THC is a naturally occurring compound and the real showstopper when it comes to marijuana. This compound is psychoactive and produces that relaxed, euphoric high that cannabis consumers love. But what exactly is THC and how does it work?
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, called THC for short, is a natural compound found in marijuana that causes the feeling of being high. THC is classified as being psychoactive, which means it alters brain function, mood, perception, and behavior.
Along with the obvious effects that THC has on the mind, this compound offers several medicinal benefits for the body as well. Humans have been consuming THC to experience these benefits for thousands of years.
What does THC do and who can it help?
Whether it’s smoked, vaped, or ingested orally, THC takes effect by crossing the blood-brain barrier and binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body. The fast-acting compound stimulates these receptors and releases a flood of dopamine — one of the body’s primary ‘feel-good’ chemicals.
Along with that euphoric feeling, THC also provides many medical benefits. THC can be used to treat:
- Anxiety and depression
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Nausea and appetite issues
- Skin problems
- And more!
THC products & usage
The cannabis industry is constantly battling to come up with new and innovative ways to get you high. Today, the market is full of vapes, oils, edibles, concentrates, and THC heavy strains to get you as lifted as possible.
The simplest, most obvious way to consume THC is by smoking weed. You can use a pipe, bong, blunt, or joint to set fire to marijuana and produce smoke, which you then inhale. In a similar vein, it’s also possible to vaporizer cannabis. When you use a vape, you are inhaling cannabis concentrate vapor rather than smoke. Many experts believe that, for this reason, vaping is healthier for your lungs.
Some people would rather avoid inhaling anything into their lungs at all, making oils and edibles their consumption method of choice. THC can be extracted as an oil from cannabis plants and placed into pills or tinctures. Then, the compound is ingested orally or sublingually.
Other edibles, like cannabis-infused chocolates, gummies, and baked goods have taken off as well. Many experts estimate that the massive market for edibles will soon be worth over $4 billion.
Potential side effects of THC
While THC’s psychedelic effects are small potatoes compared to other drugs like LSD and psilocybin, it can still take a major toll on someone if taken in too high of a dosage. Taking too much THC can result in paranoia, anxiety, dry mouth, dry eyes, low energy levels, and lapses in memory.
Thankfully, these side effects are not considered permanent and don’t have long-term impacts on your overall health. The long-term health effects of THC have yet to be studied thoroughly though, due to legal regulations surrounding the drug. With legalization on the rise, more studies will hopefully be conducted in the future to give us more concrete answers on the side effects and risks of THC.
Legality of THC
Marijuana and THC are federally illegal in the United States. However, at the state level, laws are changing fast and legalization is rapidly sweeping the nation.
In these states, marijuana is fully legalized recreationally and medically:
- District of Columbia (D.C.)
Along with these states, several nations across the globe, including Canada, Mexico, and South Korea, are also embracing marijuana legalization at various levels. Experts believe that this worldwide trend toward legalization will only continue to grow.
THC is a beautiful natural compound that can relieve tension from the body and mind. Just like with any chemical compounds or medicine, there are some minor side effects and potential risks, so make sure you consult with your doctor. Understand your limits and dosages, and most importantly, stay lifted.