Why is the marijuana industry booming? Why do people see marijuana as a ‘gateway drug’? What makes people so drawn to the plant? Ok calm down, calm down. Truth is, there are many directions to point when these questions come about. However most point in the direction of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, and can you really blame them? As obscure as it sounds, since the recent outspread of marijuana legalization, the marijuana industry has built an entire empire around THC. It’s like Kraft and Brady, but forever. But seriously the potent psychoactive compound is taking the world by storm. From infused drinks, oils, edibles-I mean they’re literally putting this stuff in everything and I am enjoying every second of it.
What is THC ?
Now, this is the fun stuff. THC is what takes you THERE. The ‘highway to heaven’ if you will. As previously mentioned, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol (take your time with that one) is a psychoactive compound found in marijuana. In simpler terms, it’s the stuff that gets you high. But please don’t overlook this element as it is tied to every single stoner story to surface. Let me explain. And I promise I won’t take long. Like CBD, when consumed, THC molecules attach themselves to cannabinoid receptors located in our brain. However these same receptors are located in areas of the brain that help regulate specific body functions. Once consumed, things such as memory, pleasure, coordination and time-perception can all be affected. But that isn’t such a bad thing. Now remember, times haven’t always been like this. As weed has only recently become legalized in certain countries, many are still discovering new aspects about the herb and how it affects our bodies each day.
Effects of THC
Okay so lets be honest, it’s the effects that make the plant popular. Although over the years many have bickered back and forth about the pros and cons of marijuana and how it can either hurt or help your body. Safe to say the ones on the wrong side of that argument ate their words. The psychoactive properties of THC are what make us laugh, energized, euphoric, sleepy and relaxed. Alright people, this is when the writer becomes the professor so please bear with me. Remember those receptors that I was talking about? Like CBD, THC molecules attach to them which ultimately creates an infamous psychoactive effect.
Within the human brain are two different types of receptors, CB1 and CB2. Creative right? CB2 can be targeted when the body may experience a rash or inflammation. But the funny thing about THC is that it causes our endocannabinoids to attach primarily to CB1 receptors. Still with me? Located in the central nervous system, CB1 micro-receptors play a role in regulating a bunch of our neural and sensory features which is why THC ultimately produces a high or sense of euphoria when it is consumed. Alright I’m done with the boring stuff, I promise.
Now to experience these psychoactive effects, the compounds of marijuana must endure a heating process before consumption. Literally every single form of THC on the market has been through some sort of heating process. Popular choices such as edibles contain cannabis butter (cannabis infused butter) which is then mixed into the product and cooked. In addition to this, commonly found marijuana products like oils and flowers are smoked in various ways also. Despite requiring heat and containing THC, top market products such as topicals (creams, lotions, balms, etc..) can’t necessarily get you high. This is due to the fact that these specific products are applied to the skin. Meaning, the product never enters the bloodstream however can have pain relieving effects to the applied area.
Throughout the years, marijuana has made its mark on almost every corner of the globe. Even though the psychoactive effects of THC can be used to fuel arguments as to why marijuana is bad, top selling products such as wax, edibles, bud and oil all contain THC and I don’t believe it’s a coincidence. Even from what I have been seeing lately, it seems like modern dispensaries emphasize the THC count of certain products as a marketing strategy. From your favorite athlete to your favorite songs, I can almost guarantee someone was high at some point.
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