WHAT IS THC?
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a lipid found in the cannabis plant. There are over 100 known cannabinoids, but THC is the most common active compound in cannabis plants. This is why it has been the most used and studied. Even though there is THC throughout the plant, high concentration can be found in the mushroom-shaped crystals (called trichomes) that form on the leaves.
In nature, trichomes act as a defense mechanism to protect the cannabis plant from sun and wind. The bitter taste also makes it unfavorable to insects and animals. THC and CBD extracts come from these trichomes.
How THC Affect the Body
THC has psychoactive effects. When it enters the body, THC attaches to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and triggers the release of dopamines. This stimulates the body’s response to pleasure. This is the “high” feeling everyone associates with marijuana.
The effects can vary in sensation and intensity. THC can cause relaxation, even euphoria, but the psychedelic effects can also cause hallucinations and paranoia.
Benefits of THC
Even though THC is known primarily for its psychoactive effects on the brain, it has a lot of therapeutic effects.
- Pain Reliever – Even an FDA-approved trial has confirmed THC’s effectiveness for pain relief. Studies prove the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of THC by blocking pain signals from being sent to the brain.
- Stimulates Appetite – Studies show that these “munchies” happen when THC interacts with the receptors in the hypothalamus that release a hormone. This hormone, called ghrelin, causes hunger and to some, even makes food taste better. THC can be very beneficial to those with eating disorders such as anorexia, and can help those suffering from HIV and cancer.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder – THC help relieve nightmares and flashbacks caused by PTSD. Even though more studies are needed, THC seems to interfere with memory processes, inhibiting the feelings of reliving the trauma by PTSD patients. THC also alleviates symptoms, such as anxiety and insomnia, associated with PTSD.
- Relieves Nausea and Vomiting – Studies prove that THC treats nausea in adults and children suffering from chemotherapy. An FDA-approved THC pill (Marinol) has been presccribed to help for treating nausea and vomiting in cancer patients since the 1980s.
- Relaxation to Aid Sleep, Stress and Anxiety – One of the earliest uses of THC is for relaxation. Studies show that it can reduce anxiety quickly and help reduce sleep interruptions and apnea..
- Contains Antioxidants – THC and other cannabinoids are potent antioxidants. These are the same chemicals that help protect the cannabis plant from sun and damage.