Most people don’t get literally high from marijuana, but the point is that marijuana can make things fun, and that’s a beautiful thing whether the mood needs a boost or not.
Before understanding how marijuana make you laugh, it is helpful to know what happens in the brain that causes laughter. Neuroscientists acknowledge that it is difficult to isolate specific reasons for laughter because several areas of the brain are involved, responsible for motor function, language, memory, auditory interpretation and logic. Laughter is a motor reflex triggered by our interpretation of humour, a complex idea made up of many different building blocks such as our cultural, linguistic and social context. However, MRI scans have shown that humour is processed primarily in the frontal and temporal lobes of the cerebral cortex – and that is where cannabis begins to play its role.
Marijuana stimulates brain areas associated with laughter
Studies show that marijuana stimulates blood flow to the right frontal and left temporal lobes, areas of the brain that are also associated with laughter. So it could be that hyperactivity in these cortical regions invites laughter thanks to THC. Could this explain why we laugh so much when intoxicated, even at silly things? Science has not yet found out to what extent the increased blood flow is directly responsible for stimulating laughter, but it is certainly a target for future study.
Marijuana Improves moods
THC binds to receptors in the brain that modulate neuronal signalling, leading to the blissful effects we feel when intoxicated. Some reports, such as these studies from 2005 and 2007, even suggest that cannabis compounds may promote neurogenesis in some areas of the brain and thus have an anxiety-relieving and depression-inhibiting effect. And you can think about it another way: scientists have found that the brains of depressed people have reduced activity in areas of the brain associated with humour, and if cannabis is able to restore this activity, it will be easier to find a good laugh. Despite the promising results of these studies, there is a lack of clinical trials analysing these effects in human brains. But there is certainly enough to suggest a chemical link between laughter and the THC in cannabis.
Laughter is socially contagious
If you’re stoned and hysterical, you’re probably not sitting at home alone. Just as friends like to have a beer together, cannabis is a social bonding experience. Aside from the fact that cannabis lifts our mood and stimulates the brain regions associated with laughter, sharing an experience with someone else can make it easier to laugh. And why? Because laughter is contagious. The reasons for this are still being explored in science, but researcher Sophie Scott’s studies are dedicated to the social role of laughter. She explains:
“It’s a hugely behaviourally contagious effect. You can catch someone’s laughter, and you’re more likely to catch someone’s laughter if you know them. It’s modulated by social context.”
In fact, you are 30 times more likely to laugh when you are in the company of someone else.
Summary of why does marijuana make you laugh
Marijuana seems to stimulate laughter by altering blood flow in the brain and stimulating associated neural pathways, and the presence of loved ones only exacerbates the laughing fits. We are waiting for research to turn conjecture into evidence, but given the difficulty of even exploring the medical, life-changing potential of marijuana, it may be a while yet. Until then, let’s just appreciate the fact that marijuana helps to awaken the humour in us and make life a little less stressful.
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Published by Sakul17/02/2023