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Cannabis has long been recognized for its potential to provide a calming effect and alleviate anxiety in many individuals. For those struggling with anxiety and depression, medical marijuana has shown promise as an alternative to prescription medication. To understand how cannabis affects serotonin, it’s essential to first grasp the role of serotonin in the body.

90% of Serotonin is Found in the Digestive System

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that facilitates communication between nerve cells in the brain, central nervous system, and other organs and tissues throughout the body. This chemical, also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine (5HT), plays a vital role in regulating various functions, including mood, sleep, pain perception, appetite, libido, and more. Serotonin is also involved in the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep patterns. Surprisingly, around 90% of serotonin is found in the digestive system, highlighting its diverse functions.

Factors Affecting Serotonin

Factors like chronic stress, chronic pain, lack of physical activity, or exposure to light can reduce serotonin levels, potentially leading to conditions like depression, anxiety, and gastrointestinal problems. Maintaining balanced serotonin levels is crucial for overall well-being, and it is produced through a complex biochemical process involving various receptors known as 5HT receptors.

When it comes to cannabis and serotonin, it’s important to note that cannabis contains numerous cannabinoids, with Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the most prominent ones. When cannabis is consumed, these cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body, specifically through cannabinoid receptors. Researchers have discovered that serotonin receptors also house cannabinoid receptors, suggesting that cannabinoids may have the potential to regulate serotonin levels to some extent.

Among these cannabinoids, CBD is the primary one thought to influence serotonin. A 2014 research study published by the National Institutes of Health found that CBD exhibited anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in animal models, similar to the effects of the prescription medication buspirone (BuSpar).

Learn more about Cannabis’ Effect on Serotonin and consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating cannabis into your therapy, especially if you are already on prescription medications.

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