Marijuana usage has become less taboo in the United States over the years. There are active calls to decriminalize weed usage, and the president has recently pardoned all federal offenses of marijuana usage. As the vocabulary around cannabis culture subsequently enters the mainstream, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) is no longer an obscure word. While we all know about the psychoactive properties of THC, here are some interesting tidbits about the wonder chemical that will leave you intrigued:
THC Led to the Discovery of a New Brain Signaling System
Tetrahydrocannabinol binds to receptors in your brain that alter your perception and cause its characteristic high. However, these receptors were first discovered thanks to THC. Scientists at St. Louis University used cannabinol-derived compounds to discover new receptors – which they named cannabinoid receptors – in rat brains in 1988.
Further research led to the discovery of anandamide, a compound naturally present in our body that binds to cannabinoid receptors and keeps you happy and blissful. More research implicated the role of this system in pregnancy, pain management, memory, and appetite. Several drugs target this system for various disorders, such as obesity. THC research has improved our understanding of the human body and has led to several medical advancements!
THC Has Several Types
You might think of THC as a uniform compound in cannabis, but that’s just delta 9 THC. THC has several other forms, including delta 8 THC and delta 10 THC. These three types – isomers in scientific language – only slightly differ in their carbon bonding but have very different properties.
Both delta 8 and delta 10 are less psychoactive than delta 9 THC. Delta 10 is even less potent than delta 8 and causes a head buzz, not a full body high. Delta 8 can cause a high but does not cause the anxiety associated with delta 9 usage.
THC Can Be Sourced From Transgenic Yeast
The primary sources of THC are hemp and cannabis, so mass production of THC requires the cultivation of cannabis on a large scale, which requires significant land and is a complex and time taking process, as you must wait for the plant to grow and mature before extracting THC. With advances in biotechnology, it is now possible to get THC from yeast. Scientists can genetically modify yeast to produce THC in a process called pharming.
THC Can Modulate Health
THC has several positive delta 8 thc and adverse health effects. It can lessen pain and may have anti-cancer properties. THC use can also help with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. However, THC can also be dangerous, so don’t self-medicate. Instead, ask your doctor if it is suitable for you. Vaping or smoking THC recreationally causes anxiety and distorts your thinking. Excessive usage may make you paranoid, lower your inhibitions, and lose touch with reality. It also damages your lungs and makes you susceptible to lung cancer and emphysema.
The science behind tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient of marijuana, is quite interesting. It has several chemical types, each having distinct potency and biological effects. It is no longer exclusively sourced from weed – now, scientists can produce it in a lab using yeast. Research on its effects allowed the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. Studying the signaling system furthered our understanding of the pathways in our brains. Remember that THC can cause both positive and adverse health effects, so be informed about the consequences of recreationally using THC and take your physician’s advice before using it medically.