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Why Cannabis Makes You Laugh and Top 5 Giggly Strains

For years, cannabis has influenced major laughing episodes without users knowing why. This was even a problem in the “Reefer Madness” movie. Make sure you learn why cannabis gives you the giggles, especially when hanging with your stoner buds!

WHY HUMANS LAUGH

Robert Provine from the University of Maryland analysed human laughter for his book “Laughter: A Scientific Investigation.” He recorded over 1,200 laugh episodes and the results were surprising. Less than 20% of the laughs were provoked by something considered traditionally “funny.” Most came after remarks like “I see your point” and “Have you heard from Joe?”

He also noted that 99.9% of the episodes did not interrupt the conversation. Almost 100% of all laughing episodes happened in perfect sync with conversation breaks and pauses. This led Provine to conclude that laughter is inherently social. It does not come as a mere consequence of finding something funny. There is a communicatory purpose to laughing and Robert Provine believes it predates speech by many years. Perhaps even millions.

With this, we can conclude that laughter is more than just a response to humour. It’s a primal tool and a foundational block to what we call society. It’s part of the essence of humans as social creatures, giving us the chance to communicate what could not be shared otherwise. Regardless of its origins, everyone can agree that, in general, laughing is a pleasant experience. Not all laughter is necessarily joyful or related to humour, but in most social contexts, laughing is a sign of excitement, fun, and joy.

Understanding so little of what makes us laugh in the first place, it may seem especially difficult to theorise why we laugh when using cannabis. While there is no hard evidence, we can still explore some points that help us better understand this curious relationship.

WHY CANNABIS PROVOKES LAUGHTER

Laughter is associated with the right frontal and left temporal lobes of the brain. Research has shown that cannabis stimulates blood flow to these areas. Although we can’t fully understand how this is responsible for stimulating laughter, it’s a good start. But there are more general factors that will help you understand this phenomenon better.

Cannabis boosts your mood. By the simple fact that it makes you feel generally better, you’ll be more prone to laughing when such a possibility arises. One of the main functions of the endocannabinoid system is the regulation of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These are the two essential mood-boosting neurotransmitters. Cannabis increases the presence of these in the brain and automatically makes you feel what is generally considered as “better.”

Our brain also has neurotransmitters called mirror neurons. These are what make you yawn when someone else does. The same thing happens with laughter. When you see someone else laughing and happy, you’ll generally feel uplifted too. This is especially true in circumstances where you and a friend are both high. Uncontrollable giggles are a very common occurrence.

Nonetheless, this will also depend on a series of factors like environment, company, and most importantly, strain. The characteristics of the bud you’re smoking will have a huge effect on your high and consequently, your giggles.

THE BEST STRAINS TO INDUCE THE GIGGLES

In this list, we’ll be introducing you to 5 strains. These are all great options with strong highs and beautiful buds. But the selling point that makes them appropriate for this article is the mood-boosting effect they have. With these strains, you’ll surely be finding yourself laughing uncontrollably with your friends.

Only two of these strains are sativa-dominant. This is normal as sativas tend to offer a more energetic/creative high, rather than an uplifting and happy one. And in most social contexts where you’ll be enjoying good conversation, you’ll probably be in a comfortable place, which is ideal for indicas.

Being the odd ones out, let’s start with the sativas.

SATIVA-DOMINANT

Sour Diesel is a beautiful flower that deserves all the fame it has earned. This strong strain yields resinous and powerful buds that will certainly satisfy you. Its uplifting high is paired with a deliciously pleasing aroma and flavour. Expect very pungent herbal and sour smells to match its taste. With Leafly’s top 3 strain attributes being “happy,” “uplifting,” and “euphoric,” Sour Diesel will certainly give you the giggles.

Ever wonder why you start laughing hysterically when high with your friends? This article will help you understand this phenomenon and suggest 5 giggly strains.

Why weed makes you laugh, according to science

I reach for cannabis mainly to soothe my anxiety, especially in these fraught times. But some of its other, non-chill effects — such as the giggles — also enhance my experience. If you consume weed, you likely know the feeling: constantly teetering on the brink of laughter, even if nothing remotely funny is happening. When I do notice something the slightest bit funny, I burst into hysterics, especially if I’m smoking with a friend. As a science-minded human who loves nerding out over cannabis’s effects on the brain, I asked experts to help me break down why weed makes you laugh.

Let’s start with what laugher truly is. “Laughing is really a reflex,” like coughing or sneezing, says Timothy Fong, a professor of psychiatry who also helps oversee the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative. “It’s something that can be triggered spontaneously, by things we see and feel.”

When you use cannabis, you enter an altered state in which you perceive time, color, and pretty much everything differently. “That altered state makes the reflex [to laugh] more likely to be triggered,” Fong tells me, not unlike how a cold makes your coughing reflex more sensitive. Cannabis does this partly by boosting levels of chemicals in your body that trigger your laugh reflex, especially dopamine, Fong says. As a result, “things that aren’t funny become funny.”

He notes that cannabis also lowers the inhibition of your laugh reflex — say, in situations that your sober mind would deem giggling inappropriate — by acting on the frontal lobe, responsible for inhibiting behavior. Plus, the binding of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound in weed that makes you high, to the endocannabinoid receptors located throughout your body spurs the release of dopamine and serotonin, “the happy neurotransmitters,” which can also lower impulse control, says Lewis Nelson, chair of the department of emergency medicine and chief of the division of medical toxicology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Also, laughter really is contagious, Fong says, even when you’re sober, which probably explains why the giggles tend to hit me hardest when I use cannabis with a friend. Throw a substance that messes with your laugh reflex into the mix, and “everything becomes a lot funnier.”

In general, the more potent the product — that is, the more THC it contains — the more likely it’ll cause the giggles, Fong says. More THC results in more binding to your endocannabinoid receptors, more neurochemicals being expressed, and “just more noise, like turning your stereo up louder,” he explains. “You’re going to get more intense responses.”

You might’ve come across lists of “top giggly strains,” like Laughing Buddha or Mango Kush, on cannabis websites. But the lack of clear national regulations around strains means there isn’t a whole lot of consistency in the amount of THC, terpenes, and other compounds in plants of a given strain, Fong notes (which has raised questions about the scientific basis of strains as a means of categorizing weed, VICE reports). The levels of these compounds in Laughing Buddha bought in one state might differ from Laughing Buddha bought in another state

What’s more, everyone experiences cannabis differently, which can, in turn, depend on factors like how they consume it, or whether they’re doing so on a full or empty stomach. In other words, one person’s description of a strain may not hold true for everyone, and if you’re seeking out a strain with the express purpose of getting the giggles, it’ll be somewhat of a crapshoot.

The take-home message is that cannabis makes your laugh reflex easier to trigger, and as Fong emphasizes, it’s not a sign that you’re becoming psychotic. The next time I laugh my ass off while watching a nature documentary after taking an edible, I’ll know why.

This article was originally published on July 7, 2020

I reach for cannabis mainly to soothe my anxiety, especially in these fraught times. But some of its other, non-chill effects — such as the giggles — also enhance my experience. If you consume weed, you likely know the feeling: constantly teetering…