Whether it’s your first time getting high or the 500th time, you’ve more than likely heard of THC. You probably recognize it as the active ingredient in cannabis. But you might not know exactly what it does, how it works, or even what THC stands for. Never fear, what follows is a quick primer on what THC is exactly, and how it works.
THC is an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that makes you high. That boost of energy when you eat a breakfast bar laced with Mayan Gold? That euphoric, calm wave that comes when you smoke a crystal-laced Blue Dream blunt? That’s all from THC. The hard to pronounce ingredient acts like the cannabinoid chemicals made naturally by the body. Cannabinoid receptors are located in certain parts of the brain associates with memory, pleasure, coordination, sensory, and temporal perception, which is why getting high can leave you feeling pleasant, disoriented, sleepy, uninhibited, or any number of outcomes.
A lot of people want to get high as fuck, so they focus on the THC levels in weed. The thinking is high THC stronger high. But that’s even more reason to balance intake. Strains that are too high in THC can have an adverse effect on the person using it, triggering paranoia when relaxation is preferred. There’s no way to predict when this will happen, but if you’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia or anything even close, be very careful about how much THC is in your cannabis.
THC is one of the many compounds found on the resin produced by the marijuana plant. It’s closest cousin is CBD, short for cannabidiol, which does not produce a psychoactive effect. THC stimulates brain cells to release dopamine, while simultaneously interfering with the part of the brain that processes information and forms memories. THC is powerful. It can elevate mood and produce euphoria, but it can also exacerbate anxiety, trigger paranoia, or induce sedation or hallucinations.
THC can be ingested in almost any way you can think of it, to enjoy pot. It’s combustible, so it can be smoked, but it can also be used recreationally or medically in syrups, edibles, tinctures, lotions, and balms. It’s recreationally legal in some 11 states at the time of this writing, and its’ legalization is up for grabs. THC should be used in collaboration with CBD in order to tamp down the effects of too much THC. The two work in concert to offset each other. THC makes you feel high, CBD increases energy and relieves stress.
THC boasts a myriad of health benefits. It can potentially increase appetite in eating disorder patients, helps with pain relief, and is said to even help neurodegenerative diseases, like cancer, and Alzheimer’s. THC provides that much needed boost to patients suffering from depression, and anxiety. It’s not without side effects, though. It causes temporary effects like dry mouth, red eyes, memory, loss, anxiety, coordination problems, and increased heart rate. However, THC has as many outcomes as there are strains.
I recommend to micro dose strains with high THC content to better understand its effect on your body. Strains with too much THC can cause difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, vomiting, and more unpleasant stuff no one likes to talk about in polite company.
The legality of THC, like all the different parts of the cannabis plant, exists on the margins of a society with ever shifting norms and decisions. 15 years ago, having a tiny bit of pot on you if you ran a foul of a police officer would get you 15-20 in certain circumstances. Today, you probably wouldn’t even get a blink your way. So, it’s a pretty safe bet that in a few years, everyone will look back and laugh at the years when we hemmed and hawed over the legality of a natural substance that is proven not to cause death. But for now, remember, it’s illegal under U.S. law. Exercise caution and discretion if you’re in a state where the thinking on this is shifting.
THC is a kick ass star ingredient in the cannabis plant. If you’re curious about how much you should include, I can only say that it’s a matter of desired impact and experimentation. Whether you’re brand spanking new to weed or becoming a connoisseur, THC is key to understanding your relationship with weed.