Different types of THC like delta 8 THC have made international news in recent months. As researchers learn more about cannabis, the huge potential of this plant grows clearer.
You may be familiar with THC. This compound is a cannabinoid or a substance that comes from the cannabis plant.
Some cannabinoids are responsible for making consumers feel “high.” Others can lessen anxiety or ease muscle relaxation.
But THC is the most well-known cannabinoid to date. This famous compound is known all around the world for its psychoactive effects.
Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and his team discovered THC in 1964. Before his groundbreaking study, no one knew how marijuana could cause a psychoactive effect.
Scientists later discovered that THC binds to certain receptors in the human body. When THC binds, it makes these receptors send signals throughout the body.
Today, there are several known types of THC. Not all of them cause the same psychoactive effect.
In this post, you’ll learn all about what THC is and how it works in your body. You’ll then get a chance to learn about the main types of THC known today.
Keep reading to find out more about this exciting topic!
How Does THC Work?
As noted above, THC belongs to the cannabinoid family. These compounds occur naturally in the cannabis plant. But they also have a unique function inside the human body.
Cannabinoids work because they mimic endocannabinoids. In the human body, endocannabinoids are a crucial part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Under normal circumstances, the ECS helps you with important physical functions. These include mood, memory, and sleep patterns.
Endocannabinoids bind to endocannabinoid receptors in the ECS. The two receptor systems include the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors work with the central nervous system. This system includes your brain and spinal cord. CB2 receptors work with the rest of the nervous system, particularly immune cells.
Endocannabinoids bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors to control certain bodily functions.
Cannabinoids essentially hijack this system. They look so similar to endocannabinoids that the body can’t tell them apart. Cannabinoids bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
THC is a powerful molecule that can bind to both of these receptors. When THC binds to the receptors, they send signals throughout your body.
These signals could do anything from managing pain to reducing inflammation. The psychoactive signals can have an effect on your perception. This is what causes the “high” conventionally associated with marijuana.
But why would a plant have molecules that mimic human compounds?
The organisms that survive are the ones that adapt and evolve to their environments. For the cannabis plant, it is a biologically good idea to produce certain cannabinoids.
This property of the cannabis plant has guaranteed its survival. Scientists discovered an early cannabis fossil from almost 20 million years ago. Since then, cannabis has survived alongside human populations.
Uses for THC
People who use THC for recreational purposes are familiar with its psychoactive effects. THC can cause feelings that range from anxiety to euphoria.
Some people also report that THC is useful for stimulating creativity. Right after THC is consumed, it can also increase your heart rate. But most of these physical effects fade within a few hours.
More recently, medical professionals have explored THC’s medical potential.
Many people with cancer go through long rounds of chemotherapy treatment. Chemotherapy can cause serious side effects like extreme nausea and vomiting.
For some of these patients, marijuana can offer much-needed relief. Studies have indicated that THC can help treat nerve pain. It can also relieve nausea. This makes THC a great option for many patients.
People with other conditions like HIV might struggle with a lack of appetite. THC stimulates the appetite of its users. Many medical professionals recommend medical marijuana in such cases.
THC can also help loosen muscles and reduce inflammation. Certain patients with movement disorders find it helpful for managing symptoms.
In the mental health community, THC has several well-known applications.
Individuals with social anxiety might find THC helpful for relaxing in social settings. People struggling with PTSD have also found THC useful for managing challenging symptoms.
Of course, not all forms of THC are currently legal. This can make it difficult to conduct scientific research in certain areas.
But the medical potential of THC remains a promising avenue of research.
Different Types of THC
Up until now, you’ve been reading about the main type of THC. This type is called delta 9 THC. But it is so widespread that most people are referring to delta 9 when they use the general term THC.
But did you know that there is a whole family of different THC compounds?
Some of these compounds cause psychoactive effects. Some work more like CBD to cause relaxation without the high.
Let’s take a look at the main types of THC known today:
Delta 9 THC
When you hear someone say “THC,” they are probably talking about delta 9. Many consider this the best type of THC.
THC must be exposed to heat in order to cause psychoactive effects. This is why many people consume marijuana through smoking or vaping.
Delta 9 THC binds to the CB1 receptors in your body. This process can cause mind-altering effects that impact your short-term memory or increase your appetite.
Many people enjoy the benefits of delta 9. They might particularly enjoy the relaxing properties of this cannabinoid.
But for others, delta 9 can cause severe anxiety or even paranoia. This can lead such individuals to consider other types of THC with fewer psychoactive effects.
Delta 8 THC
Although delta 8 was discovered almost 50 years ago, it is not as well-known as delta 8. It can be difficult to find information about delta 8 because it is present in such small amounts.
Delta 8 has the same components as delta 9. But these components are arranged in a different structure.
This cannabinoid binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors. It causes many of the same effects as delta 9. But delta 8 doesn’t cause the same psychoactive effects. In other words, it doesn’t make you as high as delta 9.
Some of the benefits associated with delta 8 include:
- Relieves anxiety
- Helps promote memory and learning
- Reduces nausea or vomiting
- Increases appetite
If you’re looking for medical benefits with a minimal high, delta 8 might be the way to go!
At lower doses, THCV doesn’t cause a serious high. When the dosage increases, THCV can cause a more clear-headed high than delta 9.
People who consume THCV tend to feel the effects more quickly than with delta 9. However, these effects do wear off faster.
Unlike delta 8 and delta 9, THCV actually suppresses your appetite. Some people recommend THCV if you’re on a weight-loss program.
THCV can be helpful for movement disorders like Epilepsy. It can also reduce inflammation, which can be helpful for managing chronic pain.
THCA provides the source for the different types of THC. When you apply heat to THCA, you can create other THC compounds like delta 9.
This cannabinoid binds to the CB2 receptors in your body. Because it doesn’t bind to CB1 receptors, THCA cannot cause the same psychoactive effects.
Like the other forms of THC, THCA is useful for managing inflammation and chronic pain. It can also reduce muscle spasms caused by conditions like MS and ALS.
Most people eat THCA to get the maximum benefits. You can include THCA in a homemade juice or smoothie.
A team of scientists discovered THCP towards the end of 2019. This version of THC has a different chemical structure that sets it apart.
Cannabinoid molecules all have attachments called alkyl side chains. These chains are made up of carbon atoms. The side chains are responsible for helping cannabinoids bind to the cannabinoid receptors in your body.
THC molecules have five of these atoms on their side chains. THCP has seven.
Researchers believe that THCP’s longer side chain helps it bind to receptors more easily. They think that stronger bonds increase the brain’s response to THCP molecules.
In the future, scientists hope that THCP will be useful for managing chronic pain. Today, America is in the thick of an opioid epidemic that is spiraling out of control.
Doctors and scientists need options to manage pain without causing addiction. THCP could fit the bill.
THC-O is also called THC-O acetate. This cannabinoid is a much more potent version of typical THC molecules.
Some estimates claim that THC-O is 300% stronger than THC. Certain individuals who have used THC-O also report having a stronger spiritual experience with this cannabinoid.
The US army conducted studies on THC-O from the 40s to the 70s. They administered this cannabinoid to dogs and noted the strong effect.
THC-O isn’t right for everyone. It’s difficult to produce, and researchers still have much to learn about this cannabinoid.
These six versions of THC are a small sampling of the cannabinoid family. Researchers believe that there are around 150 different cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant.
These cannabinoids might have huge ramifications in the medical field. They offer promising treatment options for a wide range of conditions.
Also, THC is not as addictive or dangerous as opioids. Opioid overdose is responsible for nearly 50,000 deaths per year in the US.
As the country grapples with this crisis, new pain management tools will be a huge focus. But the legal status of THC might make this difficult in certain regions.
The Legality of THC Types
Although many states are pushing for legalization, the future legal status of THC remains unclear in the US.
Marijuana is currently illegal at the federal level. It is classified as a “Schedule 1” controlled substance.
But the type of THC matters in the legal realm. Today, the main restriction on marijuana falls on delta 9 THC.
The US government currently limits all hemp-containing products to a maximum of 0.3% delta 9 THC. This includes oils, tinctures, edibles, and other products.
However, not all types of THC fall under this restriction. Delta 8 THC is not outlawed under the current legislation.
This has made delta 8 a popular choice for many consumers.
Of course, new regulations may come into play for delta 8 in the future. But it currently represents one of the fastest-growing segments of the marijuana industry.
Legal Progress in the US
Montana, Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Mississippi all voted to approve marijuana legalization last year. And many other states have approved marijuana for certain medical conditions.
As we move into 2021, many have projected that this trend will continue. Increased rates of legalization will open up new research opportunities for US scientists.
It has been difficult for many of these researchers to investigate marijuana in the past. Legal hurdles stop many academics in their tracks.
But this research is essential to our full understanding of the cannabis plant. This versatile organism could revolutionize many areas of medicine.
In the years to come, scientists will probe the structure and function of different cannabinoids.
Understanding these molecules will help us learn how to maximize the potential of cannabis. But it might also teach us more about the relationship between our minds and bodies.
Cannabinoids operate through your body’s natural communication system. By exploring cannabinoids further, we might uncover more about how this system works.
Learn More Today
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the different types of THC! This dynamic molecule has huge recreational and medical potential. It will be interesting to learn more about THC in the years ahead.
Visit the rest of our blog today to learn more about other fascinating topics! No matter your interests, there is sure to be something here for you.