THC? What’s that?
Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC is one of the many chemical compounds found in our favorite herb. It’s one of, if not the main component of cannabis’ psychoactive effect found in certain strains. To better understand how the magic of THC works in the body, we must first understand its origins.
THC and Cannabis
Cannabis plants naturally produce these things called phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids that plants produce naturally, whereas cannabinoids is a term that can refer to either phytocannabinoids or endogenous cannabinoids, which is a topic for a later time .
Not all strains of cannabis produce the phytocannabinoid THC, while others produce it in abundance. The strains that do produce it, and other cannabinoids, do so by forming these things called trichomes. Trichomes are those awesome little crystals you see on our flowers whenever you open up one of our care packages. Inside of those crystals are various concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavenoids, the latter two being the compounds responsible for the aromatic effects and overall taste of the herb .
Cannabis in its natural environment is exposed to a number of threats, such as the elements, or a predatory species such as fungi or pests, and thus evolved to protect itself . Developing sticky resin glands is exactly the byproduct of that evolution. When female cannabis plants begin to flower, they begin to focus their energy into producing buds, which at the same time creates trichomes! Although cannabinoids, THC especially, can be found in every part of the plant, the highest concentration of cannabinoids comes from the trichomes these plants make during flower.
Why are Trichomes so important?
Discoveries in the recent years have led the cannabis community to understand the trichomes aren’t just a defense mechanism, but the dev center of the cannabinoids themselves. There are 3 types of trichomes; Bulbous, Capitate sessile, and Capitate-stalked trichomes . Stalked trichomes are the ones we can see with the naked eye most frequently. They are the “sugar” that glistens in the light off of each and every magic nug.
Although there are three types of trichomes, they all perform quite similarly. During their growth cycle, the trichomes take in light and convert that UV energy into Cannabigerolic acid or CBGA inside their cell walls. According to Sensi Seeds, CBGA is the antecedent to THC, more so the precursor to THC’s precursor.
THC or Δ9 THC cannot be THC without first being THC-A or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. THC-A is what becomes Δ9 THC after cannabis is exposed to heat, so whenever you light up, there is a chemical process going on inside your herb that is making all of its cannabinoid goodness available for you through your lungs .
How is Δ9 THC beneficial to me?
After cannabinoids like THC become bioavailable, they begin to interact with the human endocannabinoid system. Wait what, cannabinoids exist in humans? Damn right they do. It seems as if cannabis was made for mankind to interact with, as our bodies have a set of receptors that THC and other cannabinoids such as CBD bond to; CB1 and CB2.
Despite being used for thousands of years, Cannabis was not thoroughly understood until the 60’s when THC was first discovered. Since their discoveries in 1990 and 1992, the receptors have been a sought after field of research, as cannabinoids such as THC attach to these endogenous receptors and basically reprogram them to perform out of norm functions .
According to an article published by Doctor Sulak, there has “been an average of more than 2 scientific publications per day over the last 20 years” concerning cannabis, cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system . If that doesn’t speak volumes as to why cannabis is still so massively policed and illegal all over the world, then I don’t know what will, but that is beside the point here; back to THC!
This is incredibly important because the isolation and study of these receptors allow for a greater understanding of how all of cannabis’ therapeutic and holistic effects are administered in the body. Both CB1 and CB2 have been linked to neurogenesis, or the ability to create new brain cells, as well as help regulate the body’s many systems to maintain equilibrium . THC can bond with both receptors, unlocking the feel-good effects of the “high” experienced when consuming cannabis.
THC has also been shown to inhibit anti cancer effects among its other pain relieving, and uplifting symptoms. THC in the presence of tumors creates a condition known as TNF or tumor necrosis factor alpha, the sequence of cell death for tumors . Scientists believe cannabinoids such as THC are the secret to unlocking new methods of treatment for mental and psychological disorders, epilepsy, cancer, spacistity, and so much more, and to honest, so do I .
To me, cannabis, no matter the flavor, is a form of a very mild psychedelic so to speak. It may not seem like it after you’ve smoked for a while, or even in the beginning as each and every one of us has had different levels of endocannabinoids in our body, partially explaining why some people get “higher” than others. It endows its users with a unique experience, and THC itself is mostly responsible for the trip. I am a firm believer in cannabis giving you the experience you need when you need it, having this symbiotic relationship with the subconscious mind, balancing one in the now, as well as regulating the CB1 and CB2 receptors to tailor your experience to the cannabinoids that are both available and needed at that moment in time.
If you are in need of a pick me up, look for a Sativa; something like our Super Kali, will grease your gears and get you going again in a surge of cerebral activity. Conversely, if you are in need of a body high to relax or ease any kind of tension, go with an Indica. Strains like our Death Bubba #1, are highly sought after medicines for pain, insomnia, and anti-inflammation. If you need a mix, Hybrids are the way to go. We have a Hammerhead that is a well-balanced mixture of both cerebral and body sensations.
All in all, THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and the main causator of the highs we enjoy so much. In different quantities it produces different effects, partially depending on the flavor and cannabinoids present, as well as the individual user, whose endocannabinoid system reacts to these stimuli and work magic in our bodies. Without the discovery of THC, mankind as a whole would still be struggling to understand how parts of our brains work, so the next time you blaze up, make sure to thank your higher power for such a magical gift.
1)Phytocannabinoids: An Introductory Guide
2)BEYOND CANNABINOIDS: FLAVONOIDS, TERPENES & TERPENOIDS OF CANNABIS
3)Types Of Trichomes Found On Cannabis
4)Trichomes: The Complete Guide
5)Cannabinoid Science 101: What is THC?
6)Getting High on the Endocannabinoid System
7)Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System
8)Cannabis and the Brain: A User’s Guide
9)The use of cannabinoids as anticancer agents
10)Cannabinoids in health and disease