Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical compound responsible for the majority of the psychological effects of marijuana. It acts similarly to cannabinoid chemicals produced naturally by the body, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). THC stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9-THC). It is a cannabinoid molecule found in marijuana (cannabis) that has long been known as the main psychoactive ingredient, which is the substance that makes people who use marijuana feel high.
Marijuana, also known as cannabis, comes from a plant called hemp. Its scientific name is Cannabis sativa. The main active ingredient in marijuana is THC (short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). This ingredient is found in the leaves and flowering parts of the marijuana plant.
Hashish is a substance extracted from the tops of female marijuana plants and contains the highest amount of THC. Research has shown that THC is associated with an increased risk of psychosis, both in adolescents and adults. THC can be detected in the body for much longer than most other drug compounds, although its psychoactive effects only last for a few hours. With the legalization of marijuana in many states, studies on marijuana and its impact on the body have increased.
One type of cannabis that has a minimum amount of THC, as low as 0.5 percent, is hemp, according to the North American Industrial Hemp Council. Other studies show more evidence that, when used correctly, THC has many additional medical benefits. THC can be extracted from marijuana or synthesized, as is the case with the FDA-approved drug, dronabinol. THC is just one of more than 500 different substances and 100 different cannabinoid molecules found in marijuana.
Another important cannabinoid molecule that has received great interest is cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabinoids are highly lipophilic or “fat-loving”, making it difficult to extract molecules from the cannabis plant. Dronabinol is a synthetic form of THC that is commonly used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer drugs, but it has also been useful for those suffering from chronic pain. The current high-potency THC marijuana problem from the perspective of an addiction psychiatrist should be taken into consideration when using recreational marijuana doses.
The lower the THC content in marijuana, the more one must consume to produce desired effects. Research on CBD and THC has been limited due to the difficulty of extracting molecules from the cannabis plant.