Our perception of time can often be distorted, and this is often the case when it comes to cannabis usage. It’s interesting that this is a common shared experience of cannabis users, but how much proof does it have from a scientific point of view? It’s an experience that many will have when using cannabis, so let’s explore what research has been done to prove that this is a valid phenomenon.
The Science Behind Cannabis
D.Cyril D’Souza of Yale University, conducted a study to find out more about this common experience that so many users of cannabis tend to feel. The researchers administered between 0.015-0.5mg of THC intravenously to 44 people. These individuals were then placed in several placebo-controlled studies that asked them to estimate time and the production of tasks in seconds. As a result of this study, the subjects were consistent in their display of time and that they overestimated how much time was spent in these environments, as well as the underproduction of said tasks. With the internal clock sped up, the perception of time becomes distorted.
Brain chemistry might be the reason behind cannabis affecting the user’s perception of time. THC into the brain can cause an increase in the production of neurotransmitters. This is also the case when it comes to glutamate. As a result of this, glutamate is partly responsible for how we perceive time and that feeling of time moving faster. However, this is rather a theory, than anything concretely proven.
What Factors Influence This Time Distortion?
D’Souza’s same research on time distortion also mentions that there could be varying factors that influence time distortion in cannabis users. The study found that this time distortion was particularly stronger with those who rarely consumed cannabis and that for those who used it more frequently, didn’t show much difference in their time perception, regardless of the level of THC that they had in their system. Thus, this points to a certain tolerance, and if you have more tolerance towards cannabis, it seems the effects of time distortion aren’t as likely to occur. Another theory is that a regular user of cannabis has had their own internal clock re-calibrated accordingly so that the effects aren’t felt. As the body is used to using cannabis on a regular basis, the body has cleverly adapted the internal clock to continue as normal.
There may also be some influence on the environment and the activities that the individual is doing and how that might affect their perception of time. However, with the lack of research and studies done on this topic, there are still perhaps other influences that have yet to be explored fully.
What Are The Consequences of Time Distortion?
When it comes to the consequences of time distortion, it really comes down to what you’re looking for when it comes to the reason for your usage. If you’re working from home, for example, and plan to use cannabis for the first time, you might find it hinders your efforts to get things done, whereas a regular user, might use it to help remain productive and motivated. There are also particular activities that users may use it for in order to help enjoy the time that they’re having at that moment. It may be the reason for those who are creative in music or artistic environments, to use cannabis in order to achieve more with the time they have available.
For those using cannabis, it might help prolong conversations and experiences you’re having, like going to a party, for example and feeling as if it’s been hours when it’s only been five minutes. With other day-to-day tasks, there might be dangers to this time perception, especially when it comes to being out on the road or in a public environment that may present some form of danger to you or others. It’s therefore important to be aware of your surroundings and that you’re not putting yourself at risk.
Users of cannabis on a regular basis may wish to microdose in order to help bring back that time distortion. As it doesn’t seem to have much effect on regular users, those who are wishing to benefit from time distortion may lower their usage or abstain from using it for a period of time to get that psychological effect back.
There are limitations to the studies due to the legalities of cannabis and to what sample sizes are available, as well as those willing to participate in the study. As time goes by, hopefully, there will be an increase in studies to further explore the factors that influence this time distortion in a user’s brain.
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