What is THC?
Throughout its life, a cannabis plant will produce more than 400 different chemical compounds. But the presence of just one of those hundreds of compounds has sealed cannabis’ fate for nearly a century, making it one of the most persecuted plants on the planet.
Years of propaganda surrounding cannabis has demonized THC, and caused generations to avoid this potentially healing compound. Is THC as harmful as we have been led to believe?
What does THC stand for?
THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the primary psychoactive and intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is responsible for the feeling of being high. THC is found in high doses around the reproductive organs, as well as in the resin glands of the bud or flower of the female cannabis plant.
THC mimics the natural chemical anandamide (which is produced in the brain) in structure, altering the function in communication - more about this later.
How THC works
THC is a cannabinoid that works with the body’s native endocannabinoid system (ECS) to produce various physiological effects. Let's explain what this means.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of receptors that interact with cannabinoids to maintain vital functions throughout our body. Studies suggest this system plays a role in regulating stress recovery, protecting our nervous system, activating our immune system response and regulating our homeostatic balance (our overall state of optimal health, function and stability).
The ECS is made up of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2) and enzymes. CB1 receptors are found abundantly in regions of the brain responsible for mental and physiological processes such as memory, cognition, emotion, and motor coordination, while CB2 receptors are found throughout the central nervous and immune systems.
Because humans (and many other animals) have receptor systems that THC binds to, we can reap the benefits of cannabinoids for both health and enjoyment. The interaction between the CB1 and CB2 receptors is the catalyst for health benefits.
As we briefly explained, THC’s chemical structure is similar to the brain chemical anandamide which the body naturally produces. Similarity in structure allows the body to recognise THC and to alter normal brain communication. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid that aids the body in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, memory. Also known as 'the molecule of wonder', or 'the bliss molecule', anandamide plays a vital role within the body.
Health Benefits of THC
THC is the most studied of all the cannabinoids. This research suggests that it has many therapeutic properties which can be utilised in a myriad of clinical applications.
The potential beneficial properties of THC include;
- Pain relief
- Appetite stimulant
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Prevents nerve damage
- Antispasmodic effects to minimize spasms or convulsions, such as those in epilepsy
- Helps minimize vomiting and nausea, making it useful for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
- Antioxidant effect
THC offers potential medicinal benefits for a number of conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, cancer and Crohn’s disease.
Side effects of THC
Unlike CBD, which is safe and well tolerated even at high doses, THC is intoxicating and addictive. It also comes with some prominent side effects, these include:
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Slowed perception of time
- Feeling heavy
- Increased anxiety/paranoia
- Impaired mental performance
- Increased cortisol
There are theories about the long-term effects of THC including psychosis and memory problems, but there is very little concrete evidence to support them. Research is ongoing and inconclusive, and with time, some of the prevailing theories, may be confirmed or ruled out entirely.
Because of its ability to induce mind-altering effects on the user, THC has been classified as an illegal substance in most countries around the world, including the UK. THC can be detected in the body much longer than most other drug compounds (up to 20 hours after ingestion). It's also stored in body fat and organs for three to four weeks. Hair follicle testing may identify THC after even longer periods of time, around 90 days. This can make THC problematic if you undergo regular drug tests at work.
Love Hemp products - the benefits of CBD without THC
While THC certainly offers tremendous health benefits, its mind-altering effects aren’t preferred by everyone. Added to this, THC can remain detectable in the body for weeks, making it unsuitable for consumers who undergo regular drug tests at work.
CBD, on the other hand, can deliver many benefits without inducing its psychoactive effects. Plus, when using CBD vs THC, you won’t be breaking the law.
If you're looking for all the benefits of CBD, without the negative effects of THC, then our Love Hemp range of high quality, zero THC, CBD products are ideal for you. We offer a suitable CBD option for everyone - browse our shop to find out more about a natural and more targeted way of improving your health.