Although THC has increasingly become a buzzword, many – even smokers – still know little or nothing about the compound.The ‘high’ people feel after using cannabis is no longer news. What may be news is that THC is the chief intoxicator.
Reading on, you’ll discover all the basics about the ‘bad guy’ in your weed – including,
- How it was discovered
- What it does to the mind and body
- Health benefits – surprised? Don’t be, marijuana has some great potential gains
- And more
Before we discuss the details, first things first.
What is THC?
THC, short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is an extract of cannabis – both marijuana and hemp variants.THC is one of over a hundred compounds (called cannabinoids) in cannabis. Yet, the chemical has gained more widespread attention – first, for its ‘recreational high’ and also as the most abounding compound in the plant, after CBD.
THC, which we use to get ‘stoned’ is naturally designed to help fend off viruses, bacteria, parasites, and related natural predators from the cannabis plant.
THC – the Genesis
Although THC sounds new, Rafael Mechoulam, touted the grandfather of cannabinoid research, discovered the compound way back 60s.Rafael, like researchers today, encountered a challenge: obtaining a sufficient amount of cannabis legally.Interestingly, Rafael got 5 kg of hash, gifted him by the Israeli cops. This led to the groundbreaking discoveries of one-time-called “evil weed.”
Mechoulam is reported as the first researcher to extract THC from cannabis. Some proponents say Rafael’s research was most likely born of his outstanding interest in green medicine – not for recreational purposes.His studies on medical cannabis unveiled the many therapeutic potencies of weed – an interesting shift from an earlier all-recreational perception.
THC and its effects on the mind and body
Perhaps, you know how it feels after lighting up your weed. But that’s surface knowledge. The biochemical processes are more complicated.During inhalation, – smoking or vaping – THC enters the blood and then into the brain, almost immediately.The compound mimics internally-occurring cannabinoids and attaches itself to the body’s natural receptors.
These receptors are usually found in areas responsible for coordination, thinking, pleasure, memory, concentration, coordination, motor movements, etc.When THC binds with the receptors, it performs anandamide’s functions, which is, promoting the secretion of more dopamine.You know all the good vibes feelings when smoking? That’s what dopamine does.
So, the more you smoke, the more dopamine released, the ‘better’ you feel.These feel-good vibes could make so much sense that they tamper with your short-term memory. Have you ever dialed a contact, said hello and suddenly forgot why you called? Yeah, it’s more common after smoking.
Research say THC tampers with our hicampus – memory’s powerhouse.Excessive consumption or use of high-THC strains may cause other adverse effects like anxiety, paranoia, fatigue, depression, dizziness. Physically, high doses may help for pain relief, reduced motor, appetite boost, dry mouth, etc.
Health benefits of THC
THC offers more than just ‘high.’Research shows that beyond the recreational effects of cannabis, the plant may come in handy medically. Among the many reports, here are some interesting health benefits of THC.
The munchies’ feelings are no joke. While this may be a side effects for many, it’s a lifesaver for patients of HIV/AIDS, cancer, and related terminal diseases.
- Anti-inflammatory properties
THC may have high anti-inflammatory potentials – many times more than Aspirin and even Hydrocortisone.
- For Pain Management
THC may help curb muscle spasms. With appropriate doses, this could be the most effective pain reliever you ever used. In studies, the compound has recurrently shown remarkable promises against mechanical, chemical, and thermal pain activators.
However, note that the effects are not fixed. They vary across users and depends on factors including sex, weight, dosage, strain, THC-use history, and other user-to-user factors.
What determines your pot potency?
Simple – THC
The potency and duration of your high widely depends on the strain’s THC profile and your preferred consumption route.If you seek standard high-potent weed strains, 20 percent THC concentration, or higher, is a good fit.
Interestingly, eating raw cannabis leaves won’t get you high. The high comes after heat application – also known as decarboxylation.The Decarboxylation process removes a carbon group that inhibits THC from interacting with the right receptors.
Two typical ways we decarboxylate is by vaping and smoking.
Bong, joint, hookah, blunt, hand pipe, and bubbler are common ways to enjoy cannabis. Smoking is widely thought the most common pot consumption method. Besides being a fun way of consuming cannabis, it’s also the fastest-acting option.
Smoking sends up to 60 percent of the herb’s THC content into the blood plasma, which gets into the brain in seconds. Although smoking hits hard and fast, the effects leave soon.
Vaping is a fast-growing trend, particularly among youngsters and health-conscious users. These portable devices generate heat, just enough to release the therapeutic properties of cannabinoids, including THC. since combustion is not involved, there are far fewer harmful toxins and other health fears associated with burning.
Interestingly, vaping helps you absorb as much as 95 percent as against 12 percent with your regular cannabis smoking.
Butane hash oil contains as much as 80 percent THC. Vaping this can be so much a headrush. For this, vaping high-THC cannabis should be for experienced THC users.
Of course, oral cannabis offers a more potent and longer-lasting buzz than vaping or smoking.
The liver processes eaten cannabis. During the digestion process, THC converts to 11-hydroxy-THC, a compound that penetrates the brain-blood walls faster and easily, offering a unique effect from regular THC.Conversely, vaporized or smoked cannabis bypasses the digestive tract and hence does not deliver the 11-hydroxy-THC.
Although eating marijuana delivers low potency – only about 10 to 20 percent – the high may stay for as much as 10 hours.To know more about cannabis, read up our learn session or visit Canadian Governement website.