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THC, or, Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a compound contained in a hemp plant (scientifically known as cannabis) that initiates the psychoactive stimulation to humans through its derivative products such as marijuana, hashish and resins. THC is produced when the hemp plant’s cannabinolic acid reflexively discard a carboxyl cluster due to heat buildup and becomes tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – a hemp plant’s evolutionary protection against natural diseases and predators.

Marijuana is the direct by-product of the plants’ leaves and young off shoots, while hashish is produced by processing the hemp plant oily secretion that is generated by the flowers of the female plants. Resins on the other hand, are obtained from the coating found on leaves from the plant. Together with cannabinol and cannabidiol, THC is part of the cannabinoids chemical triumvirate that the hemp plant is infamous for.

Chemical Composition

Cannabinoids are epidermally generated in leaf glands (especially those facing light), the flowers and young stems. Despite the lack of epidermal glands, the flower has the highest concentration of cannabinoids owing to the buildup of resin secreted by tiny leaves below the flowers.

Molecular composition of Delta-9 THC


Pharmacological Effects

For decades, scientists have struggled to understand the fundamental workings behind THC’s psychoactive traits. However, breakthroughs detailed in the Institute of Science (Neuroscience and Behavioral Health Dept) report in 1982, Marijuana and Health, have directed their attention to the discovery of cannabinoids receptors in the brain, and the resulting elaborate studies on them have begun to explain the basic mechanism on psychoactive pathways and influence to our brain and nervous system.

Pharmacologically, how our body reacts to THC has been narrowed down to the following factors:

General susceptibility to psychoactive substances (individual make-ups influence THC’s effects)
Length of exposure (resistance develops over time)
Method of Consumption (Inhalation, orally, intravenous)

THC Effects

THC creates a wide range of motor, neural and cognitive effects in humans. The general deterioration of memory, coordination, and general thought processes is a well-known fact. Additionally, users typically experience an increase in appetite.

Psychologically, the effects are varied, from a pleasant sense of calm to panic and anxiety attacks, delirium, and in some cases, even schizophrenic symptoms – especially for patients who are on an antipsychotic regime of medications. It should be noted that the propensity for these reactions are more notable among those consuming THC intravenously, as opposed to orally or inhalation.

THC also produce symptomic changes in the users body, which includes but are not limited to, arrhythmia, dry mouths, numbness and a lower sperm count for males as well as disrupting the menstrual cycles of female users. Moreover, long-term inhalers (smokers) of marijuana also heighten the risk of contracting laryngitis and bronchitis. More importantly, traces of THC are also secreted through human breast milk for pregnant or new mothers who are consuming psychoactive substances.

The various cannabinoids receptor found appears to perform diverse functions in the average human physiology. Interestingly, there is a minor group of cannabinoids that appears to function independently of any neural receptors, a fact that underlies the still relatively vast, hidden potential of the THC in augmenting our bodily processes – which are the future focus of ongoing research of THC.


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