When describing varieties and california medical marijuana card online, growers always come across the abbreviation THC, subconsciously guessing that the higher its level, the stronger the effect of this or that cannabis variety. This article aims to expose this concept from a scientific, medical and perhaps practical perspective.
What does the science say?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, is a cannabinoid and the main active ingredient in cannabis leaves and buds. Maximum concentrations are observed during the flowering period, especially before the harvests. A definition that requires another.
Cannabinoids are a group of chemical compounds of natural or chemical origin. Being fat-soluble substances, they accumulate in the brain, lungs and other internal organs when ingested, then enter the bloodstream. Marijuana inflorescences contain more than 60 types of cannabinoids (such as CBD or the equally famous CBN), but it is THC that has the psychoactive effect of activating the cannabinoid receptors.
Cannabinoid receptors are a class of cell receptors that bind to cannabinoids-CB1 and CB2. The highest concentrations of CB1 are located in the brain and spinal cord. They can also be found in the heart, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, all endocrine organs and fatty tissues. These receptors, in turn, are components of the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is a universal signaling structure that provides control over such physiological body functions as:
Regulation of the nervous and immune systems;
Energy metabolism and reproduction;
The medical potential of tetrahydrocannabinol
Analgesic effect. By acting on the center in the brain responsible for pain sensation, THC suppresses spasms, cramps, etc;
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe reaction to an event that has shaken a person to the core. It manifests as sudden stupor, heart palpitations, paranoia, and insomnia. The THC here affects the nervous system, relieving the patient’s symptoms;
Nausea and vomiting. Cannabis and the THC in it is excellent for dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy, affecting the nerve center located in the brain;
Appetite stimulation. THC is useful when it affects certain areas of the hypothalamus, helping to bring the taste buds back to their normal state and induce feelings of hunger;
Eye ailments. This item seems odd, because one of the side effects of cannabis use is dry eye syndrome. However, here THC plays the role of an eye muscle relaxant, again relieving pain;
Cannabinoids can also be produced synthetically. A prime example is Marinol and its European counterpart Cannador. Its active ingredient is an artificial analog of the natural THC. The former contains up to 99% synthetic THC and is used in the US as an appetite stimulant and to relieve nausea and vomiting after a painful chemotherapy procedure and for HIV-infected people. Like any medical drug, Marinol shows both positive and negative effects: it stimulates appetite while causing severe drowsiness and rapid addiction.