THC Explained: It’s Benefits and Effects
That’s the real name behind THC, but it also has many medical purposes. With medical marijuana sweeping the nation, one has to beg the question…is THC all its cracked up to be or is it merely a sensationalized drug? We explain!
Much More Than a High
You have certainly heard that Tetrahydrocannabinol is the cannabinoid in marijuana responsible for the euphoric and psychoactive high we are all so familiar with. Believe it or not, the cannabis plant naturally produces over 100 cannabinoids, each with unique effects. Many claim that CBD is the cannabinoid with the medicinal properties, while THC is purely recreational. This myth must be dispelled, as THC has many medicinal benefits as well.
While many swear by the therapeutic benefits of THC for recreational and medicinal purposes, some still believe that THC is an addictive drug that should be kept illegal. We discuss findings from scientific literature, focusing on the medical benefits as well as the potential negatives.
THC is a naturally occurring phytocannabinoid that is a partial agonist of the CB1 receptors, which are contained in the entire central nervous system throughout our body, predominantly in the brain. THC also is a partial agonist of the CB2 receptor, which mostly regulates our immune system.
Plants do not have an immune system, yet they need protection. As a result, they create cannabinoids, which provide various antibacterial and antiviral properties. Our body naturally produces our own endocannabinoids, which are similar to tetrahydrocannabinol in the sense that they also bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Believe it or not, the cannabis plant does not produce Tetrahydrocannabinol directly, but rather starts by creating the cannabinoid CBGA. Enzymes in the plant may react with CBGA to create THCA, which is the cannabinoid with the highest concentration in the plant after cultivation.