Cannabis Scientist Answers Questions From Twitter

Cannabis scientist Dr. Amber Wise answers the web's burning questions about cannabis! What's the difference between indica and sativa? Does CBD actually do anything? Why does weed smell like THAT? Is it really okay to smoke weed every day? Dr. Wise answers all these questions and much more! Director: Justin Wolfson Director of Photography: Ricardo Pomares Editor: Ron Douglas Expert: Amber Wise Producer: Justin Wolfson Line Producer: Joseph Buscemi Associate Producer: Brandon White Production Manager: Peter Brunette Production Coordinator: Kevin Balash Casting Producer: Nick Sawyer Camera Operator: Shay Eberle-Gunst Audio: Will Miller Production Assistant: Phillip Arliss Post Production Supervisor: Alexa Deutsch Post Production Coordinator: Ian Bryant Supervising Editor: Doug Larsen Assistant Editor: Marisa DeMarini Additional Editor: Paul Tael

Video Transcript

- I am Amber Wise, I am a cannabis scientist, and I'm here today to answer your questions from Twitter.

This is Cannabis Support.

[upbeat music] From @Im_FeliciaHOE.

"It's okay to smoke weed.

But everyday?"

Some people use cannabis to modulate neurodivergent behavior.

Some people use it medically in order to get out of bed and reduce their pain.

Some people use it for arthritis, and these are daily applications.

And there are zero deaths attributed to natural cannabis use.

Some would argue that getting high every day is potentially safer than getting drunk every day.

From 50 Shades of Green.

"Why does weed cause the munchies?"

Cannabinoids and THC actually stimulate the release of our hunger molecule called "ghrelin", a hormone that makes us feel hungry.

Cannabinoids can also heighten your sense of smell and taste, so not only do you feel more hungry, but those Doritos can also taste better.

Next up, @Rapid_RNR asks, "Did you know the human body naturally produces cannabinoids?"

The thing is, our body does make cannabinoid molecules but they're not the same ones that the plant makes.

These molecules regulate almost every aspect of our biochemistry: mood, sleepiness and awakeness, how hunger you are, your metabolism rates, your energy levels.

We call this now the "endo cannabinoid system".

The reason that we react to the cannabinoids that the plant makes are because those molecules also bind to the same receptors that our body has in our endocannabinoid system.

From @terrible_tony.

"Is it me or is the weed out here getting stronger?"

Humans are now selectively breeding cannabis and have been for a long time to make more cannabinoids in the flower.

Flower from 30, 40 years ago has fewer cannabinoids than the flower that's being grown today.

You might be going into retail stores and seeing, you know, a couple years ago labels saying 25% total THC in flower, and now we're seeing 35 or maybe 40% or even more than 40%.

Those numbers are not real.

There is a physical limit to the amount that the plant can make.

30% is generally agreed upon as the maximum amount that you can get a flower to produce, and that is like the danky-est sticky-icky we're talking about.

The next question is from @alms_xo.

"Is weed a psychedelic?"

There are three terms I'd like to define a little more clearly here.

We have: psychoactive, psychotropic, and we have psychedelic.

Psychoactive is anything that reacts with your brain chemistry, and that can be caffeine, and that can be any number of things.

Psychotropic is somehow affecting your perception of reality, your mood, your awareness, and sometimes perception of time.

And psychedelic is generally agreed upon to include hallucinations and drastic changes in how you're perceiving reality.

In terms of the generally agreed upon definition of psychedelic, generally cannabinoids are not, THC and CBD can be considered psychoactive, they both interact with our brains.

And generally, THC is considered psychotropic.

It can change our mood and how we perceive reality.

From @anth_alvarado.

"Does CBD actually do anything?"

First I wanna show how similar CBD and THC are in terms of molecular structure.

They actually weigh the same and have the same number of carbons and hydrogens and oxygens.

The big difference is that the ring structure here is closed on the THC and the ring is open here on the CBD.

That's the only difference.

However, we have it on paper here so they both look flat.

In three dimensions, the shape is quite different, and that leads to different behaviors in your body.

Purified CBD all by itself is often not very effective for whatever you might be seeking treatment for.

However, when we have a more full spectrum mixture of different molecules from the plant, it can be much more effective for a variety of different ailments.

From @filth_filler.

"Why do edibles hit different?"

Well, it's because it's actually a different molecule that your body is getting high from.

So, so far we've really only been talking about Delta-9 THC, and that's what happens when you inhale.

It goes directly into your bloodstream from your lungs, so you feel that effect quite quickly.

However, with edibles, you first have to go through your stomach, your intestines, through your liver, and your liver attaches a hydroxy group and causes a different molecule to form, called "11-Hydroxy-THC".

That's why edibles hit different, meaning they take longer, and they also feel different because it's a different molecule interacting with those receptors in your body.

From @Jada_tonyra.

"What's the difference between indoor and outdoor weed?"

This is a very hot topic, and everybody falls on one side or the other.

There was a recent study done where they grew clones from the same plant, so genetically the same starting material.

Some of them were grown outdoors in natural living soil.

Some of it was grown indoors with potting soil and artificial lights.

And looking at the molecular profile that the plant made, the outdoor cannabis had wider variety of cannabinoids, it had more minor cannabinoids and rare cannabinoids.

And the indoor often has slightly higher yield, and often more consistent molecular profiles.

So it really depends on what you're looking for, and you can get quality out of both types of situations.

From @cinnachurros.

"Why does weed smell like that?"

Cannabis has a distinctive smell, and different strains do smell differently.

But you can often say that that smells like weed.

Well, the answer is terpenes.

Terpenes are one of the most widely found molecules in the plant kingdom.

All kinds of plants and herbs and spices and pine trees have terpenes in them.

THC and CBD actually are odorless, and in fact, the drug dogs that are used to detect cannabis are trained on terpene molecules.

And that skunky smell in cannabis is actually due to sulfur-containing compounds that were just very recently discovered.

From @RobbinsGroupLLC.

"What are cannabis trichomes and why are they so important?"

Cannabis trichomes are actually only found on the female structure of the flower, and the trichomes are where all of the cannabinoids and terpenes are synthesized in the plant.

If you zoom in, you'll see these trichomes are these tiny little mushroom-shaped structures, and within that round part at the end of that stock, that's the location that the plant actually makes the cannabinoids, THC, CBD, and the terpenes.

All in that one little head.

From @fangers0_0.

"Is there really a difference between indica and sativa or is it all in the head?"

The old adage is that indica will make you feel "in da couch" or relaxed or sleepy, and sativas might make you more creative or more energetic.

Recent studies actually show that there is no molecular correlation between the two, in terms of the kinds of terpenes or cannabinoid molecules that the plant makes, so it might actually just be all in your head.

From @NextBigCrop.

"What effect does THC and CBD have on your sleep and dreams?"

So in terms of falling asleep and staying asleep, THC and CBD in combination seem to work quite well.

Cannabis and THC and cannabinoids can help with falling asleep.

In terms of dreams, there is evidence to suggest that THC reduces your REM cycles, which is the part where you remember your dreams occurring.

But long-term users of cannabis who stopped using do report very vivid dreams coming back after they're stopping using cannabis.

So there is definitely some effect on what we remember during use and after we stop using, but we don't fully understand the mechanisms there.

From @optimalnt1.

"Why does marijuana have THC?"

And the plant doesn't actually make these molecules for our benefit, the plant benefits from making these molecules what we call "secondary metabolites", something that are not needed for fundamental growth and function of plants, but perform another function.

There is evidence to suggest it protects against UV rays, it protects potentially against pests, and also things like antifungal and antimicrobial properties.


"Why does weed make you high?"

We used to think it was dopamine being released but it's actually not true.

Science has shown that it is this anandamide molecule named for the Sanskrit word "joy" or "bliss".

This molecule is released in our brain and makes us feel happy.

Sometimes it can make us feel anxious or moody or paranoid as well.

It's determined by your biochemistry and many other factors including what other molecules are present potentially in that cannabis.

The next question is from @dannytkane.

"Have we determined if 'contact high' is a real thing?

Never in my life have I got a 'contact high'."

In terms of contact high, we're gonna talk about, you know, inhaling secondhand smoke at a party, let's say.

One study that was done with a bunch of folks in a very unventilated room where half the folks smoked joints constantly and the other half is just sat there.

The people who did not smoke the joints tested positive for THC and said they felt a little high.

When they just ventilated the room, the folks who did not smoke the joints said they didn't feel much and they also did not test positive for THC.

Whiffing the smell of cannabis as you walk down the street, you're totally fine.

But if your friends are hot boxing in the car, you might run into some problems.

From @Kati3Whit3.

"What's the difference between Delta 8, 9 and 10?"

To a chemist, it's really just the position of a double bond.

This is Delta-9 THC, and this is a double bond here between the 9 and 10 carbon atoms here.

Delta-8 means this double bond is just over here on the ring structure.

And Delta-10 means it's on a different position on that same ring.

The big difference is that Delta-9 THC is naturally produced by the plant, and Delta-8 and Delta-10 are converted from either CBD molecules or Delta-9.

The next question is from @ujanaraa.

"Aye why does weed make you laugh?"

Well, there is actually a mechanism in that it makes more blood flow to the prefrontal cortex of your brain, which affects your moods.

It does increase the endocannabinoid, "bliss molecules" in our bodies, the anandamide molecule that naturally exists.

So it's complicated, but there is some chemistry behind it making you laugh.

From @420WeedManJeff1.

"Question, does anybody know where cannabis originated from, and about how long ago?"

We used to say that cannabis came from the Central Asian region, usually around India, and in fact, "cannabis indica", indica suggests coming from India.

But it turns out genetic profiling recently in the last couple of years shows that it comes from East Asia and eastern parts of China.

How long ago?

Well, plants predate humans.

There is evidence to suggest that there was fiber type hemp and cannabis being grown about 12,000 BC.

Psychotropic and spiritual use of cannabis around 7,500 years ago, and there have been documented evidence of its medical and ritualistic use for thousands of years in various parts of the world.

Commercially available cannabis is so highly bred that it would be difficult to kind of trace that back or even be very recognizable to sort of the origins of the cannabis plant.

The next question is from @martini_no_t.

"Why does weed still need to give you dry mouth?

Do we have people working on this?

We need people working on this."

There are neurotransmitters in our brains that cannabinoids interact with that cause our saliva glands to stop working as well as they should.

And it's not just smoking.

You can get cotton mouth from edibles and tinctures as well.

In terms of "we should have somebody working on this," this is one of the things that gets me excited about the cannabis world of science, is that there's so many unanswered questions and potential areas for new research.

So somebody should get on that.


"Is weed addictive?"

Addiction is generally defined as a use disorder now, and involves some sort of physical withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped.

There's an estimated between 10 and 30% of cannabis users end up with some sort of use disorder, and certainly people seek treatment for cannabis use disorder, but it's generally much lower than for other drugs of abuse compared to the number of people that use cannabis.

Cannabis is being shown to be a way to get off of other types of drugs like opiates.

It's not an easy yes or no answer, but generally much safer than other types of recreational drugs out there.

From @Ashley_Logic.

"How exactly does marijuana help cancer, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma?"

Specifically for cancer, many people think that cannabis products can reduce tumor growth, and the clinical studies on that are quite mixed, actually.

Cannabis has been shown to help with the treatment of cancer and a lot of the side effects that come from chemotherapy and radiation, making you feel hungry which is important to keep your nutrition up, and helping you sleep and relax, which is good for healing, and the nausea that you can sometimes get with chemotherapy.

The glaucoma aspect seems to be more short-term and not really a cure.

Cannabis and THC does reduce the interocular pressure.

Certainly there are many MS patients that are being helped with specific formulations, you know, under a doctor's care.

From @mikeinmaehia.

"So why is cannabis still classified as a schedule 1 drug out of 5 schedules, 1 being the most dangerous?

Who is obstructing rescheduling?"

This is pretty much just a hangover from the prohibition era.

Schedule 1 means there is no accepted medical benefit, which we know is not true anymore.

The DEA is the one that controls the scheduling, and the FDA has purview over all the food and drugs in the United States.

Currently they're sort of pointing fingers at each other and saying it's, you know, one or the other's fault.

But it is important to remember that rescheduling down to a different number on the scheduling scale is different than descheduling, which is removing it altogether from the scheduling scale.

In my opinion, it would be better to deschedule altogether.

If you have it on the numbered schedule scale, that pretty much limits it to pharmaceutical and prescription applications only.

And there are also legal and social justice issues that are wrapped up in the scheduling system versus removing it from that list altogether.

From @fat1bear.

"Why does weed turn purple?"

These purple molecules are due to molecules called "anthocyanins".

A lot of plants produce anthocyanins when they are in cold environments.

Anthocyanins are also known to be UV protectors.

So when there's too much sun, these anthocyanin molecules can absorb some of that extra UV energy.

So often we see more purple plants when it's colder and more sunny, and they can revert to being more green when it warms up again.

But some of it is also due to genetics.

From @riverrockco.

"What's the difference between resin, live resin, and rosin?"

Some people consider resin to be a specific kind of extract of the cannabis plant, but resin can be used as a general term for all kinds of sticky oils or extracts that come from the plant itself.

Live resin is generally agreed upon to be extracted from fresh frozen plant material.

The cannabis plant is grown and harvested like normal, but it doesn't get dried, it gets flash frozen.

And all of that water content and original terpene profile is maintained.

And then rosin is actually just pressed oil from the plant itself.

So there's no solvents, no extraction being done, but heat and pressure being applied to the dried flower buds and the cannabinoids and terpenes and other kind of oily plant molecules oozing out as like a thick, oily substance.

All right, that's all the questions.

Hope you learned something, and until next time.