What is THC?
You’re likely reading this because while you might have participated in a couple passes of a pipe or joint, you might not quite understand what it is about weed that makes you fly. You hear your new stoner buddies (buds?) float around this alien-sounding group of letters, and in your own little haze of cosmic navel-gazing, you might have let fly this one question…What is THC, anyway?
The equally stoned reply might be: “Dude, it’s your cosmic surfboard man. It’s what’s making you coast right now.”
You: “But what do the letters mean?”
Buddy: “Oh, okay. It’s tetrahydrocannabinol.”
Buddy: “Dude, chill. It’s not some weird-ass alien language. It’s good to know this scientific stuff if you plan on taking any more trips, especially if you get into edibles. But let me explain a bit more about how THC works, since you’re a total noob.”
Say your friend explains all of it, but you’re so stoned off your rear that you don’t remember any of it. But that’s what FAQ’s are for: to remind you of what you might have read, but forgotten.
It can take a while to truly absorb this info, so we’ll break it down for you in manageable chunks.
What is THC…. and How Does THC Make Me High?
Our brains are the epicenters of just about everything we do, from behavior, mental health, hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, and smelling and all other bodily functions. Ingesting THC in various forms and quantities, let alone the various strains, is what will determine how weed will affect us, particularly when it comes to memory, coordination, perception of time, thinking and pleasure, because that’s where the cannibinoid receptors are most concentrated in the brain.
Now, here’s the deal. Since there are two main types of cannabis, one being sativa, and one being indica, the effects of the THC on the body, per cannabis type, are going to be different. Sativa is known for being the source of uplifting, euphoric feelings, and tends to be the type of weed responsible for either running around doing chores, or pulling out your guitar and composing music all dang day, to say nothing of writing out-there lyrics (think Pink Floyd & Yes). In other words, sativa is all about your mind.
Indica, on the other hand, is the stuff that’s best used when it’s later at night and you’re aiming to just ‘Netflix & chill,’ or chill out reading on the couch, or you need some decent sleep on the weekend. Put another way, indica’s all about helping your body to relax. It might be helpful, therefore, for people with fibromyalgia, as they tend to have continually tense muscles here and there, and THC is helpful for pain relief, to say nothing of being high.
Is THC The Only Psychoactive Component?
Not entirely, though THC is what cannabis is famous for. There are other cannabinoids, and THC becomes a different type of cannabinoid with different psychological effects once it’s exposed to the air.
Now, What is THC and where does it Come From Again?
THC comes from the reproductive glands of the cannabis plant, usually known as “buds.” THC can also be found in the frosty crystalline formations on cannabis leaves known as trichomes. This is why things like “cannabis caviar,” aka “Moon Rock” are popular, because such a mixture uses both the bud and the trichomes as two of the three ingredients that make moon rock cannabis so potent.
As you might have gathered from your new stoner friends by now, the levels of THC you end up consuming depend on how the plant itself is cultivated. You allow the female plant to go to seed, or in other words, allow the male cannabis plant to pollinate the female, and you won’t have anything worth getting high off of, because the female plant will then use its energy to turn the buds to seed, instead of making the THC.
Why Is The Use of THC for Medicinal Purposes so Controversial?
Apart from the very real issue of propaganda and mis-information, the scientists that are skeptical about using THC to help people often cite the challenges inherent in testing THC’s effects on the human body. These challenges often include the fact that not everyone will react the same way to THC, and different strains of weed have different levels of THC.
So it ends up being up to the people needing the marijuana to figure out what works for them. People end up becoming their own experimenters, their own scientists, and if you hadn’t noticed by now, the ones who have a vested interest (usually financial) in keeping peeps in the “sheeple zone” don’t want people figuring out how to self-medicate. Of course, that’s speculation, but you could say it’s a more than halfway decent hypothesis, based on how long it’s taken certain regions of the US to allow medical marijuana, let alone allow you to get weed for recreational purposes.
In the end, knowing what is THC, how it affects you, which strains have what levels of THC, even how edibles affect you (if you prefer that path to bliss), and so on, and then sharing this info the way your friend—and this article—have shared with you, will probably be the most anti-status-quo, anti-establishment, anti-negative-propaganda thing you can do for yourself and other people. In this way, knowledge is truly power.