The Ups and Downs of Cannabis

A new study out this week has some surprising information for marijuana users. Deepak Cyril DeSouza, from the Yale school of medicine,  along with other partners released the academic study in January. The study, which used males ages 18-35, set out to answer the questions of how long does it take for a moderate smoker to become tolerant of THC and how long, if at all, does it take for that tolerance to go back to normal?

To conduct the study, a PET scan (positron emission tomography) along with a radiotracer ligand for cannabinoid receptor 1 showed exactly the mechanism to tolerance.  Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R), is the part of the brain that is stimulated by the active ingredient in marijuana.

According to the study, the smokers have less CB1R receptors in their brain than non-smokers, however after just two days of going without, the brain starts to bounce back. After four weeks, there was an insignificant difference between those who previously smoked and those who never had.

The authors did warn of some flaws in their study. For one, the sample size was quite small. The second flaw being that there were no women included in the study as marijuana affects men and women differently. They hope the next study will allow them to conduct an experiment that includes both a larger sample and women.

The best news is that the amount of cannabis smoked seems to have no correlation to the length of time needed for the receptors to recover. Additionally, the study also has some warning for those who use marijuana for the psychoactive relief. Because of the small window in which recovery takes place, those utilizing such effects should practice caution when taking a break.

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