What Is THC & Why Can’t We Get Enough of It?
Hardly has any substance caused such controversy as THC in recent years. Now that cannabis is being more and more demystified and we are getting closer to its federal legalization, positive opinions on THC are gaining attention.
But what is THC, why is it so loved by some, yet, at the same time, many oppose its legalization? The first association is, naturally, the desired “high” effect. You can’t get high from the cannabis plant unless it has the proper quantity of THC, and it’s a fact.
Nevertheless, new THC benefits for our health are being researched as you are reading this, bringing it under the spotlight and furthering the legalization debate. The specific connection between cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and many others) is one of the most intriguing areas of research at the moment, so we shall pay it due respect.
Currently, the market seems pretty saturated with THC products, yet more are appearing every day, in almost all the forms you can imagine. In this way, THC is made available to a wider audience, trying to satisfy every niche. What’s more, its concentration can vary quite a bit across different strains.
Therefore, let’s get to know THC a bit better and see for ourselves if it really is the “bad boy” as it is represented to be.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is just one of over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
It is produced in the plant’s resins and its mission is to protect the plant from predators, environmental stress, and UV rays. However, for humans, it is vital to know that THC is a kind of a cannabinoid which has the power to naturally connect with cannabinoid receptors inside our own bodies and provoke a certain response.
Our own cannabinoid system spreads through our whole body (brain, glands, organs, immunity cells) and it is called “a bridge between the body and mind.” When tetrahydrocannabinol attaches to these receptors, it affects our mood, thinking, memory, enjoyment, coordination, and perception.
Cannabis has fueled creative minds throughout history. In spite of marijuana’s obvious effects, which people have been making use of for millennia, one of the two most interesting compounds responsible for its vast popularity was not discovered until the 60s.
The first person to isolate and discover THC is an Israeli organic chemist, Raphael Mechoulam, aka the father of marijuana. Unveiling the THC chemical formula (C21H30O2) took lots of research, one trip to the police station, and 11 pounds of hashish. Interestingly enough, even though CBD and THC are all the rage now, they were not nearly as intriguing to the public before the 60s.
What Does THC Do?
THC is not the only psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant, and this is not its only function. As we have already explained, it connects with cannabinoid receptors to produce the desired effect, but there is more to what is THC than meets the eye. Speaking of which, its looks are also important.
If you were to look at the chemical structure of (–)-trans-delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC, you would notice it is very similar to a brain chemical called anandamide. It is this similarity that makes our brain recognize THC as something native and familiar and allows it to bind to the cannabinoid receptors and activate them. What does THC do then? Well, something pretty interesting.
Firstly, it connects with G-protein-coupled receptors, and in this way, to CB1 receptors, too. CB1 receptors are found all over our body, which explains for the profound effect THC has on us. Basically, there are just so many “switches” all over our body that THC turns on and changes our behavior, motoric skills, and information processing. It may even cause acute psychosis, though the THC molecule is more associated with activating the brain’s reward system which releases dopamine; the same response can also be triggered by sex and eating.
That way, THC can be of help in fighting insomnia, different types of pain, seizures, Alzheimer’s; it inhibits the division of cancer cells, reduces nausea, increases appetite… It is difficult to name all of its effects as new research with new evidence of its usefulness is published daily.
THC is not without side effects, however, and these include paranoia, anxiety, tachycardia, memory loss, dry mouth, red eyes, and sleepiness. Nevertheless, the individual experience depends on a group of factors, from the person’s overall health to the levels of THC and CBD they are taking and the frequency of usage.
How to Use THC
THC-infused products are numerous, but perhaps you haven’t grasped just how many different options exist out there. Namely, they are mostly advertised as cannabis or marijuana oil, for example. Of course, it is possible to have these with only traces of THC (such as 0.3% in oils extracted from hemp), but here we have sorted out the following under one condition only – they can give you that specific feeling of euphoria.
- THC oil – It is usually sold as cannabis oil, and it is not to be confused with CBD oil, which may or may not contain THC. The oil is usually taken sublingually and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so it’s best to be cautious about the dosage and always read the label stating the THC percentage. Moreover, THC oil can be sold in the form of capsules or suppositories.
- THC vape juice – This one is known by other names, too, such as THC e-liquid or e-juice. You can feel the effects almost instantly, but the side effects (vomiting, paranoia, anxiety) are possible, too. The vape juice usually contains highly concentrated THC and little CBD, so there is hardly anything to limit THC’s full effect.
- THC gummies – There are other edibles on the market (cookies, chocolate, hummus, lollipops), but THC and CBD gummies are beyond popular right now. As with other edibles, it’s vital to be patient. Their effects can kick in up to two hours, so it’s best not to overeat. Once the high starts, there’s no going back, and it will be a potent one since it will be metabolized by your liver. Therefore, you’re in for a stronger THC impact compared to smoking a joint.
- THC tincture – It is similar to the oil and you can also take it sublingually, or add it to your favorite dish. Depending on how you take it, you’ll feel the effects instantly or later on. By the way, swallowing the oil (as opposed to the sublingual method) is similar to consuming THC edibles, but the effect is not as long-lasting.
- THC pills – They are preferred by physicians and patients alike. First, their dosage easily adjustable, and secondly, they are very convenient (discreet) to take. Also, you’re avoiding the sugar and fat in edibles, while the effect is similar. The common THC microdoses are 2mg, 10mg, 25mg, or even 100mg per pill. Have in mind, though, the pills or capsules can be a tad pricey.
- THC wax – This is one of THC concentrates that is very popular but also easy to manipulate and abuse, so it has become a health hazard in some areas. Teenagers are keen on it as it can be easily molded (disguised) into whatever you wish, i.e., a lip balm. The danger lurking is the fact this is a potent THC concentrate (54% on average), equal to smoking 15 to 20 joints. THC wax can be eaten, smoked, or applied to lips, gums, or even eyelids.
- THC topicals – As opposed to the rest of our list, THC topical will not get you high, despite the THC content. Creams and lotions are skin-absorbed, so you will only feel the health benefits without the high. THC is anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-oxidant, and antispasmodic.
- Smoking a joint – Finally, the most obvious way of getting high from THC is to buy and light a joint. Still, do bear in mind some alternatives, such as using a THC vape pen, are less harmful to your lungs.
There is one more way of consuming THC, but we deem it deserves a section of its own.
THC Crystals for Maximum Effect
Smoking THCA crystalline is perhaps the most powerful way of consuming THC. In case you really wish to experience the most overwhelming high of your life, then this is what you should try out.
The cannabis industry has made space for lots of research on how to produce the strongest concentrates, and THCA is precisely that. It is one of many cannabinoids found in the plant and when extracted, it takes the form of white crystals. A lot of people call THCA by the name THC crystals, but strictly speaking, it is THCA that you are heating, not THC.
What you get by burning meth-like crystals is pure THC. In contact with fire, THCA molecules endure a reaction which gives us THC free of any terpenes or CBD. Because of that, the final product has no aroma or taste. Some companies even go as far as to produce 99.9% THC, but the average concentration is around 80%.
What is THC in these crystals going to do if we eat them instead of burning them? Well, it’s not going to get us one bit high, that’s for sure. The crystals are THCA, which is a completely non-psychoactive cannabinoid. For it to transform into THC, you always have to expose it to a very strong heat source. Otherwise, THCA (or THCa, as it is often spelled) is said to help with inflammation, anxiety, pain, and neuroprotection.
CBD vs THC
In a way, we could say these are the best of friends. At first glance, they couldn’t be more different, yet they seem to function perfectly together. So, what is going on, exactly?
THC is well-known for its psychoactive impact, whereas CBD does not possess this quality. Furthermore, studies show that CBD inhibits THC’s power to give us a high effect. On the other hand, it appears that by doing so, it allows for THC to exhibit its medical properties better.
However, the THC vs CBD differences are not just about CBD being the “good guy.” If it weren’t for THC, the powers of CBD would not be as strong. This is the reason why it is usually much better to shop for CBD oil which has THC in it, for example. The entourage effect is very much beneficial.
Curiously enough, both THC and CBD have the same molecular structure: 2 oxygen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and 30 hydrogen atoms. However, their arrangement is different, which ultimately makes them very different.
THC Detox That Works
Enjoying your dose of THC is nice and neat, but occasionally, we do not wish to reveal our favorite hobby to a prospective employer, for example. Proper cleansing is what we need at that time, but there are a lot of myths about the process. Fortunately, we’re here to debunk them. Here is what should work for you:
- Exercise – Your goal is to speed up your metabolism, and doing exercise is one of the easiest ways to do so. However, going through a THC cleanse by working out won’t work if you’re on a tight schedule. THC binds itself to the fat in your body, and exercise will set it free into the bloodstream. If you’re in a rush, avoid exercising 24h before the drug test.
- Hydrate – No results are possible without increasing your water intake. Tea and cranberry juice are helpful, too.
- Eat healthy foods – Just like with any other detox, you should avoid junk food and eat more greens, lean meat, and fruit.
- THC detox kit – There are plenty of those on the market. They can be helpful, but they aren’t miracle workers.
- Avoid weed – Finally, for all this to work, it’s absolutely necessary that you stay away from consuming cannabis in any form.
Ideally, you should begin the process some 4 to 6 weeks before the drug test, depending on how often you use it and the test type Only in this way can you be certain you are THC free.
To sum up, THC does not live up to its dubious past reputation one bit nowadays. What is THC famous for today? It’s still making us super relaxed and exhilarated, and perhaps even more so now with new technologies helping us to get even 99.9% THC concentrates. Furthermore, its health benefits are beginning to emerge. Studies show it can reduce pain, nausea, help patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and plenty of others, especially when joined with its “brother in arms,” CBD. Nevertheless, just like there are no two identical “highs,” our body and mind’s reaction to natural or synthetic THC can’t always be predicted.
What is considered high THC?
In the 60s and 70s marijuana was not as potent as it is today. Nowadays, if a strain has 18% to 20% THC, that is taken as a high percentage. The highest THC in a strain is 30%, and we have shown you how some THC concentrate can give you incredible amounts. On the other hand, anything over 0.3% is considered too high if you think about federal law.
What is 10mg of THC equivalent to smoking and eating?
It depends on what you are taking, but let us say that 10mg of THC equals one gummy bear. As for smoking, it takes some calculations. First of all, one average joint should have some 17mg to 21mg of THC, but as you are smoking it, THC tends to get condensed in the back part of the joint, so not every inhale is identical.
What is shatter THC concentrate?
This is a caramel-like type of THC concentrate that is not so easy to smoke, compared to others. THC shatter normally has up to 80% THC. It has to be heated with a butane torch before you can smoke it.
Is synthetic THC legal?
Yes, it is, in a couple of medicines. Drugs containing synthetic THC (called dronabinol) are Marinol, Dronabinol, and Syndros. They are used for treating nausea and vomiting, mostly in cancer patients. What is THC famous for is present with them as well, i.e., they give patients the high feeling. There is an ongoing debate in which marijuana protagonists argue that Marinol side effects (mood changes, drowsiness, nausea, headache, etc.) are too frequent and that health benefits are not nearly as prominent as those guaranteed by cannabis.