One of the longest-standing myths involving cannabis paints images of stoners humming and hawing, unable to formulate their thoughts. Though, as cannabis is increasingly legalized and studied, more people report they can concentrate better while high. This is an exciting possibility, and scientists are hard at work explaining it.
At our North Portland marijuana dispensary, Greeley Gallery, our customers often share their favorite reasons for getting high. Many of which use weed to boost their creativity, enjoy the outdoors, and of course, relax. But for some, consuming cannabis helps them work and maintain focus in an increasingly more distracting world.
Life has grown increasingly complicated over the last few years, and our social culture thrives on instant everything. Our phones continually ‘ding’ with notifications from social media, friends reaching out, and endless emails. It’s no wonder it’s believed that between 5 and 9 percent of America’s population are diagnosed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Though in addition to setting our phones on Do Not Disturb, cannabis may also be a solution to help us focus on the tasks that need our attention. And with proper dosage, we’ll even feel motivated to complete them, thanks largely to a boost of dopamine.
Cannabis’ Impact on the Brain
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role regarding our attention, mood, movement, memory, sleep, learning, and pleasure. Over the last few years, scientists learned that the cannabis compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) impacts dopamine by changing its levels within our brains. THC does this by mimicking a cannabinoid our bodies naturally produce called anandamide.
A dopamine boost triggers our brain’s reward center resulting in pleasurable feelings. It can make time feel like it’s going slower while our mental activity, focus, and energy speed up. Some scientists believe this is why some people feel that cannabis helps them focus and feel motivated to accomplish their tasks.
Word of Caution
While it’s promising that cannabis can help us focus and rein in our attention, there is a caveat. The most important of which is that dosage makes all the difference. Too much THC can easily overload your dopamine receptors resulting in your body shutting them off for a bit. Which would result in the opposite effect, a lack of enjoyment of the same activities. The good news is, the body restores natural dopamine activity when cannabis isn’t used.
In the End
Scientists are still debating the effects cannabis has on our brains and attention spans. Some studies involving cannabis and people with ADHD are promising, while others disagree, so more research is needed. One possible reason for the range of results is that cannabis impacts each person differently because we’re individuals with our own complicated systems.
Meaning that we all have personal and subjective experiences after consuming cannabis. Not to mention there are hundreds of cannabis strains, and each one has a unique combination of cannabinoids and terpinenes that impact our experience.
In the meantime, we at Greeley Gallery recommend doing what’s best for you. If you’re someone looking for a solution to help you focus better, cannabis could work wonders. Ask our friendly staff for recommendations to find the best strain for you. And remember, you don’t need much, so begin small first.