How does cannabis affect the Pineal Gland?
The endocrine system is a collection of glands, which secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream to be carried to the relevant target organs. One of these glands is called the pineal gland, this is located in the epithalamus, the place where the two hemispheres of the brain come together.
The pineal gland produces and regulates the body’s supply of melatonin, which is a hormone derived from serotonin. While melatonin is best recognized as the hormone which regulates sleep and therefore the body’s circadian rhythm, it is now at least starting to be recognized as having other beneficial uses, such as offering protection against oxidative stress, which helps in the treatment of gallstones.
Why do psychoactive substances often affect the pineal gland?
It’s long been known that the pineal gland is particularly sensitive to psychoactive substances such as cannabis as shown in this study. This is probably part of the reason why it has developed the reputation of having spiritual properties and why it has long been linked with the idea of foresight. While the issue of clairvoyance is outside the scope of science, what is known is that in humans there is a direct link between the pineal gland and the retina in the eye, presumably so that the pineal gland has information about light levels to help it to regulate both circadian and seasonal rhythms. Of course, in today’s world, where we may have to be out and about working on dark winter days and trying to get to sleep in spite of bright lights all around us, it can be very easy for the pineal glad to get confused and that’s before you add in complexities such as travel, particularly air travel. Because of this, there are times when the pineal gland could use a bit of help, which is where medical marijuana can be so useful. The pineal gland is known to be especially sensitive to psychoactive substances such as cannabis. It is thought that the main reason for this is that the pineal gland is one of the few parts of the brain to get its blood supply directly from the posterior cerebral artery. Most of the brain is behind the blood brain barrier, the function of which is to protect the brain from anything which could disrupt its regular function, such as psychoactive substances.