What is THC? We get that question a bunch, and as we continue to cover the cannabis basics, let’s set some THC facts straight.
Almost everyone is familiar with the letters THC. After all, it’s the stuff that gets you high. But whether you’re new to cannabis or a seasoned smoker, there are probably a few things you don’t know about the substance. Let’s dive in!
What is THC?
Simply put, yes, tetrahydrocannabinol — better known as THC — is the substance that causes users to feel high when they smoke, eat, or otherwise consume cannabis. More specifically, THC is a cannabinoid, one of the many chemical compounds found in cannabis that interact with receptors in the brain.
What does THC do?
The receptor system in the human brain is called the endocannabinoid system, and these receptors allow THC to bind to them. After THC binds to these chemical receptors, it is broken down and produces psychoactive effects. It’s important to note that the body also produces its own cannabinoids, including anandamide — the substance responsible for what most runners call “runner’s high.” The effects felt after ingesting cannabis are caused by the same system that produces this naturally occurring sense of euphoria.
How does THC impact the body?
Brain chemistry varies from person to person, and because of this, the effects of THC can cover a vast spectrum. Add in the fact that different strains of cannabis offer different concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids, and the combinations of effects, both physical and mental, become even more wide-ranging. While one strain of cannabis may cause some users to feel relaxed and chill, the exact same strain may cause higher anxiety levels for other users. The good news? Online databases are making it easier and easier to find a strain that delivers the exact effects you want.
Beyond these variations, the short-term physical of effects of THC range from pain relief and greater relaxation to dry mouth, red eyes, and increased appetite. As far as long-term physical effects are concerned, research is still very much in preliminary stages. Much of the conclusive research tends to focus on how cannabis is ingested — smoking can increase cancer risk, etc — while studies regarding mental function or effects on memory have yet to yield concrete proof one way or the other.
There you have it! Our primer on THC is complete. Drop us a line if you have other questions you’d like us to answer!