To the brain, alcohol is a sledge hammer, cocaine a laser, and THC a bucket of red paint.

Posted by Daniel Patrick on

In her book, NEVER ENOUGH: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addictionauthor, addict, and neuroscientist Judith Grisel explains how cocaine, alcohol, and THC are pharmacological parallels to a laser, a sledgehammer, and a bucket of red paint.

Most interesting is her relationship and understanding of THC which is increasingly becoming normalized in the United States as more states become medical and/or recreational states from sanctioned cartels like Florida to more open environments like Oregon or Colorado.

She describes how science from the 1990s revealed that the brain was covered in cannabinoid receptors. In some areas of the brain, every receptor had these receptors which numbered in the trillions. She recalls her own relationship with marijuana which was like a lover or a best friend that could light up her entire brain magnifying music, taste, jokes, and feelings from all sensations. In this manner, it was like turning up the master volume of the brain, but as we have learned the brain adapts and so the signaling downregulates to account for the more noise. As this happens we become deafer and at the same time, the THC has decreasing effects leading to a brain that has been splattered or splashed with red paint.

We are neither for or against the responsible use of the bounties of the earth, though we advise moderation and caution especially with those that affect the hardware and software of the brain.

Reference: NPR Podcast of Judith Grisel and Host Terry Gross


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