What Is THC? Plus How To Use THC Effectively
Did you know that 12% of the United States population are now regular cannabis users? These days people use the plant for everything from recreational to medicinal therapy. The compound known as THC is often at the center of this experience. There’s no denying that some people have a relaxing, enjoyable time using products with the cannabinoid in them.
However, others experience feelings of social anxiety and brain fog when they use THC. So why is there a discrepancy? To understand why it’s important that we first answer the question, What is THC?
Luckily, we’ve organized this article to provide you with everything you need to know about the substance. In it, we’ll be answering popular questions, and give you some tips on how to use them most effectively. Let’s get started!
What is THC?
THC, which also goes by the name tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of many compounds found in most types of cannabis plants. Specifically, it’s found in resin produced by that plant’s glands. The chemical is famous for providing the high, psychotropic feelings often associated with a marijuana buzz. So how does THC cause this buzz?
Well, it has to do with the unique way the substance interacts with our brains. When THC enters our system it mimics many of the chemicals our body produces naturally in the endocannabinoid system. Specifically, it mimics the chemical known as anandamide. This chemical is responsible for brain communication through the use of neurons.
It also attaches to the cannabinoid receptors that are responsible for feelings of pleasure, memory, coordination, time perception, and movement. Unfortunately, there is a stigma surrounding the usage of THC. When many people think of it, they picture some stoner couch-locked with a bag of Cheetos.
While this certainly encompasses some people’s experience with the chemical, the reality is that many people can function quite normally on THC. Not only that, but it comes with a variety of health benefits, especially for people struggling with painful conditions like cancer, eating disorders, epilepsy, and PTSD.
What Are the Different Types of THC?
Many people make the common mistake of think there is only one type of THC. However, in actuality, there are three main types of THC: Delta 9 THC, 11-Hydroxy-THC, and Delta 8 THC. Let’s start with Delta 9. This is perhaps the most famous THC in the small cannabinoid family. It occurs naturally when you heat THCa (THC in its raw form).
Delta 9 THC provides an intense, euphoric high. However, it can also cause some feelings of anxiety and cloudiness in people, especially those with a low tolerance. The next variant of THC is 11-Hydroxy-THC. This version of the chemical occurs when you ingest cannabis. It takes longer to feel the effects, but when the effects kick in it lasts longer.
This makes it more ideal for people with chronic pain conditions that require long-lasting relief. The final THC is Delta 8. Delta 8 is one of the lesser-known variants. That’s partly because it occurs in small quantities in the cannabis plant. It’s also remarkably similar to Delta 9. Despite these similarities, the two chemicals have different effects.
Many people refer to Delta 8 as diet Delta 9. That’s because it’s a less intense version (usually ½ to ¾ the potency) of Delta 9. However, it also binds with both our C1 receptors and C2 receptors.
This means that it also provides a lot of the same benefits as its popular cousin CBD. As such, Delta 8 is a more ideal version for people who still want to get high, but don’t enjoy the paranoia and anxiety that comes with taking Delta 9. Make sure to check out this article if you want to learn more about the Delta 8 experience.
The Effect of THC on the Body
When THC interacts with our C2 receptor it cause our cells to release dopamine. This in turn provides the user with a sense of euphoria. THC has also been known to stimulate the appetite, making users hungry. This makes it ideal for people with eating disorders, or individuals taking medication that affects their eating habits.
Some early studies even suggest that THC can help fight memory conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. THC can also help with pain tolerance. As such, it can be used for cancer patients and other people with conditions that cause chronic pain. The chemical also interacts with the hippocampus. This is the portion of the brain that’s responsible for forming memories.
As such, heavy THC users often have difficulty remember short-term facts. Since THC affects our movement and causes sedation, it’s important to never operate heavy machinery when you use it.
In some cases, THC can cause hallucinations or other types of delusions. However, this typically occurs when the individual takes an exceptional amount. Typically, the effects of THC can be felt for around two hours. However, some ingestion methods (like edibles) take longer to kick in and last longer.
How Is THC Different From CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s another one of the cannabinoids found in weed. CBD accounts for 40% of the plant’s extract. Even though THC and CBD are chemically similar, they react quite differently. CBD counteracts a lot of the effects that come with THC. CBD doesn’t give you a psychotropic high like THC will.
CBD helps moderate some of the stress and anxiety that comes naturally from taking THC. While THC can make you sleepy, CBD will wake you up. If you want therapeutic benefits like antiinflammation, pain, or anxiety without the high that comes from THC, then CBD is your best option.
How to Use THC Effectively
If you want the most efficient way to use THC, then your best bet is smoking it or vaping it. These methods allow for the quickest absorption since the smoke or vapor is absorbed by the lungs and enters the bloodstream immediately. Unfortunately, this way is also the most addictive. Because the sensation is immediate and usually euphoric, it’s easy to do it again and again.
The reinforcing effect of this can be damaging to people with addicting tendencies. Another efficient method is to use a THC tincture for sublingual administration. This means palace the substance under your tongue and letting it sit there. The chemical is then absorbed by the blood vessels found under the tongue.
This way is efficient because it avoids metabolism by the liver. Instead, it enters the bloodstream directly by flowing straight into the superior vena cava. Similarly, topical solutions are ideal for efficiency. That’s thanks to the fact that they bypass the liver by penetrating directly into the skin.
The final popular method of consuming THC is through edibles or drinks. Unfortunately, this is perhaps the least efficient way to take in THC. Only the THC content from the edible or drink will end up making it into your bloodstream.
Why? The problem lies in the stomach acids. When THC enters your stomach it degrades. So, by the time it reaches the liver, to metabolize, it’s already lost a lot of its potency. So, if you care about efficiency when it comes to THC, then edibles probably aren’t your best bet.
How Much THC Should I Take?
There’s no easy answer to the question, How much THC should I take? That’s due to the variety of factors that influence the result. Here are just some of them:
- The potency of the strain (the percentage of THC in the product)
- The type of strain (Indica or Sativa)
- Age of individual
- Weight of individual
- Tolerance of individual
- How often the individual uses THC
- The method of ingestion that the individual chooses
As such, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how much THC you should take. However, there are some general guidelines that you can follow. If it’s your first time, then you should try not to consume more than five milligrams. From there you can gradually increase to ten milligrams, then twenty. But how do you measure milligrams when your smoking?
Unfortunately, you can’t always do this. Instead, try taking one hit and seeing how you feel. If you want more than fifteen minutes, then you can take another. As you can see there’s a lot of trial and error when it comes to finding the right amount of THC for your needs. However, as long as you stick with it, then you’ll eventually find the amount that works best for you.
Negative THC Side Effects
As we mentioned, anxiety and brain fog are some of the common negative side effects that can come with taking too much THC. Besides, a subtle loss in motor control can make it difficult to move and dangerous to operate heavy machinery. However, other negative side effects can come from prolonged usage of the substance.
Some reports suggest that heavy usage of THC can cause schizophrenia patients to relapse. If you suffer from bipolar disorder, then there’s a chance that THC can trigger manic episodes. However, the biggest health concern comes from smoking the substance. When you smoke cannabis you’re getting the THC, but you’re also getting a lot of other smoke particles.
When you’re a heavy, daily user this can begin to cause respiratory problems. Some doctors believe that heavy THC smoking is directly related to lung conditions like chronic bronchitis in heavy smokers.
It’s not yet clear, but some researchers also suggested that it could cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is typically associated with tobacco smoke. If you want to avoid these negative health conditions, then your best bet is to not smoke them. Instead, use a method like edibles, tinctures, or topical solutions.
What Should I Do If Cannabis Is Illegal In My State?
When the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 passed federally it made all hemp products legal to sell and manufacturer. This means that CBD and Delta 8 THC products are legally everywhere (with a few exceptions). The only caveat is that the hemp products must contain less than .03% of Delta 9 THC.
As such, if you want to purchase Delta 9 THC, then you will need to live in a state that offers legalized recreational cannabis. Or, if your state offers medical marijuana, then you will need a medical marijuana card.
If not, then your best bet is a CBD or Delta 8 THC product. The bad news is that there are three states and territories where cannabis is outright illegal in every form: Idaho, Nebraska, and American Samoa. Other states allow it for medical use, but with limited THC content. Here’s a list of those states:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
If cannabis is illegal, or limited, where you live, then don’t panic. Frequently changing cannabis laws means that legislation is by no means set in stone. With any luck, the substance will soon become legal federally. Until then, it’s best to abide by whatever laws your state has in place.
Want More Content Keep Exploring
We hope this article helped you answer the question, What is THC? As you can see, there are a lot of things to love about the substance. And while THC might not be for everyone, there is certainly a place for it in the lives of the individuals who need it most. As such, if you think you might enjoy the substance, then give it a try.
Whether you’re interested in it recreationally or medically, everyone should consider trying it at least once. Experiment until you find the right combination of products that work best for you. Who knows? You might be surprised by what you find! Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find more topics that you’re sure to love.