Your great-grandfather or grandmother probably took cough medication with marijuana when they were a child. Marijuana was used in cough syrup and prescribed as medication for migraines, sedative, colds, and the flu. Most pharmaceutical companies in the 1920s and 1930s used marijuana in several of their medications.
What makes marijuana so interesting is its content in THC. THC is the most famous cannabinoid, alongside its sibling, CBD.
While CBD has been legal since 2018 and can be sold freely as a food supplement, THC is still considered a controlled substance, mainly because it is psychoactive and produces the famous ‘high’ sensation.
The History of Cannabis
Ancient Chinese and Egyptians used marijuana and had over 100 medical uses for it. In 2727 B.C., Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung drank cannabis-infused tea to treat malaria, rheumatism, gout, and memory problems.
Ancient Indians used marijuana in a drink that induces sleep. It was also given as an anesthetic before surgery. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Arabs followed suit and used marijuana for relaxation, sedation, pain relief, and recreational purposes. More recently, Queen Victoria used Hemp Oil tinctures for her menstrual cramps.
Until the 1930s, marijuana was used in the United States as an ingredient in several medications for pain, muscle relaxation, and sedation. However, since 1937, marijuana’s legal status has remained unsettled.
It is obvious that people understood very early on the potential for marijuana and used it accordingly to soothe, relax, and alleviate pain. Still, because of marijuana’s—and THC’s—significant side effects, states are reluctant to legalize it and free its use.
What Is THC?
THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is a cannabinoid found in Hemp and cannabis.
Its molecular chemical structure is similar to CBD’s, the only difference being how the atoms are organized between them. This is the reason why THC is intoxicating while CBD is not.
Both THC and CBD, along with more than 100 other cannabinoids, are found in the cannabis plant. However, the law makes a distinction between industrial Hemp—where CBD is legally produced from—and marijuana.
What Is the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?
Both Hemp and marijuana belong to the same plant species, namely cannabis. Their main difference is their content in THC.
Industrial Hemp has been specially bred to contain less than 0.3% of THC in dry weight. Conversely, marijuana was selectively grown to produce more THC.
Typically, industrial Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC but more than 20% CBD. On the other hand, marijuana contains over 16% THC, depending on the strain, and far less CBD.
Obtaining THC from Industrial Hemp is rather hard: with less than 0.3% THC, it would require immense quantities of dried flowers and leaves to extract significant quantities of THC. Therefore, most THC is produced from marijuana.
Which THC Properties Are Found in CBD?
CBD, THC, and the Endocannabinoid system
Both THC and CBD interact with the human endocannabinoid system.
The human body is equipped with an endocannabinoid system (ECS), whose task is to keep our body in balance and harmony. This system works with two human cannabinoids, called anandamide and 2-AG. These two cannabinoids bind to two receptors spread throughout the body, called CB1 and CB2.
How Does the Endocannabinoid System Function?
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for several diverse functions, including sleep, appetite, mood, sleep patterns, reproduction, immune system, inflammation, motor perception, and memory, among many others.
Whenever one of these functions is out of sync, the ECS sends its messengers, anandamide and 2-AG, to bind with their respective receptors, thus alerting the body that it needs to engage in appropriate action and fix the problem.
THC interacts almost exclusively with the CB1 receptors, which are mainly located in the brain.
CBD binds mainly with the CB2 receptors, which are found in the immune system, white blood cells, and spleen.
Why Does THC Affect Our Brain?
Most CB1 receptors are found in the brain. This is why THC affects our mood, sleep patterns, and everything that is connected with brain function, including thinking, memory, pleasure, time perception, motor coordination, and mental concentration.
CBD on the other hand appears to help mostly with inflammation and issues of the immune system, where most CB2 receptors are located.
Likewise, CBD has a close affinity with 2-AG, while THC appears to have similar effects on the body as anandamide. Anandamide gets its name from Sanskrit and means ‘joy’ and ‘bliss.’ It is the cannabinoid that uplifts our mood and brings joy and bliss to our brain—and THC acts in a similar pattern.
What Are the Benefits of THC?
Due to its legal status, there has been relatively little research on the potential therapeutic effects of THC. Preliminary findings suggest that THC may be helpful with depression, anxiety, migraines, PTSD, and insomnia.
THC also appears to have beneficial effects in neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s. Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the degeneration of brain cells and the central nervous system. As the brain cells become damaged, they start sending wrong messages to the body, hence the tremors, loss of balance, loss of memory, or other issues that people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases experience.
Some clinical trials suggest that THC may also assist with glaucoma, loss of appetite, nausea, epilepsy, and seizures.
However, there is still little definitive proof of THC’s potential, mainly due to its illegal and uncertain status.
What Are the Side Effects of THC?
The reason why THC is still illegal is that it has several important side effects.
Apart from the euphoria and feeling of ‘high’ that THC gives, there are other significant adverse side effects. These include an increased heart rate and blood pressure, problems of coordination, memory loss, and slower reaction times. Besides making it dangerous to drive or operate machinery, research suggests that the risk of heart attack is several times higher in the hour after smoking marijuana than it would be normally.
Findings also suggest that people with a genetic predisposition for schizophrenia or other mental disorders should not take THC as it can lead to paranoia and psychotic episodes.
There is a lot we still need to learn in order to better understand THC’s potential and how to work around its side effects.
How Can I Take THC?
Just like CBD, THC is available as a vape, edible, topical cream, and for sublingual use.
Vaping or inhaling THC directs THC into the lung capillaries and straight into the bloodstream. Vaping THC is the method with the highest bioavailability and the fastest acting. Within a few minutes, THC will take effect.
There are also THC edibles, capsules, and oils. These go through the digestive system and our gut before entering our bloodstream. As a result, they are slower to act but last longer than vaping.
The market also includes THC lotions, balms, salves, oils, and bath salts. These products are meant for topical use and localized effect. Topical use tends to be targeted for specific painful areas and THC rarely reaches the bloodstream.
Finally, THC tinctures and sprays can be taken sublingually under the tongue where they go through the tongue capillaries and then to the bloodstream.
Does Hemp Oil Contain THC?
Both CBD and THC are members of the family of cannabinoids found in Hemp and cannabis.
If you are looking to buy Hemp Oil products, you will find hundreds of products containing CBD. Some of them contain traces of THC while others do not.
Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil products contain CBD along with all the other cannabinoids found in Hemp, including THC, flavonoids, and terpenes. However, for Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil to be legal, its THC content must be under 0.3%.
Broad-Spectrum Hemp Oil is like Full-Spectrum but without the THC. In this case, the product contains all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids but no THC—not even traces.
Finally, CBD isolate only contains CBD, without any cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. Therefore, CBD isolate doesn’t contain any THC either.
How Do CBD and THC Work Together?
The scientific community is looking into what is called the entourage effect. Preliminary findings suggest that cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes work better and increase each other’s potential when taken together. Cannabinoids consumed together enhance each other’s effectiveness, leading to an end result that is more potent than consuming each cannabinoid individually.
Specifically for CBD and THC, it would appear that CBD mitigates the effects of THC in general, particularly psychosis, paranoia, sleeplessness, and extreme euphoria. CBD seems to moderate the negative effects of THC while still letting it work through the cannabinoid receptors.
Are THC and CBD Psychoactive?
Psychoactive vs Intoxicating Substances
A psychoactive compound affects how the brain works and causes changes in our mood, awareness, thoughts, feelings, or behavior.
Coffee and alcohol are legal psychoactive substances that have an impact on our mental abilities: coffee will keep us awake and alert while alcohol will help us relax.
Intoxication occurs when the consumer loses part or all of their mental faculties and control of their behavior.
The greatest difference between THC and CBD is that THC is both psychoactive and intoxicating.
CBD, however, is only psychoactive and not intoxicating.
The World Health Organization has stated that there’s no known addiction potential associated with CBD. Indeed, studies suggest that CBD may help addicts recover faster from their addiction. However, THC can become addictive, especially after prolonged use.
Drug Testing and Legal Issues
THC, CBD and Drug Testing
Most drug tests screen for opioids, cocaine, alcohol, methamphetamines, and marijuana—specifically, THC. A regular drug test will detect THC.
However, drug tests are not designed to identify CBD, probably because CBD is not addictive and workplaces or the police are not interested in finding whether people are taking CBD.
Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil contains traces of THC, so it is possible that a random drug test could detect traces of THC. If you are being regularly drug tested, it is suggested you consume Broad-Spectrum Hemp Oil that bears no traces of THC.
Are THC and CBD Legal?
THC remains a Schedule 1 illegal substance. This means it is illegal at the federal level. However, some states have legalized the use of THC for recreational purposes, medical purposes, or both.
The states of Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Illinois, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts have legalized the recreational and medical use of THC.
The states of Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Ohio have legalized the medical use of THC.
States like Kentucky, Kansas, Wyoming, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia still consider marijuana and THC illegal, no matter the use.
CBD has been legal across all 50 states since December 2018. However, the FDA still considers it a food supplement rather than a medical substance. It has not issued any recommended daily allowance, nor any guidelines regarding dosage. It is up to each consumer and their physician to decide whether to take CBD and what sort of dosage to follow.
CBD and THC
We have known about the potential of cannabis for centuries. People across continents have used cannabis to help alleviate conditions and relieve their pains.
Modern research has revealed much about cannabis and the role and effectiveness of cannabinoids. CBD has been identified as a cannabinoid with great potential in regards to inflammation, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. THC seems to assist with neurodegenerative diseases, anxiety, depression, migraines, and seizures.
Both CBD and THC are produced from the same plant. Throughout the centuries, however, growers have developed industrial Hemp as a cannabis subspecies that has very low THC content and very high CBD. Conversely, they have selectively bred marijuana strains—a type of cannabis with high THC content and low CBD.
While CBD has been legalized across the United States, THC remains illegal. This is due to its psychoactive, hallucinogenic, and intoxicating effects that cause concern to scientists and lawmakers.
As more is known, science could unveil a way to have all the benefits of THC without its adverse mental and physical side effects. CBD may well assist with that, leading to great breakthroughs for medicine.
Here at Synchronicity we avoid harsh CO2 extraction processes, use sustainable farming practices for all of our plants, and oversee the gentle hand-pressing and coconut oil fusion of our products. We work with third-party testing facilities to ensure that everything we create is safe and reliable. Synchronicity—the passionate Hemp Oil producers.