The Apothecarium

Cannabinoids 101: THC

the apothecarium las vegas a recreational and medical marijuana dispensary discuss thc a cannabinoid

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are partly responsible for the wide array of medicinal and psychoactive effects cannabis may provide. Currently there are over 110 known cannabinoids with more likely to be discovered as studies continue to reveal the complex molecular structures of the cannabis plant.

Cannabinoids interact with human physiology through the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the set of receptors that function to regulate health and promote homeostasis throughout the body. The ECS has two primary receptors, the CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor binds primarily to the brain and nervous system, while the CB2 receptor interacts largely with the immune system. The cannabis plant relies on cannabinoids binding to these receptors to produce the array of potential benefits and effects. Each cannabinoid holds unique characteristics of their own that are worth noting in order to maximize desired effects from medicating with cannabis.

What is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant and widely known for the “high” or “stoned” feeling typically associated with cannabis use. THC can produce a multitude of psychoactive effects, including but not limited to, euphoria, relaxation, introspection, creativity, sedation, sensory alteration, appetite stimulation, focus and energy. Adverse effects may include dry mouth, redness in the eyes, disorientation, dizziness, tachycardia, anxiety and paranoia.

THC also carries a host of medicinal potential that has been studied for a variety of symptoms and conditions. This includes pain relief, anti-inflammation, autoimmune disorders, spasticity, insomnia, nausea, depression and anxiety. THC also shows promise as a possible anti-cancer agent, neuroprotectant and antioxidant.  

How does THC work?

THC shares a similar structure to a naturally occurring chemical called anandamide, which acts as a neurotransmitter that naturally increases dopamine levels. When THC is consumed it will bind with the same receptors as anandamide, stimulating the neurotransmitters that create the psychoactive sensations that are often experienced.  

Although THC boasts a broad spectrum of psychoactive and medicinal properties of its own, THC is thought to be most effective in combination with other cannabinoids and terpenes. THC will affect everyone differently and consuming the proper dosage is key to maintaining optimal experiences. Feel free to ask any of our knowledgeable patient consultants with any questions you may have.

The Research

The neuroprotective and antioxidant potential of cannabis was studied in July 1998. The possible anti-cancer properties of THC were examined in an April 2007 study. The anti-inflammatory efficacy of THC and other cannabinoids was studied in October 2009. The analgesic effects of THC were examined in a February 2013 study that showed promise for neuropathic pain. Chronic PTSD was the subject of an August 2014 study that showed THC may be beneficial.



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