The Cannabis Chronicles: Feeling Up, Feeling Down, Feeling Weed

February 11, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

So, how you feeling today? Ever consider that the way we are feeling at any given moment is not just a reaction to what we are feeling/thinking? It’s also due to certain brain transmitters being continuously released in complex combinations. It’s like a perpetual mixing of ingredients in an ever changing recipe. I use the example of baking a cake from the ingredients, not a mix in a box. You may have different ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, eggs, seasonings, and milk in the recipe. However, if you want it more moist, you can increase the eggs, more dry, add more flour. You can  make a mindboggling number of combinations based on the number of starting ingredients and the quantity of each. Our minds work like that with our neurotransmitters. We used to think that one type of transmitter had dominance over expression of a specific emotion or feeling. We now know that the combinations and permutations give us the broad palette of emotions.

Even when we are not emotionally charged up with anger or excitement, these transmitters are still at work to help us experience the feelings in a “normal day”. It’s like our baseline feeling of wellbeing. That baseline is individualized based on our genetics, personality tendencies and circumstances.  We also know that deficits in these transmitters contribute to negative feelings like depression, or feeling emotionally numb. This is why getting high has a price for us to pay the day after. When we blitz our brains with a drug, we temporarily deplete our transmitter reserves, leading to the negative experience of feeling hung over, or down the next day. Do it enough and that feeling can start to persist for several more hours to days. Also, your nerve cells start to become less sensitive to the big releases of transmitters so you need more drug to get the same feeling. This may mean a few more draws on the pipe or changing to a more potent variety of weed. As the high fades, the recovery time for the brain takes longer and you then start to feel less wellbeing after being high. You drop below your baseline. So, what do you do? The logical thing is to get high again to get back over that baseline. Over time, those who become addicted will admit to needing small doses of the drug just to feel “normal”.  What goes up, must go down.  And for many, it’s the start of the slippery slope of abuse/addiction.