What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is one of the most well-known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It is the primary psychoactive component responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis use —the substance that will make you giggle and forget what you just said. However, THC has many other properties beyond the recreational purpose that make it a fascinating compound with a wide range of potential uses.
Properties of THC
THC is a lipid-soluble molecule that easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain (CB1 and CB2), which are part of the endocannabinoid system of the human body. This binding results in a variety of physiological effects, including altered perception of time, euphoria, heightened sensory effects, laughter and affected cognitive functions. THC also has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antiemetic properties (which means it can be used to treat nausea or prevent vomit).
Methods of consumption
The effects of THC vary depending on the dose, the method of administration, and the individual’s sensitivity to the compound. For example, smoking or vaporizing cannabis delivers THC quickly to the bloodstream and brain, resulting in a rapid onset of effects that last for a shorter duration. In contrast, edibles or capsules take longer to produce effects but can last for several hours. Besides, the THC can be burned and destroyed partially when we expose it to a strong source of heat like a flame or an oven; thus, the amount of THC we consume is different whether we smoke a joint and cook a brownie (where the heat can destroy up to 30% of the THC in the process) or we vaporize it at a lower temperature which preserves a larger percentage of the original amount of THC that the strain had.
Uses of THC
THC has been shown to have therapeutic effects for a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, and muscle spasms. It is also used to stimulate appetite in patients with HIV/AIDS and cancer who experience appetite loss due to their conditions or treatments.
It has potential industrial uses as well. For example, it can be used as a biofuel, building material, or fiber for clothing and textiles. However, these applications are not yet widely used due to legal restrictions and the difficulty of cultivating cannabis for industrial purposes.
THC is also used in scientific research to better understand its effects on the brain and body. It is being studied as a potential treatment for various medical conditions, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and PTSD.
The psychoactive properties of THC had made it a popular recreational drug for centuries, used for its euphoric effects and altered perception. Because there are different types of cannabis and crossbred strains that have different genes and varied percentages of THC and CBD, the recreational uses are also diverse. Some types of cannabis have a bigger percentage of Indica genes that can make you feel relaxed and disconnected and could be used for laid back activities that do not require mental focus. While other hybrids that lean more towards a Sativa inheritance can make you feel uplifted, talkative and hyper focused and are ideal for creative or social activities.
Is THC safe?
While THC has many potential uses, like most psychoactive substances it is not without risks. High doses of THC can produce unpleasant side effects, such as paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations. Regular use of THC can also lead to dependence because our body —that on normal circumstances produces its own endocannabinoids that help regulate many functions of our system —with an intense consumption of THC may stop producing its own as much and therefore we will need the external dosage of cannabinoids to fulfill our body’s demand. In these cases is when some individuals may develop a cannabis use disorder. If you want to learn about dependency and how to fight it, you should check this other article.
It is important to use THC responsibly and understand the potential risks and benefits before consuming it, and above all make sure you are consuming a good quality product with no alterations. For this is that we recommend getting your cannabis products directly from a dispensary or weed club here in Barcelona. These are government approved institutions that provide excellent products and have experienced staff that can advise on any subject related to cannabis. If you are not a member of a club yet, you can apply for a weed club invitation on the website of the club by clicking on “become a member”.
We hope this article proved useful and that a broader understanding of the properties and uses of THC can lead to a better, safer consumption and to happier, healthier users.