THC 101

THC is what causes the high when you smoke marijuana. Short for tetrahydrocannabinol, it is one of the 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis. It was in 1964 that THC was isolated and described for its structure and synthesis at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

THC is the principal psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. Because of its strong psychoactive properties, it has enjoyed a rather controversial fame among the mankind.

THC as a Scheduled Drug

The drug is one of the only three cannabinoids scheduled by the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. It was categorised as a Schedule I drug in 1971 but was reclassified to Schedule II in 1991.

As a plant, cannabis is scheduled by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It is also listed under Schedule I by the US Federal Law under the Control Substances Act. The reasons for these are having no accepted medical use and lack of accepted safety.

Chemical Structure

Chemically, THC is represented as C21H3O2. It has 21 Carbon atoms, 30 Hydrogen atoms, and 2 Oxygen atoms. Chemically, THC is similar to the human body’s own cannabinoids. This similarity allows them to interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body.

Psychoactive Nature

THC is the principal psychoactive component in the cannabis plant. That is to say, it is because of THC that the human brain experiences an elevated state of emotion on smoking marijuana. This happens because THC binds with the Cannabinoid 1 receptors in the brain producing a sense of euphoria.

Medical Effects

THC, along with some other cannabinoids of cannabis has been studied to have certain medical benefits. Primarily, THC is used for symptom management and treatment of:

  • Muscle Spasticity
  • Pain
  • Insomnia
  • Low appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea

Side Effects

Like is the case with most medicines, it can cause temporary side effects such as:

  • Dry Mouth
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • Red Eyes
  • Memory Loss
  • Problem in Coordination
  • Slower Reaction Times

These side effects occur due to the psychoactive properties of the compound. Some studies also reveal that long-term use of THC can have psychiatric effects. The effect on the brain is found to be more profound for teens. High consumption increases the risk of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia.

How does THC interact with the Human Body?

THC interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body. According to studies, the ECS plays a prime role in regulating stress recovery, protecting our nervous system, regulating our homeostatic balance, and activating our immune system response.

The ECS is made up of two things.

Cannabinoid receptors

which are present in the central and peripheral nervous systems and also in the immune system.

Cannabinoids

that the human body naturally produces. They are called endocannabinoids.

The endocannabinoids fit into the ECS receptors and help carry messages among cells. THC works in much the same way. When the human body is induced with the drug, it temporarily replaces the endocannabinoids of the ECS and because of its own chemical properties produces different effects.

Some of these effects include the release of dopamine which, in turn, results in feelings of relaxation. Some bodies showcase physical responses such as increased hunger and reduced inflammation. In other cases, the effects are on various regions of the brain such as the frontal cortex (that controls thinking and decision-making), the hippocampus (that controls the memory), and the cerebellum (that controls the physical movement and coordination).

Research on THC

First isolated in 1964, the current research on THC is slow owing to the illegal status of cannabis in many countries of the world. The funding and material supply for research is allowed but heavily restricted. One instance is that of the United States where the National Institute of Drug Abuse and Drug Enforcement Administration regulated the sources of cannabis for researchers until August 2016.

In a study in 2014, the American Academy of Neurology found evidence supporting the effectiveness of the cannabis extracts in the treatment of certain symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. However, more firm evidence is needed to account for its efficacy in treating other neurological disorders.

Choosing THC for Medicinal Benefits

The research on THC tells us that the drug can be used for purposes and benefits other than recreational. Although the status of its carrier, cannabis, continues to remain controversial, regions that do allow the use of medical marijuana do so on the level of potency.

Potency is the amount of THC (or any other constituent, for that matter) present in a cannabis product.

The effects of THC vary from one human body to another. When choosing THC for medicinal purposes, in addition to its potency, the amount and method of consumption are also taken into account. This is to be combined with personal factors such as age, gender, health history, and previous experience with cannabis.

A Word from Its Hemp

Consumption of small amounts of THC produces effects such as creativity, arousal, heightened happiness, relaxation, more sociability, and increased hunger. At the same times, consumption of large amounts of THC can produce overwhelming effects of unpleasant and harmful nature. Its Hemp recommends that you consult your physician before trying medicinal THC. Do carefully examine the labels of any products you buy. Stay educated. Do your research. And do not go overboard with its use assuming better effects with high consumption.

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