THC, short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychoactive substance found in cannabis. This is the ingredient that gives us that joyous, euphoric high known the world over. Just mention the word “THC” around weed enthusiasts, and you’re likely to have a host of brand new friends.
That being said, many smokers still have quite a few questions regarding the famous medicinal component, and how it interacts with our body and brain to provide that amazing, indescribable “high”.
Here at Marijuanabreak, we naturally get a lot of questions in regards to all things cannabis, so we decided to share with you some of the most common ones. Without further ado, here is our THC FAQ with 22 of the most common inquires we receive about this amazing cannabinoid.
1) When Was THC Discovered?
THC was first discovered in Israel in 1964 by Dr. Mechoulam. His discovery of THC paved the way for later discoveries, and also earned him numerous honors — including a NIDA Discovery Award in 2011.
2) How is THC produced?
Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is produced by the cannabis plant in the form of a carboxylic acid (commonly called THCA). This acidic form of THC is non-psychoactive, which means that fresh, raw cannabis does NOT deliver a high. When heated (decarboxylated), though, THCA transforms into THC, giving it its psychoactive effects.
3) Does Each Marijuana Strain Have the Same Quality THC?
No – each strain has the potential to produce a specific amount of THCA. The decarboxylation process also plays an important role in the final THC product, and excessive heat can cycle THC into a more thermally stable form (delta-8-THC), which is commonly found in poorly made cannabis extractions.
4) How Long Does THC Stay in Your System?
THC is a “clinger” to fatty tissues; the tissues quickly absorb the chemical when consumed, and then release it slowly back into the blood. In general, standard urine tests can detect traces of THC in your system up to one month after use, though THC metabolites have been detected in hair samples for up to 80 days after consumption.
5) Are Ultra-high THC strains Better than Lower THC ones?
Not necessarily. It really just depends on the reason(s) you are consuming Marijuana. For medical purposes, it is advised to seek strains with a higher level of CBD as this will produce a more mild high. Levels of THC also depend on your tolerance; in contrast to what most people think, some ultra-high THC strains can produce a strong, boring high, while lower-THC strains can produce more interesting psychoactivity (due to their rich terpene profiles).
6) How to Detect THC in Your System?
There are many ways to detect THC in your system, but the most common way is through urine testing. Other methods include hair, blood, and saliva screening.
7) Are THC Urine Tests Accurate?
The major problem with urine tests is that it doesn’t really test for THC, but a different chemical called THC-COOH, which is a metabolite of THC. This compound is produced when the liver breaks down the THC (THC-COOH is actually the chemical that stays in your system and appears on different drug tests).
8) Why Does THC Give You a Euphoric High?
When smoked, THC enters into the bloodstream through the lungs and then to the brain, where it causes the iconic “high” (which usually can be felt within a few minutes).
Here’s how the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains the activity of THC in the brain:
“THC, acting through cannabinoid receptors, also activates the brain’s reward system, which includes regions that govern the response to healthy pleasurable behaviors like sex and eating. Like most other drugs of abuse, THC stimulates neurons in the reward system to release the signaling chemical dopamine at levels higher than typically observed in response to natural stimuli. This flood of dopamine contributes to the pleasurable “high” that recreational marijuana users seek.”
9) Can THC Effect My Baby?
Research indicates that the use of marijuana by a mother during the first month of breastfeeding can impair the infant’s motor development. Research also shows more anger and more regressive behavior (thumb sucking, temper tantrums) in toddlers whose parents use marijuana as opposed to those who do not.
10) Is THC the Same as CBD?
Absolutely not. THC is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana – the compound that produces the “high” effect. CBD is the “second most” talked about cannabinoid in marijuana, but unlike its cousin, it is entirely non-psychoactive (does NOT produce a high). Furthermore, CBD is known to actually reduce or counter the psychoactive effects of THC. (Read more about the difference between THC and CBD).
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11) How Will THC Effect You?
Whether you are smoking marijuana or eating it, the THC will make you feel a little different. For example, you may experience any of the following:
- Pain Relief
- Hunger (serious munchies)
- Red, Dry Eyes
- Dry mouth
- Decreased Body Temperature
- Slow Reaction Time
- Slower reflex time
- Increased Heart-rate
12) Does THC cause Anxiety?
There are several unpleasant side effects of THC, some of which include paranoia and anxiety. THC is known to relieve anxiety in smaller doses, and increase it in larger doses. This is due to the biphasic effects of cannabis, meaning it has opposite effects for low and high doses.
13) How Long Will It Take for The Effects of THC to Wear Off?
The immediate effects of THC are not long, and they tend to wear off significantly within 2-3 hours. However, you may still experience a “lingering” high for several hours after that.
14) Does THC Have Any Long-Term Effects on Your Body?
If you are not a marijuana smoking fanatic, then you’re most probably not going to turn into The Dude from The Big Lebowski. With that said, however, it is important to understand that the long-term effects of THC are not yet fully understood. It is therefore important to consume marijuana responsibly. Only over the last couple of years have researchers begun to explore the long-term impact of THC on our bodies.
15) Is Marijuana Addictive?
Addiction is a very complex topic. It’s possible for people to get addicted to anything that is pleasurable. While marijuana addiction is real, it is certainly a less significant addiction than other substances. Statistics say, for example, that 9% of people who use marijuana become dependent on it, compared to 32% of tobacco users, 20% of cocaine users, and 15% of alcohol drinkers.
16) Will I get a Better High By Eating Marijuana Edibles?
Marijuana edibles are an entirely different experience compared to smoking. When eating edibles, the cannabinoids enter your system through your gastrointestinal tract instead of your lungs. The absorption is slower, and the effects take longer (this is because your body has to process THC through your liver). Once in your liver, however, THC is converted into another chemical called 11-hydroxy-THC, which is more potent and longer lasting (explaining the intensity of an edible high).
17) How to Get THC Out of Your System Fast?
There is no real trick to “getting THC out of your system,” but there are a few practical methods you can use to dilute the amount of THC in your system. Check out an in-depth guide on how to do it by reading our article “The Dilution Method.”
18) I Grow Cannabis, How Can I Increase THC?
In most cases, this depends entirely on the type of marijuana strain you are trying to grow. If your strain doesn’t have the genetic potential of providing high THC levels, you can try as many different methods as you want, but they probably won’t work.
[Want to increase THC levels? Check out our 5 hacks to increase THC when Growing Weed.]
19) I Don’t Feel the THC. What Should I do?
Everybody has a different tolerance level when it comes to marijuana. Some will feel the “high” immediately while for others, it will take slightly longer. To maximize your high, it’s best to try different strains and also different ways of consumption. Please note that it is important to consult with your physician before any intake.
20) Do I need a Medical Marijuana Card to Purchase THC?
Yes. According to federal laws, those who want to purchase marijuana with high levels of THC are required to obtain a medical marijuana card through their state’s Bureau of Health. With that being said, some states have adopted other legal protocols, with nine states (as of 2018) allowing for legal recreational use for adults over the age of 21.
21) What are the Positive Effects of THC?
Apart from giving you a stimulating “high,” THC has actually been shown to have numerous positive effects on both the brain and body. THC is considered a neuroprotectant, meaning it can protect brain cells from damage caused by things like inflammation and oxidative stress. It is also known to promote the growth of new brain cells.
22) What are the Medical Benefits of THC?
Over the years, THC has been found to be an effective treatment for (among other things):
- Pain relief
- Nausea and vomiting
- Decreased appetite
- Sleep aid
- Crohn’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
[We hope that the information above has given you all you needed to know about THC. Got any more questions? Post them on our Facebook page!]