Featured Cannabinoid: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Found in high concentrations in those frosty, shimmering trichomes that cover top-shelf cannabis buds, THC is considered the “holy grail” of cannabis-derived compounds. Growers and extraction operations have been searching for maximum THC levels for as long as cannabis science has existed.
It’s time to explore the many ways THC interacts with the human body, such as its potential therapeutic benefits by way of your endocannabinoid system (ECS). We will also delve into the different methods of consumption, products, and dosing considerations that should be taken into account when you first try consuming THC.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): What You Need to Know
So, what is THC? THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, which many associate with delta-9-THC, the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It is the chemical responsible for the euphoric “high” commonly linked to cannabis use. It has been used for centuries for its medicinal and recreational properties, even before it was well understood or isolated from other cannabis compounds.
Interestingly, while it is the cannabinoid most associate with the plant, it’s not as abundant as its precursor, THCA. THCA converts to delta-9-THC with decarboxylation, or heating of cannabis, which removes a carboxyl group. Learn more about THCA in our Cannabinoid Guide.
THC and the Human Body
When you consume cannabis containing THC, THC enters your bloodstream and is carried throughout the body to bind to cannabinoid receptors, which are part of the endocannabinoid system. This fascinating system within the human body plays a vital role in regulating all sorts of key physiological processes, including appetite, pain, mood, and sleep. By binding (either directly or indirectly) to the endocannabinoid receptors designed to interact with the body’s own endocannabinoid compounds, THC molecules can modulate or influence these natural processes, leading to a range of effects.
THC effects can vary depending on the dose, method of consumption, and individual factors like genetics and tolerance. When consumed in appropriate doses, THC can produce a sense of relaxation, euphoria, heightened sensory perception, creative inspiration, pain relief, and overall well-being. It can also stimulate the user’s appetite and reduce feelings of nausea, making it extremely useful in some specific medical applications, such as treating nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite induced by chemotherapy treatment.
Overly high doses of THC, while not a health risk, can lead to more intense effects for someone with a lower tolerance, which may become unpleasant after a certain threshold is reached. The effects of a large dose of THC may include temporarily impaired coordination, memory, and judgment. This can increase the risk of accidents and injuries, especially when driving or operating machinery. Driving should never be attempted under the influence of THC.
MÜV Tip: try consuming CBD to counteract any negative effects from too much THC.
THC Is Just One Cannabinoid
It’s always worth remembering that THC is just one of many compounds found in cannabis. The overall effects of your THC dose will also be influenced by the other cannabinoids and terpenes present in the plant. This medicinal synergy of naturally occurring chemical compounds is sometimes called the “entourage effect.”
For example, CBD (cannabidiol) is another well-known cannabinoid that is lauded for its potential therapeutic effects, such as reducing anxiety and inflammation. It also counteracts the psychoactive strength of THC while working in tandem to stack some of the therapeutic benefits. Some strains of cannabis are bred to have higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC, which can offer a more balanced and manageable experience for those who aren’t looking for a strong psychoactive experience.
THC Facts: An Overview
If you’re a newcomer just diving into the chemistry of cannabis for the first time, it can seem like there is a lot to keep track of.
Here are some key THC facts and concepts to keep in mind:
- Delta-9-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis and is responsible for the iconic “high” associated with cannabis use.
- THC works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, an interconnected system of receptors that plays a role in regulating several important physiological and cognitive processes like appetite, pain sensation, mood, and memory.
- Specifically, THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, “activating” them and triggering neural activity. This can enhance, modulate, or reduce the functions of the endocannabinoid system.
- THC’s interaction with the ECS receptors in the brain also leads to the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This is the process responsible for the euphoric effects of THC.
- THC is found in higher concentrations in female cannabis plants grown for their buds, while CBD is more often derived from male “hemp” cannabis plants.
- THC has been the subject of numerous scientific studies, which have explored a vast array of potential therapeutic applications. These range from general pain relief, nausea and vomiting treatment, appetite stimulation, and addiction management to emergent treatments for other specific conditions.
- The legal status of THC currently varies a great deal depending on the state (or country) in which you’re located. In many places across the United States, THC is now legal for both medical and recreational use, while in others, it remains strictly prohibited; fortunately, Florida patients can access THC for medicinal use.
Potential Benefits of THC
As we learn more about the potential benefits of cannabis and the chemical compounds that give it its magic, it becomes even clearer that THC plays a key role in many medicinal and therapeutic effects. Let’s highlight some of the major medicinal applications for cannabis that have been established by science to date:
There is a great deal of exciting research on the horizon, and it is our hope that humankind can fully understand this amazing cannabinoid someday soon. As with any treatment or supplement, it’s a great idea to consult with a trusted healthcare professional to help you determine whether THC is right for you.
Different Forms of THC
There are many different ways to dose with THC, and each offers a unique experience.
Here are some of the most common forms of THC products you’ll find at our Florida medical dispensaries:
THC Dosing Considerations
When it comes to dosing THC, the best advice is to start slow and be patient when finding what works best for you. Everyone’s body is different, and what may be an appropriate dose for one person may not be the same for another. Here are some general tips for dosing THC:
Know the Potency
Assorted products and strains have different concentrations of THC. In other words, it’s not just about the amount you’re using. Know the potency of any THC product before consuming – this information should be available right on the packaging of any reputable commercial product.
Try a Dosing Journal
Keeping track of your dosing and its effects can help you dial in exactly what works best for you. Note the product, strain, dosage, method of consumption, health or environmental factors at the time, and whatever effects you experienced, both positive and negative.
If writing in a journal sounds too cumbersome, try journaling with Strainprint instead. This app helps to analyze the products most effective for your specific symptoms by assessing your symptom level before and after medicating.
Whether traditional writing or the Strainprint app, the goal is to find the right dose for you—one that provides the desired effects without negative side effects. With a little experimentation and patience, you’ll be able to find the perfect product and dose for your lifestyle and goals.
Top THC FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Unleash the Power of THC - Visit MÜV Today
We hope this guide has provided you with a better understanding of THC and its many potential applications, from helping cancer patients going through extreme treatments to simply helping you relax. As you embark on your journey with THC, make it a point to find the joy in experimenting with various products and embracing the process of finding what works best for you. When you’re ready to elevate your experience to the next level, visit the MÜV Dispensary nearest you for top-quality THC products that are sure to impress.
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- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. National Academies Press; 2017.https://nap.nationalacademies.org/catalog/24625/the-health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids-the-current-state
- Scherma, M., Muntoni, A. L., Riedel, G., Fratta, W., & Fadda, P. (2020). Cannabinoids and their therapeutic applications in mental disorders . Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 22(3), 271–279. https://doi.org/10.31887/DCNS.2020.22.3/pfadda
- Webb, Charles W, and Sandra M Webb. “Therapeutic benefits of cannabis: a patient survey.” Hawai'i journal of medicine & public health : a journal of Asia Pacific Medicine & Public Health vol. 73,4 (2014): 109-11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3998228/
Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.