What is THC?
“It’s the thing that gets you high.” If you’ve asked about THC, you’ve heard this response. And though that definition is true, there’s more to THC than simply being a magic ingredient.
So, what is THC?
The acronym stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol (and if you just tried to say that aloud for the first time, A for effort!). It is one of at least 85 different chemical compounds found in the resin secreted by the glands of the marijuana plant. We care about THC in particular because it gives weed its psychoactive effects. Put simply, it’s what makes good kush both good and kush.
How does THC work?
THC works by binding to the cannabinoid receptors naturally found in the human body and activating them. These receptors are concentrated in areas of the brain and body associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination, and time perception.
Of course, our cannabinoid receptors can be activated without the addition of THC. A common way to do so is by running for an extended period of time; it’s not called a “runner’s high” for nothing. These receptors act as a balancing system and reward us with good feelings for the hard exercise. Without them, we would be less likely to get back out there the next day. For more information on this process specifically and the endocannabinoid system generally, check out this article on Medical Marijuana, Inc.
When using marijuana to achieve a similar high, THC overwhelms the natural system of cannabinoids and affects the areas of the brain and body these receptors control. This relationship is why we may feel time moving slower than normal or forget why we went into the kitchen after using cannabis; it is also why we can feel happiness and/or relief from smoking a joint.
Everyone feels THC differently
Remember, THC affects everyone differently. For all of its promises of peacefulness, creativity boosts, and relief from physical pain, cannabis can also cause feelings of depression, anxiety, and motor skill impairment.
Much like the system it affects, THC users must also perform a balancing act when consuming it. When used responsibly, THC can provide a euphoric lift to an already healthy lifestyle.