While legalisation of cannabis in Canada has led to a boom in the cannabis industry, there are more and more people interested in trying out marijuana products.
If you know anything about cannabis compounds, you know that the marijuana plant contains both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Together, these compounds have amazing health benefits. Separate, however, and they can react to the body very differently.
So, in order to understand the effects of THC, it’s important to debunk the myths flying around about this substance so you are informed about your next purchase from a cannabis dispensary:
1. Taking THC is the Same as Smoking a Joint
When you smoke a joint, the substances you are smoking are derived from cannabis plants. There is nothing isolated and you’re getting the benefits of the full-meal deal.
When THC is isolated from the marijuana plant, the CBD compound is removed. CBD tends to interact with the parts of the human body that reduce inflammation whereas THC interacts with the parts that make you feel “high”.
Therefore, THC can create more psychoactive effects on its own versus being smoked in a joint.
2. THC is the “Bad” Cannabinoid
Knowing that THC will get you high whereas CBD doesn’t has led some to believe that THC is the “bad” cannabinoid.
While it certainly will affect your mental state more noticeably than CBD, THC potency varies considerably among natural and genetically bred strains of cannabis. Just be cautious when choosing cannabis products that contain THC – nowadays, many products have a higher THC potency than others.
That being said, this doesn’t make THC “bad” – you just need to understand how THC affects the cannabinoid receptors in your brain and start off slow if you are not a seasoned cannabis user.
3. All THC Products are the Same
While the THC cannabinoid is always the same, as we mentioned above, its potency and presence can vary from strain to strain.
There are several species of cannabis from which THC is derived. For example, the strains Indica and Sativa are what are popularly considered to be medical marijuana. Where Indica typically produces a sedated effect, Sativa generally produces the euphoric effects of being high.
And, when THC is present in cannabis products, its character and effect are changed by its combination with CBD, terpenes, and other chemicals specific to the strain it is derived from.
4. THC is Addictive
One of the most concerning effects of cannabis for new users is whether or not THC is addictive.
There is no evidence to support the idea that THC is addictive. Studies have shown that there is nothing in its chemical composition that alters human systems the same way alcohol and hard drugs do.
However, it can lead to repeated use and something called “Cannabis Use Disorder” (CUD). CUD is most prevalent in those with a predisposition to being dependent on substances as well as a history of antisocial or conduct disorders.
Overall, users may simply create a habit of using THC but the human body does not actually get addicted to it.
5. You Can’t Overdose on THC
While there is no scientific evidence to support that anyone has died from THC use, it is possible to overdose on this substance.
Sometimes referred to as “greening out”, cannabis intoxication varies with the strength and amount of THC as well as your physical and psychological condition. Some of the negative effects of an overdose include anxiety, dizziness, nausea, and a lack of coordination.
If you do overdose on THC, the best thing to do is settle yourself in and try to remain calm. You can eat some pulpy citrus or put some CBD oil under to tongue to take the edge off.
It’s important when you first start out using THC that you do so with someone you trust – and preferably with someone who has experience with this cannabis compound. They can talk you through it.
6. THC is a Gateway Drug
A gateway drug is a substance that is thought to lead to heavy drug use. There is no correlation between THC and the use of strong drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and opioids.
In fact, cannabis use can be common among individuals who are addicted to other substances because of environment, poverty, and genetics – but there is no scientific data that proves using THC will lead to the use of hard drugs.
This means that while it is likely that people already addicted to hard drugs may turn to THC use, THC use does not lead to heavy drug use.
In fact, marijuana is being looked at as a treatment for drug addiction by using it as part of a harm reduction strategy to reduce the overall level of drug use among people who can’t or are not willing to stop.
7. THC is Solely Recreational
Some people believe that CBD is used for medicinal purpose while THC is solely reserved for recreational use. However, it has been shown that every compound in cannabis can be used for medical benefits.
Studies have discovered that THC inhibits an enzyme that is implicated in a certain type of plaque that contributes to Alzheimer’s-related dementia. Marinol, a single-molecule THC, has an anti-nausea effect and can boost appetite.
So while THC is primarily used to get “high”, it also has certain medicinal benefits.
THC Myths: Busted!
Hopefully, these busted myths will help give you more insight into what THC is and how it affects your mind and body.