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What is THC? Uses, Side-effects, And More

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For a very long time, people have used the cannabis plant as both traditional medicine and a recreational product. The plant's therapeutic properties are progressively coming into focus as we learn more about it. With each passing year, we learn new information about medical cannabis and Sativa Effects from ongoing research.

Since some cannabis-related products are legal, there has been a lot of talk about them. In this article, you’ll learn about: THC’s: effects, types, historical background, chemical structure, legality, potential side effects, what the future has for it, and more.

So, What Is THC?

Let's begin with the obvious: what does THC stand for?

THC is an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol.

If you would like to learn more about THC, here are some interesting facts. It is a cannabinoid molecule in cannabis that has long been shown as the primary psychoactive component or the one that gives hemp users a euphoric experience. Additionally, controlled research has shown that THC may also have other medicinal benefits.

Where Is THC found On The Plant?

There are different male and female plants in the Sativa genus. The female plant's flowering parts contain the majority of THC. You can learn about What Is Delta 8 here. THC content is lower in the leaves and male plants, while it is virtually nonexistent in the stalks and seeds.

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Chemical Structure: THC

Although the chemical formula for THC describes multiple isomers, the term THC usually refers to the Delta 9 THC isomer with the chemical name tetrahydrocannabinol. THC has a carbocyclic structure with 21 carbon atoms and is often made up of three rings: benzene, cyclohexene, and tetrahydropyran. THC, like other strong secondary metabolites of plants, is a lipid present in cannabis. There is no nitrogen in cannabinoids, But they include oxygenated aromatic hydrocarbons.

So What Does THC DO?

The endocannabinoid system in the human body naturally produces some cannabinoids. Similar to neurotransmitters, cannabinoids send signals throughout the nervous system. These neurotransmitters impact the parts of the body. THC may function by binding to cannabinoid receptors present throughout the brain and nervous system.

THC may also activate particular cannabinoid receptors that boost dopamine release. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. In doing so, THC may have an impact on sensory perception.

Varieties Of THC

Scientists have identified several THC isomers over the past few decades. Delta 9 THC is the most well-known THC substance discovered in cannabis. Different THC isomers, such as delta 8 THC and even delta 10 THC are also available today. In plain words, isomers are substances with the same chemical formula but a different arrangement.

New pharmacological qualities are frequently associated with this new structure. Cannabis plants have six different main forms of THC: THCA, Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, Delta 10, THCP, and THCV. Let's take a look at them one by one:

What Is THCA?

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is the most prevalent naturally occurring non-psychoactive cannabinoid and the acidic precursor to tetrahydrocannabinol(THC). THCA does not successfully bind to the CB1 or CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system due to its big, three-dimensional form. Because it can't fit, THCA hinders you from having that enjoyable experience.

THCA demonstrates strong neuroprotective action that should be taken into consideration for the management of the body.

THCA has minimal side effects. It's likely that THCA will cause a similar response if you are sensitive to THC. You can explore more here THC vs. THCA.

Here are a few typical side effects THCA may have:

  • Dry mouth (cottonmouth)
  • Red eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Delta 9 THC

Delta 9 is the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. Since delta 9 THC makes up the majority of the THC present in the cannabis plant, it enjoys the privilege of being referred to as "THC." 

Cannabis plants naturally create delta 9 THC. Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) is the precursor of several cannabinoids, including delta 9 THC. CBGA then undergoes conversion into tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), the acidic precursor of THC.

THC is formed from THCA through a process called “decarboxylation”, which is a chemical process that removes one carboxyl group from cannabis by using heat and light. This gives it the ideal structure to bind to the CB1 receptors found throughout our central nervous systems and our endocannabinoid system (ECS), providing the familiar elevated experience.

The effects of delta 9 THC come from its partial agonist activity at the cannabinoid receptors CB1, which are mostly found in the central nervous system, and CB2, which are primarily expressed in immune system cells.

What does THC mean? What does THC do? Is THC a chemical? And THC effects are discussed in detail in the article.

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Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 THC (Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol) is a chemical molecule that occurs naturally in cannabis Sativa. Because the plant contains only a trace of delta 8 THC, it is often synthesized in high concentrations from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).

Among hundreds of cannabinoids, delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 8 THC) has swiftly gained increasing popularity among cannabis product users. Delta 8 THC is an isomer or chemical analog of delta 9 THC. Since delta 8 THC's structural differences cause it to have a lesser affinity for the CB1 receptor, it has a lower psychoactive potency than delta 9 THC. Delta 8 will give you a euphoric feeling.

Another factor contributing to delta 8's increased popularity is that, unlike severely restricted THC, Delta 8 is legal in the majority of states. This is because it is mostly generated from hemp-derived CBD, which is legal to grow in the United States. Thanks to the farm bill some forms of THC are legal under federal law.

What Is Delta 10 THC?

Delta 10 THC is one of several hundred cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis. Delta 10 exists at such minuscule levels that extracting it from natural strains would be a waste of labor and plant material. Similar to delta 8, delta 10 is frequently produced using CBD that comes from hemp.

You can learn more about Delta 10 vs. Delta 8 here.

Delta 10 has the ability to stimulate you because it is a kind of THC. It is stated that a delta 10 effect is less potent than delta 9 or delta 8 since it has a reduced affinity for attaching to CB1 receptors. People have talked about it being a head buzz rather than a full-body high.

According to a number of studies, delta 10 THC has some negative side effects. However, you won't experience any adverse effects if the dosage is administered correctly and precisely.

What Is THCP?

THCP, also known as delta 9 tetrahydrocannabiphoral, is a cannabinoid that shares many features with THC and is present in extremely small amounts in medical cannabis.

THCP interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the same way that THC does, but with a much higher affinity for cannabinoid receptors. The study discovered that THCP binds to CB1 receptors up to 33 times more frequently than traditional THC, implying that THCP is potentially up to 33 times as potent as THC.

We don't yet fully understand what benefits THCP has for you and your body.

Before we can state with some assurance what THCP can do for you, more research needs to be done.

What Is THCV?

THCV or tetrahydrocannabivarin is a compound in cannabis that provides a distinctive range of impacts and health advantages that distinguish it from other cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

THCV is a special type of cannabis that may be used therapeutically.

Due to its shorter molecular chain and reduced interactivity with receptors, studies indicate that THCV does not have psychoactive effects at low doses. At lower doses, it functions as a CB1 antagonist, inhibits THC from binding to the CB1 receptor, lessens psychoactivity, and perhaps makes more work with insulin.

Historical Background Of THC

Many cultures have used cannabis for thousands of years. It was initially utilized in China for food and clothing purposes, according to historical records. For thousands of years, people have been aware of the hemp plant's curative powers. Cannabis was prescribed for a wide range of health issues as early as 2800 BC and was included in Emperor Shen Nung's pharmacopeia. After some time, hemp was transported to Europe and then the Americas, where it was utilized in rituals and for recreational purposes.

Over the past century, there have been ups and downs in cannabis's popularity. In addition to being utilized for a variety of medical conditions, it was also increasingly being used recreationally in the 1930s and 1940s.

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Is THC Legal?

Hemp crops had been farmed for industrial purposes in the early history of the United States, even by George Washington, before it was used as a recreational drug. But the hemp industry in the United States was finally put out of business after the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act was passed.

Cannabis was listed as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 and it became unlawful to consume, sell, or possess cannabis in the US. However, various states have passed their own legislation that frequently runs counter to the federal viewpoint. And, as a result of being exempted from the Controlled Substances Act by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, several cannabis products, including hemp, are now legal to produce and sell. However, anything that contains 0.3% or more of the psychoactive compound delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is still recognized as illegal at the federal level.

THC Vs. CBD: What You Have To know

As the legalization of hemp and other cannabis products expands, customers are growing more interested in their alternatives. THC and CBD are receiving the most attention

CBD is a cannabinoid found in medical cannabis. It has the exact same chemical structure as THC: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms with a slight difference in how the atoms are arranged. Although it resembles THC, it has no psychoactive effect. You may read more about the distinction here.

CBD and THC may have numerous medicinal advantages

Possible Negative Consequences Of THC

Consuming cannabis results in an improved sense of relaxation and well-being over the psychoactive threshold, as well as an enhancement of everyday sensory experiences. However, a person who consumes THC may encounter a few transient side effects. 

The Prospects For THC

The only way to forecast the future is to create it. With the inescapable positive shift in policies and a record-high majority of Americans in favor of legalization, the cannabis sector is set to rocket to new heights in the coming years.

Cannabis is authorized for medicinal purposes in 35 states and the District of Columbia in the United States, 16 of which allow adults to lawfully consume it for recreational use as of April 2021. And that figure may climb further, as more individuals support the notion of legalizing cannabis across the United States.

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Final Thoughts

All kinds of cannabis are derived from the dried flower buds and leaves of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN) are the main cannabinoids present in the plant, which also includes at least 104 additional cannabinoids and 750 distinct compounds.

The main psychoactive cannabinoid is THC; it may be obtained by smoking cannabis. It's also available as oils, edibles like our Delta 8 Gummies, tinctures, capsules, and other forms.

Disclaimer: Information found in this post is for informational purposes only. Always speak with your lawyer for any questions regarding state medical cannabis laws, medical marijuana, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

author avatar
Clayton McCall

Clayton is a Senior Content Specialist, researcher, and holistic healthcare practitioner. Having been in the supplement industry for more than 15 years, Clayton brings a wealth of experience to the delta 8 space. His publications include alternative therapy, stress and coping, and alternative health.


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