What is THC?
You’ve likely heard the term ‘THC’ before, whether you’re a smoker or not. But knowing that THC has something to do with cannabis is where a lot of people’s knowledge ends.
In this post, we’ll go over the basics of THC, how and why it impacts the body the way it does, and its many medicinal benefits.
What is THC?
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, and it is the chemical compound in cannabis that creates that notorious euphoric high. THC is also a cannabinoid. Cannabinoid receptors are found in certain areas of the body that control thinking, pleasure, memory, coordination, and time perception. THC works by attaching to these receptors and activating them, which impacts a person’s memory, movements, thinking, concentration, coordination, pleasure, and perception of time.
What is a Cannabinoid?
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that are found in cannabis plants that interact with receptors in your brain and body to create different effects. There are many different cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant, but THC is the most widely known because of its euphoric characteristics and abundance.
THC was first isolated in 1964 by an Israeli chemist named Raphael Mechoulam. This marked the beginning of cannabis research and would eventually lead to the discovery of many other cannabinoids and receptors, including endocannabinoids — THC-like compounds that are naturally produced by our bodies to maintain stability and health.
How Does THC Get Us ‘High?’
When THC binds to the cannabinoid receptors that are concentrated in the brain and central nervous system, it produces intoxicating and euphoric effects.
THC’s Effects On the Body
There is a wide range of short-term effects associated with THC — all of which are not experienced by each person or each time THC is consumed. For example, some people may rely on THC to deal with anxiety, while it may make others feel more anxious. These differences happen because of dosage, strain, and each person’s unique body chemistry. This is why it’s recommended to try different strains of cannabis, especially if you have a less than ideal experience with a certain strain.
It’s important to remember that cannabis highs can last for a few hours, but it will eventually wear off. Some of the most common short-term effects of THC on the body include:
- Pain relief
- Memory impairment
- Red eyes
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate
- Slowed perception of time
- “Couch lock,” or feeling too heavy to move
THC’s Medicinal Benefits
There are also a number of conditions that THC can offer benefits for, including:
- Neuropathic and chronic pain
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Sleep apnea
- Crohn’s disease
- Loss of appetite
Be-leaf it or not, cannabis research is still in the early stages, and we expect the research will continue to gain traction and grow to teach us more about the substance — especially as legalization advances and we continue to gain a better understanding of how THC and other cannabinoids can be used to treat mental and physical conditions, and for recreational purposes.