November 04, 2019
3 min read
What Is THC And What Does It Do?
Cannabis is a complex plant with many active compounds. One of the most notable being THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the component most commonly associated with the euphoric high cannabis can induce. But there’s much more to this compound than you might have ever guessed.
How does cannabis work?
Before diving into THC, it’s pertinent to understand the role of the Endocannabinoid System, the Entourage Effect, Cannabinoids, and Terpenes. Our body’s have internal cannabinoid receptors (the CB1 and CB2 receptors) and endocannabinoids that help promote homeostasis, known collectively as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). We produce internal cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) and also process exogenous cannabinoids via our ECS, which helps modulate the regulation a number of physiological and cognitive processes.
Cannabis has more than 100 known cannabinoids, including THC, CBD, CBN, and many more. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that can interact with our brain and body in unique ways. Some create euphoric effects, while others hold wellness properties. As science continues to unravel the intricacies behind cannabis and our bodies, we’re sure to learn more about cannabinoids.
Terpenes are the fragrant oils that give cannabis strains both their smell, and taste — but also play into the effects each strain holds. There are over 100 known terpenes ranging from myrcene, to humulene, and caryophyllene. Each of which changes the strain’s “personality” by providing unique qualities.
The Entourage Effect is the understanding that the various compounds in cannabis — the cannabinoids and terpenes — work together, synergistically to produce the effect. While THC may have a strong euphoric effect, a strain balanced with high levels of limonene may help increase mood, whereas one that contains high levels of caryophyllene may help with inflammation. As the famous saying goes, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
THC: Everyone’s Favorite Cannabinoid
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most commonly known cannabinoid and also the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It’s responsible for the euphoria associated with cannabis and can produce effects ranging from mood enhancement, to pain relief, appetite stimulation, and even sedation.
THC boasts a number of potential medicinal benefits ranging from insomnia relief, to inflammation reduction, staving nausea, reducing pain, and helping with the symptoms of PTSD.
How does THC work?
THC mimics a naturally occurring neurotransmitter, anandamide, which naturally increases our body’s dopamine levels. When THC is introduced to our bodies, it binds to the same receptors as anandamide, stimulating those euphoric effects associated with increased levels of dopamine.
While THC holds a number of benefits, it’s important to note the Entourage Effect. THC isn’t everything — it’s an important factor, but it doesn’t paint the entire picture.
We encourage you to talk to our patient consultants about what THC products may be best for your needs.
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