In the following article, we’re going to talk about THC and how it works.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the compound found in cannabis or marijuana that’s responsible for the ‘high.’ For many people, THC is responsible for every ‘stoner’ stereotype that they have ever seen in movies or on their television screens. It’s important to understand that cannabis is made up of a variety of different compounds. While CBD and THC may take up the biggest percentage, there is a variety of other important, but lesser known compounds that all have their part to play.
THC is one of the biggest cannabinoids found in cannabis, but it’s not alone. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds which are found in cannabis, and they interact with the receptors in our bodies endocannabinoid system. It’s these reactions to the endocannabinoid system which produce different responses throughout our bodies and brains. There are almost a hundred cannabinoids in cannabis, maybe even more. It’s THC that we’re focusing on for this article.
An Israeli chemist, Raphael Mechoulam, who first isolated THC in 1964. Using Lebanese Hashish, Mechoulam isolated and synthesized the THC compound. It was this early discovery and work which would lead to the discovery of other cannabinoids and also research into the endocannabinoid system and its receptors. You may be surprised to learn that our bodies all produce endocannabinoids naturally. You don’t even need to smoke cannabis!
Cannabinoids are known as secondary metabolites. This means that they are chemicals which the cannabis plant produces that actually have no role in the cannabis plant’s growth. Many people believe that these secondary metabolites work as an immune system for the cannabis plant, helping it to fight off pests, parasites, bugs, and predators.
The easiest way to understand the endocannabinoid system is to image the receptors spread throughout the body as locks, and the cannabinoids as keys to those locks. When the right cannabinoids bind to the right receptors, there is a chemical reaction which unlocks the locks. THC binds to the receptors in our brain and central nervous system, creating a chemical reaction which many people experience as a psychoactive high. There are also many other reactions which scientists are only just beginning to understand.
When you first experiment with THC, it’s important to take it slowly. While different strains of cannabis have different strengths, everybody reacts differently to THC. Some people may find that using THC can have a relaxing and calming effect; other people experience higher levels of anxiety and paranoia. One interesting fact here is that CBD, another cannabinoid found in cannabis, can help lessen the effects of THC. Different cannabis strains will give you different reactions, and it’s important to take things slowly until you understand how your body reacts.
Some of the short-term effects of THC usage may include:
• Pain relief
• Memory impairment
• Increased heart rate
• Dry mouth
• Red eyes
• Slowed perception of time
• “Couch-lock,” or feeling heavy
THC has many medicinal benefits that are only now starting to be understood. There are hundreds of studies being undertaken into cannabis and its health benefits. The rise in popularity of cannabis and the legalization and legalization for medicinal use has been fueling innovation across the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
There are several different conditions which THC may offer some health benefits too. Some of these are:
• Neuropathic and chronic pain
• Crohn’s disease
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis
• Sleep apnea
• Appetite loss
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