Scientists are discovering much about cannabis. They are studying its cannabinoids, most especially tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Science is interested in how and why it makes you buzz, as well as what exactly makes it so valuable medicinally. THC is highly beneficial. It offers therapeutic effects in abundance to help treat many health issues. It also promotes homeostasis throughout the body.
Every recreational dispensary New York has will know about THC. This cannabinoid is famous. Notorious. It makes stoned. Even so, almost nobody knows anything more about it. Researchers are just now learning how it works and where it exactly it originates. Cannabis is rich in cannabinoids. Different ones. THC is the only psychoactive one. This makes it unique, and in other ways too.
What is THC?
THC is but one cannabinoid of more than 100 found in weed plants. It is the most famous, the most recognizable, along with cannabidiol, or CBD, famed for its medical uses. Unlike CBD, however, THC is an endocannabinoid agonist. It binds itself to endocannabinoid receptors in your body, in a lock-and-key type formation. Mostly, it binds those receptors in the brain and central nervous system.
In this way, by interacting with your body’s own endocannabinoid system, it is aids healing in a variety of ways. It treats all types of pain effectively, including acute, arthritic, chronic, and neuropathic pain. It also treats appetite issues, anxiety, cancers, depression, fatigue, glaucoma, headaches, inflammation, insomnia, mental problems, nausea, stress, and so, so much more.
However, not everybody enjoys THC. While it is true that most love it, it has an enormous fan base, THC is not for everyone. It changes your mental state. Although mostly positive, these changes are significant. For this reason, most people enjoy THC recreationally. Some enjoy it while using it medicinally. Almost nobody uses THC solely for therapeutic use. You enjoy the buzz, or you do not.
Where does THC originate?
You will not find THC in raw cannabis bud. THC starts life as CBG, or cannabigerol. CBG is an inactive cannabinoid that is plentiful in growing plants. At flowering, CBG converts into various cannabinoid acids. One of these is tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA. Like all cannabinoid acids, THCA is inactive. It needs decarboxylation to convert into the psychoactive THC we all know and love.
All cannabinoid acids are inactive. To activate them, you need to apply heat. This is decarboxylation, the process of using heat to activate inactive cannabinoids. This is true of CBD too, which remains the inactive cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, until you light your joint, warm your oven, or otherwise apply heat to activate it. This is true of all other inactive cannabinoids.
Where do you find THC?
THCA, prior to decarboxylation, exists in the buds themselves. You might find trace amounts of it in leaves and other parts of the plant, but it concentrates mainly in buds. You find it in the resin. Specifically, in trichomes. These are resin glands with many functions, perhaps the most important of which is producing cannabinoids. Trichomes form at flowering, and they give plants their smell.
Only female plants have trichomes. Males make pollen instead. You mostly need a magnifying glass to see trichomes in all their glory. With the naked eye, you see tiny hairs, but they are much smaller, with a head and a stalk, like little mushrooms. Each of these tiny heads contains resin, abundant with cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes, which weed its particular aroma and flavor.
The magic of cannabis happens inside trichomes. This resin is where the plant synthesizes most of its cannabinoids. In these glands. They are very, very pungent. This pungency either attracts pollinators, like bees, or deters pests, like aphids. It also attracts predators, like mantises and ladybirds, to help keep pest numbers at bay. Trichomes are sticky. Potent too since they house psychoactive THC.
Types of Trichomes
Trichomes are either glandular or non-glandular. Those without glands, called cystoliths, have their own unique functions. However, since they have no resin glands, they have no THC. Glandular trichomes produce resin, and therefore THC. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are three types of glandular trichomes, each with their own functions and capabilities:
- Bulbous Trichomes
These are the smallest of all. You cannot see bulbous trichomes with the naked eye. Because they measure, at most, 15 micrometers in size, you need magnification. While these trichomes do have cannabinoids, their small size sadly limits their capacity.
- Capitate-Sessile Trichomes
Larger than bulbous trichomes, capitate-sessile trichomes are also recognizable by their location. You still need a magnifying glass to see them, and you find them underside sugar leaves, some fan leaves too. Because these are bigger than bulbous trichomes, they produce more cannabinoids.
- Capitate-Stalked Trichomes
Of all trichomes, capitate-stalked ones are the biggest. Some are as large as 100 micrometers in width, and you find them on buds themselves. You can see these trichomes. Easily. You can smell them too. They have prominent stalks, big heads, and an abundance of cannabinoids.
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Ongoing study is revealing more about THC and other cannabinoids. THC, specifically, is a fundamental part of the weed experience. It is medicinal too. No matter how you use it, in joints or edibles, it is unquestionably the most loved and most controversial of all cannabinoids. It is also available for delivery at any of the dispensaries New York offers. Just be mindful of potency. Always.