What is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (abbreviated - THC) is a psychoactive substance found in cannabis. THC is a cannabinoid - cannabinoids can be described as chemicals that interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). By binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, THC can activate neurons that are responsible for our memory, thinking, coordination and time perception.

THC is just one of over 500 different cannabinoids found in cannabis. Although THC is the most well-known of the cannabinoids, another cannabinoid that has gained worldwide popularity in recent years is cannabidiol (CBD).

THC, when used recreationally, produces a feeling of euphoria and relaxation. It is also important to mention that some studies show that THC can also be used to treat various medical conditions.

THC, unlike CBD, can be addictive, so it is important for individuals to be informed about the potential effects of THC and the risks involved. This article discusses what you need to know about the effects of THC, its possible medical uses and potential risks.

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    Kas yra THC?

    Note: This and other articles on Hempo's blog are for informational purposes only. In Lithuania, tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) is classified as a class 1 narcotic substance, therefore it is illegal and dangerous to health. The permissible limit of THC in CBD products in Lithuania is <0.2%.

    History of THC

    Cannabis has been used for a variety of purposes for thousands of years, and the origins of this phenomenon lie in Ancient China, where hemp was used in cooking, textiles and medicine. Over time, hemp reached Europe and later America, where it was used for recreational and ritual purposes.

    Hemp was brought to the present-day United States of America in the 1600s. Hemp was grown as a basis for the textile industry and sometimes even used as legal tender. Cannabis was also used for medicinal purposes, and in the 20th century in the 1930s and 1940s, their use for recreational purposes began to grow rapidly.

    Around the same time, anti-drug campaigns were initiated in the United States and many states passed laws prohibiting the use of marijuana. in 1970 The Controlled Substances Act classified marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic - thus making cannabis an illegal substance at the federal level. The "war on drugs" launched in the United States in the 1960s led to the fact that many people were imprisoned for possession and use of marijuana.

    Effects of THC

    This article has already mentioned that THC works by binding to the human body's cannabinoid receptors, which are located in our brain and nervous system. THC is also known to activate the human brain's reward system (the oldest part of the brain). This phenomenon causes the release of dopamine - a neurotransmitter that causes pleasure and euphoria in our brain.

    As a result of this activation of the reward system, the brain learns to repeat “rewardable behavior” which causes pleasant sensations. This is what determines and defines the addictive properties of THC. Long-term use of higher amounts of THC increases the risk of developing this addiction.

    THC: 4 Researched Benefits

    THC can be used medicinally to relieve the symptoms of certain diseases. However, given that cannabis is federally illegal in the United States, opportunities for further research with THC are very limited. Here are some of the benefits of THC that scientists have identified so far:

    THC may help relieve chronic pain

    Effective chronic pain relief is the most common reason people choose to use medical cannabis. In 2015 a large-sample systematic review evaluated the effects of cannabis in patients with persistent chronic pain and found that THC use increased the likelihood of chronic pain reduction by approximately 40%.

    Although clinical studies support cannabis' ability to relieve chronic pain, most researchers believe more research is needed to determine what specific doses and forms of cannabinoids may be most beneficial for chronic pain patients.

    THC may reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea for cancer patients

    Drugs containing THC - nabilone and dronabinol - have been used for more than 30 years to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.

    In 2010 a small sample study of cancer patients found that cancer patients who took THC-containing drugs along with standard cancer treatments were more protected from nausea and vomiting than patients who received only standard treatment.

    THC may reduce muscle spasms in paraplegics

    Studies show that THC products can slightly reduce muscle spasms, a common symptom experienced by people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and paraplegia.

    A large systematic review conducted in 2015 concluded that THC, taken in combination with other cannabinoids, relieved muscle spasms experienced by patients compared to placebo-treated study participants.

    THC may improve sleep quality

    Sleep disorders are common in people with diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Studies have already shown that THC-containing hemp products can improve short-term sleep disorders and significantly shorten the time it takes to fall asleep. However, it is not entirely clear whether THC directly affects sleep quality or whether sleep is improved because THC reduces certain symptoms.

    THC content in CBD products

    As cannabidiol becomes more and more popular, the market for CBD products continues to grow, giving consumers a wide variety of products to choose from. It is important to note that some of these products may contain small traces of THC (up to 0.2%) depending on their composition - these are usually full-spectrum CBD products.

    It is highly unlikely that such a small concentration of THC can produce psychoactive effects at all, and some experts say that small amounts of THC even enhance the effectiveness of CBD - a phenomenon also known as "Entourage effect”.

    However, if in any case you are looking for CBD products with completely THC material removed, we recommend choosing broad-spectrum CBD products. Always choose only those manufacturers that provide analyzes of CBD products conducted in third-party laboratories - in this case, you will not only be sure of the amount of THC (if any) in the CBD oil or other CBD product you choose, but you will also have the opportunity to carefully familiarize yourself with other products materials present.

    Adverse effects and risks of THC

    There is considerable research-based evidence that THC is associated with an increased risk of psychosis in both adolescents and adults. The use of this substance is also associated with increased anxiety, impaired memory and lack of concentration.

    It has been found that CBD may help inhibit these THC-induced effects by acting as an anti-psychotic agent to reduce anxiety, although most research on this topic and are performed on animals. It appears that CBD can actually reduce the negative effects of THC.

    After meta-analysis conducted in 2013 that looked at the results of many previous studies also found that THC may be neurotoxic because the brain structure of people who regularly use marijuana (and do not have psychosis) has changed.

    Another interesting fact that emphasizes THC-induced brain changes: although studies have shown that the volume of gray matter in the prefrontal cortex of people who regularly use marijuana is reduced, it is also obvious that there is a kind of compensatory reaction - among the remaining neurons the density of fiber connections increases, which can eliminate some of the factors that cause neurotoxicity.

    Is THC addictive?

    Psychotropic cannabis (marijuana) is one of the most common narcotic substances not only in USA, but also in Europe. Despite the fact that many people think that marijuana is not addictive, the addiction caused by THC is widely documented.

    According to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 30% of people who use marijuana will become addicted, and starting to use the drug before the age of 18, when the brain is still developing, increases the odds of addiction to psychotropic cannabis from four to seven times.

    Like other types of addiction, cannabis use disorder involves an uncontrollable craving for this illicit substance. Additional criteria for the diagnosis of addiction in order to determine it can be the following: a person feels a constant desire for the mentioned substance and faces other social problems.

    THC: Concluding Thoughts

    THC is an active substance found in cannabis plants that many people around the world associate specifically with the feeling of intoxication, or in other words, psychoactive effects. Although THC is often considered a controversial substance, some research has already shown that it can relieve symptoms in patients with chronic pain and certain health problems.

    THC can be addictive in some individuals, and while THC cannot be fatally overdosed, too much THC can cause extremely unpleasant side effects, including increased paranoia, increased anxiety, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting.

    Dažnai užduodami klausimai

    Kas yra THC?

    THC, arba tetrahidrokanabinolis, yra psichoaktyvi medžiaga, randama kanapėse. THC yra kanabinoidas, todėl jis sąveikauja su žmogaus endokanabinoidine sistema, prisijungdamas prie kanabinoidinių receptorių smegenyse, o tai gali neigiamai paveikti atmintį, mąstymą, koordinaciją ir laiko suvokimą.

    Kuo skiriasi THC ir CBD?

    THC (tetrahidrokanabinolis) ir CBD (kanabidiolis) yra du skirtingi kanabinoidai, randami kanapėse. Pagrindinis jų skirtumas yra tas, kad THC sukelia psichoaktyvų poveikį (t.y. apsvaigimo jausmą ir euforiją), o CBD psichoaktyviomis savybėmis nepasižymi ir yra žinomas dėl įvairios terapinės naudos sveikatai.

    Ar THC gali sukelti priklausomybę?

    Taip, THC gali sukelti priklausomybę. Moksliniai tyrimai rodo, kad apie 30% marihuaną vartojančių žmonių gali tapti priklausomi. THC priklausomybės atsiradimo rizika yra didesnė žmonių, kurie pradeda vartoti marihuaną ankstyvame amžiuje, tarpe.

    Ar THC gali būti naudojamas medicininiais tikslais?

    Taip, šiuo metu atliekami moksliniai tyrimai rodo, jog THC gali būti naudojamas medicininiais tikslais, pavyzdžiui, lėtinio skausmo malšinimui, onkologinių pacientų chemoterapijos sukeltam pykinimui ir vėmimui gydyti, raumenų spazmams mažinti, ypač sergant išsėtine skleroze ir paraplegija, bei miego kokybės gerinimui.

    Ar THC yra legalus?

    THC legalumas skiriasi priklausomai nuo šalies ir regiono. Kai kuriose Europos šalyse ir JAV valstijose medicininis ar rekreacinis kanapių vartojimas yra legalus, tačiau daugelyje pasaulio vietų THC vis dar yra laikomas nelegaliu. Lietuvoje tetrahidrokanabidiolis (THC) yra priskiriamas narkotinių medžiagų kategorijai, todėl yra nelegalus. Lietuvoje leistina THC riba CBD produktų sudėtyje yra <0.2%.