.
Since strains offer no control over dosage on their own, this means that you could have a great or terrible experience depending on the amount you consume and your method of consumption. For this reason alone, seeking out a “happy weed strain” is a waste of time. Instead, you should focus more on the dosage and the way you consume your cannabis. Many delivery methods, including smoking, make it nearly impossible to control the exact dosage.
Edibles and topicals provide a little more dosage accuracy, but they will require you to do all of the measurements yourself. This can be tedious and could still result in miscalculations. Cannabis tinctures might be one of the best methods for managing dosage, but you still have to handle your own measurements and hope for the best.
Instead, you’ll often get the best result by opting for single-dose products. These provide the easiest way to get the dosage and cannabinoid ratios exactly right. Too much CBD could make you extremely calm and lethargic, even if you wanted to be energetic. Alternatively, too much THC could make you anxious and paranoid when you just wanted to have a pleasant, euphoric experience.
This is what makes single-dose cordials some of the best cannabis products on the market today. Compared to other products, cordials ensure that you get the exact dosage you need to have a happy experience — without the need to break out the teaspoons and measuring cups. Koan cordials allow full control of dosage and, by extension, your experience.
This is due to the fact that cordials are cannabis “blends,” not strains. With blends, you have full control over the exact composition, terpene content, dosage, and — most importantly — desired effect. Currently, “Delight” is Koan’s best product for happiness. With 8 mg of THC and 4 mg of CBD per cordial (as well as the perfect blend of 5 major terpenes), you’ll be able to have a happy, euphoric experience — without the need to measure dosages or shop for particular strains.
Cannabis and happiness: the bottom line
So, does cannabis make you happy? Yes, it does — with a few important caveats. The composition of your cannabis product is one of the most important factors. If you don’t have the right combination of THC, CBD, and terpenes, you probably won’t get the kind of experience you want. Even if the composition is spot on, the dosage can have a drastic effect on the end result. Fortunately, Koan cordials take out all of the guesswork, making it easy to create and enjoy a happy cannabis experience.
Reviewed for scientific accuracy by Skyler Quisenberry.