What THC Stands For – A Beginners Guide To THC

A beginners guide to THC

Image Credit: By Canna Obscura on shutterstock.

So yes we could just simply say THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol, also we could say that THC is scientifically known as -trans-Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol. However, it does mean so much more. We look into its history & claimed benefits to find out just what is THC? First lets be really scientific. With a chemical make-up of C₂₁H₃₀O₂ , a molecular mass of 314.464 g/mol. Fancy words, it is one of over 100 well known active ingredients known as chemical compounds found in the resin secreted glands of the cannabis plant. These glands are mainly found around the reproductive organs of the plant, it is often why people want Female plants too. THC is a bright, colorless and glass-like solid that becomes sticky when heated which explains why its so thick inside THC vaporizers and so on. It is believed to give protection to the plant against high levels of harmful UV light while also preventing animals from eating the plant, if the other effects were not already enough.

THC mimics the natural chemical endocannabinoid that is produced in the brain known as anandamide aka bliss molecule (a neurotransmitter that binds to the THC receptors). When THC is consumed, it releases dopamine in the brain. As a result of this, it makes you experience euphoria, which is commonly referred to as a “high”. This high feeling comes with hallucinations and delusions and its effects usually last up to two hours and start roughly fifteen to twenty minutes after consumption depending on how you take it. Consuming THC also interferes with the hippocampus (part of the brain associated with forming new memories) by altering the information process.

The History of Medical Cannabis

The history of cannabis as a form of medicine dates back years. The National Cancer Institute has stated that cannabis use for medical purposes has been used for thousands of years. In fact, In Ancient China, people used hemp (a member of the cannabis plant family) due to its high-protein seeds, fiber, and oil for making rope, clothes and for medicine. They also used the cannabis plant for medical purposes too mainly to alleviate pain and treat various other conditions. While it started in China, word quickly spread, and so did the plant. It traveled through Asia making its way to the Middle East and onwards to Africa.

In 2737 B.C, The Chinese Emperor Shen Neng (one of the first leaders of the ancient world prescribed cannabis-infused tea to his people in order to treat conditions like rheumatism, poor memory, malaria, and even gout. By 200 A.D, a Chinese surgeon known as Hua Tuo was the first person to record cannabis as an anesthetic during surgery.

Taking a big leap through history, in 1906, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) was created due to the lack of regulation on heroin, morphine and, opium. As a result of the lacking regulation, many people became addicted to these substances and this created what was known as the morphine addiction crisis. At this time, however, the FDA felt no need to control cannabis use. It wasn’t until 1914 when the FDA officially made cannabis an illegal substance.

Since then there was a lot of stigmas based around the cannabis plant, but since 2015, the stigmas started to change because studies began to show that the cannabis plant holds medical values. Since 2015, 23 states in America have legalized the plant for medical purposes and some states have also legalized it for recreational purposes too. Since 2015, the cannabis movement has grown, and there is a lot of expectation for the plant in 2019.

The Claimed Medical Benefits of THC

Health Benefits Description of the benefits of THC
Prevents nause and vomiting In the 1980s, The FDA approved a THC-infused drug known as Marinol which is used to treat cancer patients going through cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Marinol helps treat nausea and vomiting associated with the side effects of cancer treatments.
Improves sleep In the 1970’s people suffering from insomnia where given oral doses of THC to help them sleep better. The trial shows that THC has the potential to help those with sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and other sleep disorders to fall asleep quicker while also promoting a deep sleep.
Increase appetite Studies show that THC has the potential to help increase appetite in conditions such as eating disorders, HIV/AIDS and dementia. While people narrow this down to “the munchies” it’s safe to say that there is a lot more scientific information behind it all, that scientists are still not aware of yet.
Redcues pain It is beleived that one of the top medical benefits to THC is pain relief. In 2013, an FDA-approved trial confirmed that THC is effective in treating and managing pain.

New studies emerging are also indicating that THC alone may help treat people with various medical conditions whether they are physical or mental. One of the major milestones in scientific research shows that THC can help treat seizure disorders such as epilepsy, so much so that it stops seizures dead in its tracks. The FDA have approved several cannabis-based drugs for epilepsy. People who are using THC as a form of medication for epilepsy are stating that since they have begun THC/medical cannabis treatment they haven gone from a coupld of hundred seizures a day to only a hand full every few days or weeks (if they don’t miss a dose). Other conditions THC can treat are:

  • Spasticity
  • Pain
  • Spasms
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Depression and anxiety
  • PMS – Post Menstrual Symptoms
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Pre-clinical and clinical studies show evidence that, when used properly, THC is said to have many medical benefits. While THC is associated with getting “high”, the chemical compound is far more complex than what people think and make it out to be. is a useful treatment to overcome nausea and to stop vomiting. It also increases your appetite. THC has been clinically proven to kill cancer cells while keeping good cells healthy and preventing them from becoming unhealthy.

What are The Side Effects of THC?

A current scientific study shows that THC works in conjunction with the different cannabinoid compounds that are also present. The interaction between THC and the rest of the cannabinoid family will mean that medical research will be more complicated than first thought. But it also reveals that the benefits of THC are broader and more diverse than even the most optimistic predictions. Studies also show that without using proper dosing calculations and methods THC can lead to psychosis and schizophrenia. Here are 5 of the potential consequences of the euphoric effect THC brings, especially when dosing isn’t taken into consideration.

  1. Heart palpitations
  2. Feeling disoriented and unease
  3. Breathlessness
  4. Paranoia
  5. Vomiting

THC remains an illegal substance in much of The United States and the rest of the world. So, If you are  considering purchasing THC for medical purposes, it’s essential that you double and triple check your state laws beforehand. It’s also vital to consult your family doctor, especially if you are already undergoing an established treatment plan for an existing illness. This is because very little is known about how THC interacts with other pharmaceuticals and in order for your doctor to treat you well, he or she needs to know all the facts.

Even now, there is much to be learned about THC. Scientists and researchers are working tirelessly to unearth the facts about this compound and how it can affect our bodies.

Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty is a writer and multimedia producer for cannabisMD where she is constantly evaluating the continued growth of CBD and its presence in the news. Her research and writing on cannabis and CBD can be found at niamhtumilty.com.

Comments are closed.