What is THC?

What is THC

            Throughout the lifespan of a cannabis plant, it produces over one hundred chemical compounds. However, it is only because of one compound, THC that the plant enjoys incredible recognition in the world today.You may have heard of this name before, but may not know more about it. Do not worry as experts from online marijuana store are going to tell you all about it.

            Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the chemical name of THC, which is one of the 133 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, whose marijuana chemical formula is C₂₁H₃₀O₂. The chemical is a secretion by glands of a cannabis plant, in particular, the reproductive organs and the raising glands of the bud and blossom of a female plant where it is highly concentrated. With the plant consisting of numerous compounds, tetrahydrocannabinol is the main compound producing psychoactive properties.

            The discovery of tetrahydrocannabinol came about in the 1960s, through the interest of natural medicine by Rafael Mechoulam, a chemist from Bulgaria. Rafael’s quest was to find out what THC was, a pursuit that earned him the title of the godfather of cannabinoid research. When he started his study, he faced one major challenge also suffered by marijuana smokers of where to get hold of the right amount of marijuana lawfully. Fortunately, his friend who worked with the Israeli police gave him five kilograms, which became the foundation of his research. Rafael successfully became the first scientist to take apart tetrahydrocannabinol compound from the cannabis plant and also identified its structure, its physical and psychological effects and the synthesis of THC.

How does THC work in the body?

            You may be aware of the feeling one gets for ingesting THC, but do you know the process it takes for you to enjoy that feeling? Well, smoking or vaping is the fastest way for marijuana to work. When you take a smoke or a vape, tetrahydrocannabinol gets discharged into your lungs; it enters your bloodstream from here and in a matter of seconds it heads straight to your brain. Within seconds and minutes in the brain you can begin feeling high as, it comes across cannabinoid chemicals that are naturally occurring in the body, and through imitating them, it gets to attach itself to cannabis receptors in your body. Imitating and attaching itself onto cannabinoids is pretty easy for tetrahydrocannabinol as it shares a similar molecular structure as cannabinoids, which aids it to further bind onto neurotransmitters that transport information within the brain. The THC in your blood hits the highest point in thirty minutes and the next one to four hours; you get to experience a wide range of effects. 

            Once it successfully takes up the space of natural cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol begins arousing the brain to release dopamine hormone responsible for good feelings that accompany the “high,” calmness, attentiveness and light-headedness. It also interferes with the functioning of the hippocampus, which facilitates the forming of new memories. In its place, it causes loss of memory and forgetfulness where you find yourself entering a room only to find out that you have forgotten what you wanted in there.

            When the high becomes too much, THC induces side effects that interfere with the euphoria. The results include; changing the formation of your thoughts and hallucination by it interfering with the brain’s processing of information making your judgment to be off. It can cause dizziness; depression and fear by magnifying one’s fears, concern and negative feelings making them appear more prominent and overwhelming. Lethargy and difficulties in movement can also occasion when tetrahydrocannabinol slows down your reflexes. A dry mouth also occurs when the smoke you inhale during smoking burns your mouth, affecting the production of saliva. It should be noted, however, that the side effects just as euphoria hits people differently. 

            THC also spread its effects to the rest of the body by binding with other body systems, bringing other effects other than the sensations experienced with stimulation of the brain. THC binds with receptors in the immune system and utilizes its anti-inflammatory properties to help the system cool down but may also make it lose its effectiveness. Importantly, tetrahydrocannabinol binds with receptors in the digestive system to trigger the release of the hormone that induces hunger and eases nausea. Thus, if you are struggling to get an appetite, tetrahydrocannabinol will have you getting the munchies immediately its effects begin to take a toll on you, and you will start eating any food and snack you come across. On the skin, there are CB2 receptors, which with tetrahydrocannabinol influence, its cannabinoid properties offer therapeutic benefits of relieving pain and protecting the skin without necessarily getting you high.

Risks of Tetrahydrocannabinol

            Just like any other medicine, tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana produces a unique set of adverse effects that puts a consumer at risk. Although these risks are relative to different people, it is worth knowing what you are risking when you take cannabis with high THC content.

            One of the prevalent risks of tetrahydrocannabinol is becoming addicted to cannabis. Studies all over the world concur that regular use of cannabis results in addiction. One in every ten cannabis consumer ends up dependent on the product worst of all, those who start smoking THC as teenagers who experience the biggest challenge. The binding of tetrahydrocannabinol with cannabinoid receptors in the brain means that tetrahydrocannabinol influences the functioning of the brain, altering the brain-reward system making it respond only to euphoria resultant from THC. With time, one faces difficulties functioning without experiencing the “high,” and you end up smoking more marijuana to feel whole. 

            The other risk associated with tetrahydrocannabinol is developing lung problems. When you smoke weed, you do not just inhale the smoke containing tetrahydrocannabinol; you also allow into your system harmful carcinogens and impurities present in the burning cannabis. As a result, research indicates that you begin experiencing respiratory warning sign such as coughing, phlegm and difficulties breathing, which results in conditions such as chronic bronchitis, respiratory failure, obstructive pulmonary diseases, and lung infections.

            There is also some connection between THC and the risk of developing psychiatric conditions. Cannabis is thought to induce schizophrenia, some bipolar diagnoses, social anxiety, and depression. The increasing tetrahydrocannabinol levels in marijuana increasingly stimulate the brain causing momentary disorientation. As a result, an individual feels like they are in a dream while awake; they experience weird sounds, images, and imaginations leading to bipolar and schizophrenia tendencies such as psychosis and hallucination. High THC levels also exaggerate one’s fears, concerns, and worries leading to panic attacks. Moreover, tetrahydrocannabinol acts on receptors in the brain creating a sense of sedation. Thus an individual develops a lack of interest in work, school or hanging out with friends and instead experience profound sadness, tiredness, bad temper and a sense of despair leading to depression.

            Another risk of consuming tetrahydrocannabinol is weakened motor skills. Tetrahydrocannabinol acts on the nervous system creating a rest sensation and affects the involuntary movement of muscles. Consequently, you lose your ability to direct your movement and your limbs react slowly to stimuli or danger. It, therefore, becomes dangerous to handle motor activities such as walking around as you keep falling and getting injuries or driving which can result in fatal accidents. Consumption of large amounts of THC may predispose you to heart diseases. Scientists note that people with heart diseases are likely to develop heart-related conditions such as a stroke or heart attack with the use of cannabis. What does THC do? It exposes the cardiovascular system to danger through its effects such as anxiety and hallucination. The heart rate rises, blood vessels widen, and the heart begins to use more vigor when pumping. Consequently, this triggers a heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest. 

            Finally, the continued intake of tetrahydrocannabinol can lead to a reduced IQ. Research by Duke University researchers found out that those individuals who began smoking weed from teenage years developed a dependency to marijuana, which resulted in the loss of eight IQ points by the time they were thirty-eight years old while adults did not suffer any intelligence loss. Additionally, people aged 13 to 25 years were more likely to suffer from reduced knowledge and ability to express themselves publicly. The situation comes about due to tetrahydrocannabinol binding with cannabinoid receptors and using its control to handicap the process of brain development.

Medicinal uses of THC in weed

            Since the word go, THC’s association with euphoria has made it is easy for people to forget that it can be beneficial for medical purposes. Scientists have concluded that even with its reliance for recreational purposes, tetrahydrocannabinol has innovative properties you can utilize as medicine.

            THC is usable as an anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation is a severe underlying factor that contributes to and worsens different diseases. From depression, autoimmune disorders, autism, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, inflammation causes pain, rigidity and poor health that affect numerous people. Tetrahydrocannabinol plays a significant role in controlling inflammation by decreasing cytokine and chemokines compounds, which trigger inflammation. Also, it helps to suppress genes that determine how the body responds to inflammation.

            Cannabis has the potential to work as a treatment option for cancer. Cancer treatment is the most promising uses of tetrahydrocannabinol in medicine. Several studies have shown that THC has the potential to provide anti-cancer components such as cancer-killing properties. It alters the functioning of cancer cells causing them to eat themselves instead of rapidly multiplying, which reduces the size of cancer tumors and the progression of cancer. Also, cannabis helps to relieve the harsh side effects of treating this disease such as chemotherapy and radiation.  

            THC relieves chronic pain. Relieving pain is the most prominent uses of tetrahydrocannabinol. With dangerous and addictive painkillers flooding the market, tetrahydrocannabinol offers an effective and safe option to the more than 1.5 people in the world living with chronic pain from headaches, arthritis, back pain, multiple sclerosis and pain caused by cancer among other conditions. THCachieves this by activating pathways in the central nervous system to prevent the brain from receiving signals about pain . Also, it arouses the production of dopamine hormone making one feel good and happy instead of pain.

            Tetrahydrocannabinol treats sleeping disorders. Do you have trouble sleeping? Studies show that THC can help to alleviate insomnia, help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep the whole night. The high THC levels currently present in most cannabis strains produces high quantities of sedative effects . These effects help to relax your body and mind, aiding you to escape your mind with a steady knock- out and relieving all your pain causing you to sleep soundly.

            It stimulates appetite by inducing the munchies. When one is high, one develops a hearty appetite making them eat a lot of food. The mental reset can be useful to patients who lose appetite as a result of underlying diseases and emotional stress, which with time can consequence in malnourishment and even death. Conditions such as HIV, eating disorders such as anorexia, hepatitis and dementia can lead to loss of appetite. The consumption of weed leads to THC interacting with brain receptors in the hypothalamus, causing them to produce ghrelin hormone that induces hunger and makes food attractive and tasty. Thus, while munchies can be written off as an irrelevant effect of tetrahydrocannabinol, it helps to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from several ailments.

            The component also treats acne. Acne is a medical condition that presents with pimples on your face due to the buildup of dead skin cells within the skin pores, blocking them and causing inflammation. THC can help to cure them by reducing inflammation. It does so by influencing the receptors in the brain and on the skin to produce anti-inflammatory properties to that lessens swelling giving you a smooth membrane . Tetrahydrocannabinol also controls the overproduction of oil in the skin that blocks the skin pores. It cools the sebaceous gland, making them when producing sebum oil to work bit by bit and thus, reducing the amount of oil produced.

            THC also promotes the growth of the brain. The consumption of THC does not only give out psychoactive benefits, but it also stimulates brain growth. Tetrahydrocannabinol works by trigger the CB1 receptor in the brain and causing it to undergo the process of potentiating for an extended period. Through this process, the brain accentuates its ability to adopt new information. Also, it influences the functioning of the hippocampus causing brain cells to expand, as well as, maintain memories.

Concentrations of THC in cannabis

            How much THC does your favorite smoke, vape, oil or edible contain? Your answer may be as right as anyone’s; you do not know, as the only quantity of tetrahydrocannabinol content you know is from reading the total amount of tetrahydrocannabinol labeled at the back of the products you consume. However, will help you understand the concentrates of THC. 

            The quantity of THC in marijuana has evolved over the last decades with marijuana strains with high potency flooding the market. In a study of over six hundred samples of weed used for recreational and therapeutic purposes, the content of THC has risen exponentially. In the 1990s, tests on several strains of marijuana showed that their level of tetrahydrocannabinol was at about 3.7 percent, which was considered extremely weak. The low quantities were because of among others improper storage of the product, poorly cultivated crops and testing products that had overstayed. By 2013, there was an increase in the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol to about 9.6 percent in marijuana and 16 percent from a female marijuana plant.

            Today, most marijuana has a high content of tetrahydrocannabinol ranging from 10-20 %, which has made it reasonable to find marijuana plants with a concentration of over twenty percent and higher with others hitting the 30% mark. You should note, however, that a marijuana strain with a 30% THC content is alleged to be insane and according to federal scientists inaccurate as apparently, the average THC content should be about 15 percent. However, stronger strains do exist with a maximum concentration of 28% to 34%, which makes them stronger.

            The concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis depend on various aspects. One is its exposure to air and heat. When you choose your weed, the way it will hit you depends on how you consume it. Raw marijuana does not make you high as its structure does not conform to that of cannabinoid receptors in the brain. However, upon heating it in a process known as decarboxylating, various carbon groups that inhibit THC molecules from attaching to receptors disintegrate. As a result, you have a highly potent THC weed. THC concentrations are also influenced by where the cultivation of cannabis sativa takes place. Research indicates that marijuana strains grown indoors are prone to be richer in concentrates, flavor, color, and texture as compared to weed grown outdoors due to the climate and conditions of growing. Other factors include genetics of the strain, the process of harvesting and preparing it and the time of harvesting.

            One type of cannabis that has low amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol is hemp. Hemp use is for industrial and medicinal purposes that do not require a high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol more than the 0.5 percent it maintains but, requires a high percentage of CBD. Currently, the lowest level of THC in cannabis is 0.3 percent with the highest being 34%.  The method of consuming weed known as dabbing is considered the best way of consuming marijuana with high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol. The dapping method of consumption extracts oils and other cannabinoids from a cannabis plant by heating, boosting the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol in the strain. Vaping is another method of consuming THC. Inhaling of vapor also ensures you enjoy 90 percent concentration of THC from the plant as it creates a superior high and happiness .

            Among the most potent tetrahydrocannabinol, dominant marijuana plants include OG Godfather, which is an indica strain with a concentration of 34.04 percent. Super Glue hybrid strain, has a level of 32.14 percent, Strawberry Banana strain has 31.62% THC while Venom OG Kush has a level of 31.04 percent. From the list, it is clear that strains of weed grown in the California region, with an ideal climate and an established breeding ground, you are likely to harvest the most potent cannabis strains. 

Conclusion

            Cannabis has grown to become the popular illicit drug in the world, with millions of users. The growing approval, accessibility, and utilization of this product have attracted numerous studies with Rafael Mechoulam being the pioneer. His work, which has been reviewed and build upon over the years discovered the most essential and potent compound, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is widely known by many including marijuana consumers as one of the ingredients in marijuana. However, most of them lack information on what it is and what it does. THC is the most psychoactive component of cannabis which has been in use for recreational purposes for the last fifty years. Its effects start seconds to minutes after entering your lungs and before moving swiftly to the brain through the blood canal, where it imposes its dominance by inflicting various effects. Scientific evidence collected over the last few years has indicated that tetrahydrocannabinol has surprising benefits to its users. Such include, relieving swelling in different parts of the body, aiding in the treatment of cancer and acne and alleviating chronic pain, sleeping disorders, and lack of appetite. Also, it may promote the growth of the brain! What a compound full of goodness. Despite these medical benefits, concerns over risks associated with THC have been on the rise. Smoking cannabis and the subsequent inhalation of THC impairs the proper functioning of the lungs causing respiratory distress, heart leading to heart attacks or stroke and motor skills increasing cases of car crashes. It also reduces one’s levels of IQ, puts the mental health of consumers at risk while leading to addiction. These threats are severe and cannot go unnoticed. Concerns have increased over the potency of tetrahydrocannabinol, which is believed to be the primary contributor to the risks faced by users. On average, the THC content of different strains ranges from 7% to 34 %. However, the concerns should be limited as the effects one experiences depend on the amount of marijuana you consume. So, next time you light up, vape or enjoy an edible, put in mind the therapeutic magic the THC is offering you and enjoy the buzz comfortably.

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