Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)


THC, the chemical responsible of marijuana’s psychoactive effect

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible of marijuana’s psychoactive effectf. It acts much like the cannabinoid chemicals produced by our body. This is what the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says.

Cannabinoid receptors of human beings are located in certain areas of the brain. These areas are related with our thoughts, the memory, pleasure, coordination and the way we perceive the time. When we consume cannabis, THC gets attached to these receptors and they activate them.

THC is one of the several compounds we can find in the resin of our cannabis flowers. It is produced by glands located in the female reproductive organs. But it is not the unique compound found in cannabis. There are more, named cannabinoids that aren’t psychoactive. Probably the most known is CBD (Cannabidiol). CBD is not psychoactive and it blocks the effect of THC. Doing this is like a balance between the psychoactive and non psychoactive effects of the marijuana.

THC. How does it affect you?

 It stimulates some cells in the brain to produce dopamine, which creates euphoria, It also interacts with the way information is processed in the hippocampus, which is the zone of the brain responsible for forming new memories. 

THC can produce hallucinations and delusions. Normally, the effects can last about a couple of hours. You will feel the “kick” few minutes after smoking it. Psychomotor alteration could continue affecting after you feel the high has stopped.

“In some cases, reported side effects of THC include elation, anxiety, tachycardia, short-term memory recall issues, sedation, relaxation, pain-relief and many more, However, a study done by the British Journal of Pharmacology found that other types of cannabinoids, as well as terpenes can modulate and reduce negative effects” said A.J. Fabrizio, a marijuana chemistry expert from Terra Tech Corp, a California based agricultural company which works on medical cannabis.

There are dozens of cannabinoids in a cannabis plant, but THC is most widely known among them because of its large quantity and euphoric effect.

The isolation of THC was made by Raphael Mechoulam, a Dr in Chemistry in Israel. In 1964, Mechoulam isolated and synthesized THC from Red Lebanese hash. He marked the beginning of cannabis research. Thanks to this study many other cannabinoids were discovered. And not only cannabinoids but the cannabinoids receptors throughout the body and “endocannabinoids”that are a THC – like compound that is a compound similar to THC that our body produces in order to keep our organism healthy.

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