Open Your Third Eye – How Cannabis Affects the Pineal Gland
Known as the original third eye and the anatomical center of our spirituality and consciousness, the pineal gland has been a source of human mystery and fascination for centuries. It is known that the pineal gland is very sensitive to psychotropic drugs. So what happens to it when we use cannabis?
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The pineal gland
The pineal gland, also known as the conarium or epiphysis cerebri, is a small endocrine gland found in the brain of most vertebrates. Functionally, the pineal gland is known for producing melatonin, a hormone that regulates both the circadian and seasonal sleep cycles. Spiritually it is known as the seat of the soul, the third eye and the place where our thoughts are formed and manifest in the universe around us … but more on that a little later.
The name pineal gland comes from its shape, which is very similar to a pine cone. It is a midline brain structure that is located in the epithalamus near the center of the brain and has no pair. It is located in a groove between the two halves of the thalamus. The pineal gland is one of the neuroendocrine secretory circumventricular organs in which capillaries are usually permeable to dissolved substances in the blood.
Another feature that makes the pineal anatomically unique is that the pineal is not separated from the rest of the body by the blood-brain barrier. That is, the pineal gland gets copious amounts of blood directly from the posterior cerebral artery, making it more susceptible to certain substances such as psychotropic drugs like cannabis.
The third eye from a scientific point of view
The idea that the pineal gland is our original “third eye” obviously has some otherworldly connotations, but there is also a scientific basis for this description. The pineal gland is made up of pineal glands, or neuron-like cells, that synthesize melatonin and respond directly to light. Researchers have compared this to the retina of our eyes.
In some cases, scientists have even found holes in the pineal glands of certain fossil species. These holes look just like eye sockets in the back of the skull and allow light to penetrate directly into the brain. Some modern species of reptiles and fish still have a fully functional third eye today. Take the tuatara, a type of New Zealand lizard in the Sphenodontidae family. The Tuatara’s third eye even has its own lens, retina and cornea!
In mammals, there is no evidence of a third eye that receives direct light and is fully functional like a reptile. However, it is known that a mammal’s pinealocytes are directly connected to the retina, which helps regulate our sleep cycles by sending signals throughout the brain when ambient light levels and patterns change. So our pineal gland can be thought of as more of a metaphorical third eye if you look at it from a scientific point of view.
The seat of the soul
The 17th century philosopher and scientist René Descartes was interested in anatomy and physiology, especially the structure and function of the pineal gland. He discussed it in his two books, where he called it “the main seat of the soul and the place where all our thoughts are formed”.
In the Treatise on Man (written in 1637 but not published until 1664) Descartes described these conceptual designs of man, which consisted of only two main parts: body and soul. He believed that the pineal gland was solely responsible for connecting the two. In his book he mentions “a certain very small gland located in the center of the brain matter and hanging over the passage through which the spirits in the front cavities of the brain communicate with those in the back cavities”.
Descartes discovered that the pineal gland was one of the few parts of the brain that existed as a single part rather than half of a pair, and this is one of the reasons why he thought it was so important. Much of his anatomical research has been discredited, but that statement still turns out to be true.
Regardless, despite some errors in Descartes’ research, he was far from alone in arriving at these conclusions about the pineal gland. Many cultures throughout history have coincided with their spiritual meaning, and their activation is the basis for many ancient religious ceremonies, some of which continue to this day.
For example, Hindus place a third eye (bindi) on their forehead to channel the chakra energy. In ancient Egypt, the pineal gland was so valued that it was kept separately during mummification. Even the esoteric tradition proclaimed the third eye as “space between man and God” and urged us to maximize our etheric energy and connect to a higher dimension of consciousness, consciousness, oneness and love in a universe much larger than most of us realize.
According to Dr. Joe Dispenza – DC and bestselling author of Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind (2007) and Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One (2012) of which the Neuroscience of change and epigenetics are detailed – if one activates the pineal gland during meditation, a spiritual awakening will soon follow.
“By squeezing the air we breathe through the centers of our body and visualizing the energy that remains on top of the head, the spinal fluid is pushed up the spine to the pineal gland. This activates the pineal gland and the body and mind transform from survival mode to that of creation. Mystical moments come as a result. “
Where does cannabis come in?
Because the pineal gland is not obstructed by the blood-brain barrier, it is incredibly sensitive to psychoactive chemicals. Although mild, cannabis is by definition a psychedelic, or rather, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a psychedelic substance found in the cannabis plant.
The reason cannabinoids have such far-reaching effects on our bodies is because we are endowed with an endocannabinoid system (ECS) – a set of cells and receptors that serve a variety of different purposes for our general health and wellbeing.
Research in rats has also shown that the pineal gland contains its own functional endocannabinoid system. This particular study found that CB₁ receptor activity varied based on daily cycles, with the lowest levels of activity occurring at the end of the daylight period. It also found that levels of NAPE-PLD, an enzyme responsible for synthesizing new endocannabinoid molecules, were reduced in the middle of the period of low activity. And finally, the study discussed that the presence of THC decreased the activity of another enzyme called AANAT, and therefore the synthesis of melatonin itself.
However, this isn’t the first time a link between AANAT and THC has been discovered. A previous study in rats found that THC reduced the activity of AANAT through the following mechanism: “The neurotransmitter norepinephrine starts a cascade of reactions, the end result of which is the production of melatonin. THC disrupts this norepinephrine cascade and thereby reduces the production of melatonin. “
This would suggest that the pineal gland is very badly affected by cannabis, but there is no research available yet to show us the full extent of it.
Whether you believe in the spiritual functions of the pineal gland or not, we know that this gland is present in most living things and plays an incredibly important role in our physical and emotional wellbeing, the full extent of which is not yet fully known.
We also know that the pineal gland is very responsive to psychoactive drugs, including cannabis, and that further research is needed to uncover the therapeutic potential of these substances, which act with different parts of the brain and body, and the melatonin-producing pineal gland Doing this certainly seems to be an important part of the equation.
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