Why smoking weed feels different as you age

A recent article in Mic.com highlights the various factors that can change the psychoactive effects of cannabis. For one thing, plain old age affects your reaction to THC and other marijuana compounds. Over time, you can build up a tolerance making it less intense, as your cannabinoid receptor system builds up more resistance. However, other changes over time can happen as well, sometimes having the reverse effect where weed hits you more intensely.

besides just age, other factors can impact how cannabis affects you, including diet, exercise level, stress, and brain injuries. For instance, if your life is going pretty well, blazing a blunt just makes it that much sweeter, but if you're under hard pressure, smoking a toke is likely to multiply that stress - perhaps because it interferes with your brain's normal coping process?

it is also possible to develop Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome - characterized by nausea and chills, caused by being a heavy, long-term stoner. This is a rare condition, but it's weirdly specific for an unlucky few who develop it, especially if they are taking cannabis to fight nausea in the first place.

Our bodies change how we process things as we age.

For instance, both alcohol and coffee drinkers see their tolerance rise as they age, but that's not the whole story. Your ability to metabolize caffeine slows down as you age, so the two effects balance out. At the same time, the coffee stays in your system longer, making it unwise to consume that late afternoon cup if you don't want to disrupt your sleep. Likewise with alcohol, the way your body handles booze alters slowly with age. You feel a stronger effect for a longer time off the same drink after age 65. This is due to a number of factors, such as reduced blood flow and less muscle mass.

So it turns out that cannabis isn't that different. In fact, it might be likely that effects of other psychoactive substances also change over time. We'll learn more as other drugs become legalized, if that happens. So far, Oregon has decriminalized *everything*, so we might see some knowledge on the topic coming from Oregon soon.

Cannabis can both help and aggravate anxiety

The number one area where cannabis can be a double-edged sword is in anxiety sufferers. Cannabis is often prescribed to help with anxiety-spectrum mood disorders and PTSD, as well as to alleviate panic attacks. However, cannabis can also hit some people far too hard, triggering anxiety instead of relieving it. The culprit seems to be extreme sensitivity to THC. Those who find full-on cannabis to be too intense an experience might have better luck with delta 8 THC or CBD.

For the rest of us, our changing reaction to pot at last has an explanation. It's not all in your head after all!