Why Cannabis Makes You Laugh

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Why Cannabis Makes You Laugh

Got the giggles? Cannabis has the unmistakable ability to make even the most stony faced of us laugh, and it is all thanks to the way it interacts with the brain.

Ever noticed how your sense of humour dramatically “improves” when you are high? Even the most mundane things have the ability to coax you into a giggle, and the things that actually are funny will have you in a fit of hilarity. But why is this? To say “simply because you are high” doesn’t really explain it. It largely comes down to the multiple ways the cannabinoid within cannabis interact with the brain, coming together into one side splitting experience.

Although, it is certainly no stretch to say that cannabis changes the way we think, science has fortunately found that it doesn’t actually alter our brain structure. Instead, cannabis tickles our funny bone by increasing bloodflow, boosting neurotransmitter activity, and increasing reflex activity.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19627647

Blood Flow

Firstly, using cannabis has been shown to increase blood flow to certain areas of the brain. Most notably, blood flow is increased to the cerebellum, right frontal lobe, and left temporal lobe. It is the right frontal lobe that is of particular interest, as research has shown that it is linked to humour appreciation – so it stands to reason that having this part of the brain go into overdrive will make you much more prone to laughter.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17115869
Source: http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/122/4/657


Increased blood flow is not the only cause for laughter though. Using cannabis also stimulates the production and release of additional dopamine and endorphins. These chemicals work within the brain to make us feel rewarded, content and happy. Dopamine in particular is the neurotransmitter associated with the happiness and satisfaction we feel when we eat, fall in love, exercise, or pretty much do anything that we find to be a rewarding experience.

Reflex Activity

Lastly, laughter is contagious, and when the two above factors are combine, it is hard to resist laughing simply as a reflex. This effect is only magnified when you are with others sharing your smoke. It is known more classically as fatuous laughter, and it simply means laughing for no apparent reason – much in the same way tickling causes us to laugh, even though there is nothing particularly funny about it.

So as you see, when you take the above points into account, you don’t really stand much chance of keeping a straight face – not that you would want too.