What Exactly is THC?  An In-Depth Look

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical compound that is responsible for the euphoric high we get from cannabis.  For most, that sentence sums up all they need to know about the most famous cannabinoid.  As a grower, you might want to dig a little deeper.

A Cannabinoid You Say?

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis.  They interact with receptors in the brain and have a range of effects on the body. Some estimate that there are more than 100 cannabinoids in each cannabis plant.

THC is undoubtedly the most known thanks to its psychoactive effects.

Why Does Cannabis Make Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids have no primary role in the plants development and so they are referred to as secondary metabolites.  If they don’t aid in development, why does the plant make them?  The best hypothesis is that they form an immune system for the plant that helps it to resist parasites and pests.

Why Do We Get High?

THC binds to specific receptors found in the brain and central nervous system. But why do we have cannabinoid receptors in the first place?

Few people know about endogenous cannabinoids like 2AG or anandamide.  These, and others, are our naturally occurring cannabinoids. They are responsible for, among other things, ‘runners high,’ or the feeling of euphoria after physical exertion. This system has evolved in humans just like all our other bodily systems.

This endogenous cannabinoid system is the one that reacts with external cannabinoids (from cannabis) and creates the various effects we experience.

What are the Short-Term Effects of THC?

THC interacts differently with everyone.  We all have our own body chemistry and each plant or strain has its.  Some people become calmer and more peaceful because of THC.  Others find their anxiety increasing. Some strains can bring negative sensations, but another can bring relaxation or joy.

There are common short-term effects, usually felt for a few hours after consumption.

  • Sedation
  • Elation
  • Relaxation
  • Memory impairment
  • Pain relief
  • Dry mouth
  • Hunger
  • Energy
  • Slowed perception of time
  • Irritated eyes
  • Laughter
  • Dizziness
  • Heaviness
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

What are the Medicinal Effects of THC?

THC can help with a number of ailments and diseases such as insomnia, PTSD, chronic pain, cancer, migraines, arthritis, inflammation, Crohn’s, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, sleep apnea, glaucoma, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis. As the nation moves toward legalization, more research is likely.  This can only increase our understanding of THC and other cannabinoids and how we can use them to treat a broader range of conditions.

How to Consume THC

In its raw state, cannabis in non-psychoactive.  Heat is the key to unlocking the chemicals of THC – regardless of ingestion method. Consumption often depends on your needs and purpose.  Research the various methods before deciding what is best for you. Many smoke it, but you can also vaporize it, make a tincture, an edible oil, or other edibles.  You can also use daps and topicals.

Experience is the best teacher when it comes to understanding THC.  Get to know your strains, keep up with research, and always have an open mind.