THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects.
In this blog article we will discuss many aspects of marijuana use, including how long it stays in your system.
What is THC?
THC is the psychoactive portion of cannabis or marijuana, found within the i.e. the chemical responsible for marijuana’s effect.
It acts in a similar way to the chemical, or cannabinoid, made naturally by the body.
How does THC work?
Cannabinoid receptors are concentrated in certain areas of the brain associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and time perception.
THC attaches to these receptors and activates them, affecting a person’s memory, pleasure, movements, thinking, concentration, coordination and sensory and time perception, according to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
THC is one of many compounds found in the resin secreted by glands of the marijuana plant.
More of these glands are found around the reproductive organs of the plant than in any other area.
Other compounds unique to marijuana, called cannabinoids, are present in this resin.
One cannabinoid, CBD is non-psychoactive and actually blocks the high associated with THC.
What is the difference between THC and CBD?
THC is tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD is cannabidiol. Both are two natural compounds found in plants of the cannabis genus.
THC is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives the high sensation.
It can be consumed by smoking marijuana. It’s also available in oils, edibles, tinctures, capsules and more.
CBD can be extracted from either hemp or marijuana. Hemp plants are cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3 percent THC, while marijuana plants are cannabis plants that contain higher concentrations of THC.
CBD is sold in the form of gels, gummies, oils, supplements, extracts, and more.
Both compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, but they have very different effects.
Both THC and CBD have the exact same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms.
A slight difference in how the atoms are arranged accounts for the differing effects on the body.
Both THC and CBD are chemically similar to the body’s own endocannabinoids.
This allows them to interact with the cannabinoid receptors. The interaction affects the release of neurotransmitters in your brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals responsible for relaying messages between cells and have roles in pain, immune function, stress and sleep, to name a few.
Despite their similar chemical structures, THC and CBD don’t have the same psychoactive effects.
In fact, CBD is a non psychoactive compound. That means it doesn’t produce the “high” associated with THC.
THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain. It produces a high or sense of euphoria.
CBD binds very weakly, if at all, to CB1 receptors. In fact, it can interfere with the binding of THC and dampen the psychoactive effects.
What are the effects of THC on the body?
THC stimulates cells in the brain to release dopamine, creating euphoria.
It also interferes with how information is processed in the hippocampus, which is part of the brain responsible for forming new memories.
THC can induce hallucinations, change thinking and create delusions.
On average, the effects last about two hours, and kick in 10 to 30 minutes after ingestion.
How long does marijuana stay in your system?
How long marijuana stays in your system depends on many factors.
These include how much body fat you have, how often and how much you use the drug, as well as how sensitive the drug test is.
Drug tests can detect THC in the urine, blood, and hair for many days, but saliva tests can only detect THC for a few hours after use.
Things like exercise and hydration levels can also affect how long marijuana stays in your system.
What are the risks of taking THC?
The effects of marijuana make it a popular drug. In fact, it is considered one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in the world.
But these effects also concern mental health advocates.
THC can trigger a relapse in schizophrenic symptoms.
Another possible risk of consuming THC is impaired motor skills. Marijuana may affect people’s ability to drive safely or perform similar, potentially hazardous tasks for approximately three hours after consumption and it is the second-most common psychoactive substance found in drivers, after alcohol.
People taking medical marijuana are instructed not to drive until it has been established that they can tolerate it and conduct motor tasks successfully.
The use of marijuana may cause problems for younger people, and long-term problems.
Some of the side effects of THC include a decrease in IQ, memory and cognition, especially in younger people.
There is some speculation that it could impair fertility in men and women and also compromise a person’s airways, but the studies are still not clear.
A study by the University of Montreal published in the journal Development and Psychopathology in 2016 found that early use of marijuana can affect teens.
Smokers that start around age 14 do worse on some cognitive tests than non-smokers.
The study on almost 300 students found that pot smokers also have a higher school dropout rate.
Those that waited to start around age 17 did not seem to have the same impairments.
What are the medicinal uses of THC?
“Medical cannabis” is a broad term for any sort of cannabis-based medicine used to relieve symptoms.
Marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes for more than 3,000 years.
In early 2017 a report stated that more than half of the US has legalized the use of medicinal marijuana, and several US states have legalized it for recreational use as well.
In England, very few people are likely to get a prescription for medical cannabis.
As of November 2018, it is only likely to be prescribed for the following conditions:
· children and adults with rare, severe forms of epilepsy
· adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy
· pain relief
· people with muscle stiffness and spasms caused by multiple sclerosis (MS).
Medicinally, the only known side effect of cannabis oil with THC (not with THC-A or CBD) is that a patient can get stoned if they take too much orally at once.
If one is just starting with cannabis oil, it is important to build up the daily dose slowly, with one drop more per day.
Starting with large doses right away can cause unpleasant feelings, dizziness or nausea.
In exceptional cases people can even experience panic and a very dry mouth and throat.
If you’ve never smoked pot or been high, this can be a frightening experience. You can feel lost or get hallucinations.
These symptoms usually disappear within a few hours, but this underlines the importance of starting with no more than one drop a day.
Another additional phenomenon may happen is that you feel more emotional than normal.
Cannabis Seems to be looking for the core of the problem.
If that problem is an excess of stress or a trauma this realization may suddenly come up strongly and you may react emotionally.
The best thing is to just let it happen and start dealing with it as soon as possible.
Medicinal cannabis also has a detoxifying effect, especially in the form of cannabis oil.
So you can also get a bit feverish, sweat excessively or get diarrhea.
After all, these toxins are released from your tissues and organs and first have to enter your lymphatic system and the bloodstream before they can be worked out.
Certainly if your body contains too much poison, as is often the case after a long period of medication or chemotherapy, the detoxification process can sometimes take rather violent forms, which also involve vomiting.
But all these side effects usually disappear within a few weeks.
What are the side effects of using THC?
Medical marijuana use is generally considered safe. But different strains of marijuana have different amounts of THC.
This can make dosing marijuana difficult.
Marijuana can cause:
· dry mouth
· dry eyes
· paranoid thinking
· a disconnected state (dissociation)
· increased appetite
Don’t drive or operate machinery when using marijuana.
If you have a mental health condition, use marijuana with caution. Marijuana use might worsen manic symptoms in people who have bipolar disorder.
If used frequently, marijuana might increase the risk of depression. Marijuana use also might worsen depression symptoms.
Research suggests that marijuana use increases the risk of psychosis in people who have schizophrenia.
Smoking marijuana can affect your memory and cognitive function and cause harmful cardiovascular effects, such as high blood pressure.
Long-term marijuana use can worsen respiratory conditions.
Marijuana has a central nervous system (CNS) depressant effect.
As a result, marijuana use in combination with anesthesia or other drugs used during or after surgery might cause an additive effect.
Don’t use marijuana two weeks before planned surgery.
In some cases, reported side effects of THC extend to include:
· short-term memory recall issues
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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about THC:
What is marijuana?
Marijuana is the dry flowers and leaves of the plant (cannabis).
It contains mind-altering compounds like THC.
2. How is marijuana used?
There are several ways of using marijuana, and every one affects users differently.
Marijuana is often rolled up and smoked like a cigarette (a joint) or a cigar (a blunt).
Marijuana can also be smoked through a pipe. Sometimes people mix it in food such as cookies and eat it or brew it as a tea.
Smoking oils, concentrates, and extracts from the marijuana plant are on the increase.
People that use this practice call it “dabbing.”
3. Is marijuana addictive?
Long-term use of marijuana can be addictive.
This suggests that the user cannot control their use of the drug even when it is affecting their lives adversely.
Statistically, addiction is more likely for an individual who starts using marijuana in his or her teens.
4. Is cannabis legal?
In the US, if you possess cannabis-related products in a state where they’re illegal or don’t have a medical prescription in states where the products are legal for medical treatment, you could face legal penalties.
In the UK, possessing cannabis is illegal, whatever it is being used for. That includes medical use, unless it has been officially prescribed.
How is THC useful as a medicine?
More than 110 different cannabinoids have been indexed, and many of them seem to be doing “something” for the body.
However, there are two that stand out: THC and CBD. CBD is somewhat milder than THC and stands for cannabidiol.
The main difference is in the operation.
Where THC mainly comes into action in physical ailments, CBD seems to work better in mental illnesses such as depression, psychosis, lethargy, anxiety etc.
Also in epilepsy, CBD oil often gives good results.
What is also striking is that THC and CBD strengthen each other’s effect in the body.
It is therefore good to use CBD oil in addition to THC.
Many THC oils also partly contain CBD, so then you don’t have to take it separately.
6. Are there other ways to take in THC than smoking?
Yes, in fact every way you can get THC-A or THC in your body works more or less medicinally.
You can eat the cannabis plant raw (if there are no pesticides on it), you can juice it, make an ointment that is absorbed by the skin (this works especially well in skin cancer), take it via a vaporizer, make tincture and take it as a suppository.
The latter works especially well for people who do not want to get the “high” effect and seems to work very well medicinally in diseases in the lower body, such as colon cancer, prostate cancer or cervical cancer.
Here is some useful reading material on THC and marijuana if you wish to find out more:
The most comprehensive and approachable book available on understanding and using medical marijuana.
Revised and updated with the latest information on varietals, delivery, dosing, and treatable conditions, Cannabis Pharmacy is “a well-designed and -illustrated and easy-to-use resource”(Booklist) for those considering medical marijuana as a treatment option.
The reason behind putting this literature together was because the author, William Bentley’s own mother struggled and battled with Lyme’s disease for many years, and through watching her suffer from many side effects of the disease (as well as the medication prescribed to her), he compiled this book with all the information he can to make a bullet proof method of extracting the medicinal oil known as RSO to treat herself safely in her own home.
Even if you’re a beginner and have never done this before this step by step guide should help you through your first oil extraction.
He tries to answer the questions his mother was asking when medicinal cannabis oil was suggested to her numerous times, without going too deep into science.
She just wanted the oil, and to know how to make it safely to a high quality, she didn’t want a science degree.
We touch on strains, uses, the method of actually extracting medicinal oil at home, dosages and application.
This concise guide to cannabis delves into pot culture and history, from Herodotus to the hippies and beyond.
It also covers the essentials of using, cultivating, and cooking with weed; identifying pot varieties; and understanding legal and health issues.
Handy and to the point, The Little Black Book of Marijuana gives you “the dope” on pot, from possible side effects and risks to medical uses and their efficacy.
Learn about cannabis history and the issues around its legalization. Includes full-color photos of marijuana varieties.
Medical cannabis (and cannabis oils) – NHS UK – November 2018
CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference? – WebMD – January 2020
How long does marijuana stay in your system? Medical News Today. 2020.