Science is learning much about cannabinoids. We now know how they form in cannabis plants. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is a particular favorite. It makes users “high.” It also offers an abundance of medicinal properties for healing and promoting homeostasis in the body. Weed delivery is now widely available in California and other legal states, so more and more, folks have easy access to it.
However, despite THC being a common household name these days, its fame overshadows its origins. Few know where it comes from, or how it really works. They know only that it will make them buzz and that it is good for them, but do you know anything more about it? Unlike other cannabinoids, THC is psychoactive. It is unique that way, and in others too.
THC is the notorious counterpart to cannabidiol, or CBD, the two being the most recognizable of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. THC, unlike CBD, is an endocannabinoid receptor agonist. This means that it binds directly to endocannabinoid receptors in your body, in a type of lock-and-key formation. It mostly affects receptors in the central nervous system and brain.
Its ability to interact in this way with your body’s own endocannabinoid system allows it to assist healing in various ways. It effectively relieves all manner of aches and pains, including arthritic, neuropathic, acute, and chronic pain. It treats inflammation, nausea, insomnia, fatigue, appetite problems, anxiety, depression, stress, mental issues, cancer, headaches, glaucoma, and more.
However, THC is not for everyone. While most cannabis enthusiasts enjoy it tremendously, it has an enormous following, not everybody enjoys the “high.” It alters mental state in numerous positive, yet very notable ways. For this reason, most folks use THC recreationally, and often in combination with medical use, but never for medical reasons alone.
Origins of THC
THC does not exist, per se, in raw cannabis buds. It begins its life as cannabigerol, or CBG, an inactive cannabinoid abundant in young plants, those still growing. As plants mature, start forming buds and flowering, CBG converts into a variety of different cannabinoid acids, only one of which is the inactive tetrahydrocannabinol acid, or THCA. To convert THCA into THC, it requires decarboxylation.
The process of decarboxylation involves activating inactive cannabinoids. It applies to turning cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, into CBD too, not only THCA, as well as all other inactive compounds. Decarboxylation requires heat. Heat will turn THCA into THC. This usually happens at the point of lighting your joint. Alternatively, you can heat raw buds in the oven or on the stove to activate their THC.
Where to Find THC
THCA forms in the buds themselves. You can find THCA in small quantities throughout the cannabis plant, including leaves, but it primarily concentrates in buds. Specifically, trichomes produce THC. Trichomes are pungent resinous glands that have several important functions, the production of cannabinoids being just one of them. Trichomes form on buds during the flowering phase.
These small resin glands are exclusive to female cannabis plants. Males produce pollen instead of trichomes. They are visible as tiny hairs on buds, which you mostly need a magnifying glass to see. They look like tiny mushrooms, with a stalk and a head. This head is rich in resinous cannabinoids. It is also abundant in terpenes, which give cannabis its particular flavor and aroma.
The synthesis of cannabinoids begins inside trichomes. These glands are a precursor for dozens of unique cannabinoids. They are extremely pungent, mainly to deter pests. At the same, however, they attract harmless pollinators, such as prey insects like the praying mantis and the ladybug. They are sticky, mainly to hold onto pollen. They are also potent, rich in psychoactive THC.
Two types of trichomes exist, namely non-glandular and glandular trichomes. Cystoliths, the trichomes without glands, have unique function all their own. However, having no resin glands, they do not produce THC. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the glandular trichomes that do, three different types exist, each with their own capabilities and reasons for existence:
Bulbous trichomes are the tiniest glandular trichomes of all. Invisible to the naked eye, they range in size from 10 micrometers to 15 micrometers. You cannot see them without magnification, and due to their small size, their capacity is sadly limited. They do contain cannabinoids, but other trichomes more so.
Capitate-sessile trichomes are bigger than their bulbous counterparts are. You find them underside sugar and fan leaves, and although larger than bulbous trichomes, they still require magnification to see. These trichomes have a tiny stalk and a head, and they produce more cannabinoids than bulbous ones.
Capitate-stalked trichomes are the biggest trichomes of all. Their size ranges between 50 micrometers and 100 micrometers wide. You can see these trichomes with the naked eye, and on the buds themselves. Their stalks are prominent, their gland heads large. They are the richest in cannabinoids.
Ongoing research is bringing to light even more benefits of THC. It is an integral part of the true cannabis experience and contains a horde of medicinal properties. Whether you use already activated THC, in edibles and extracts, for example, or whether you heat it yourself with a lighter or blowtorch, it surely is the most controversial and enjoyable of all cannabinoids.
What is more, THC is available for weed delivery in Santa Monica and surrounds. Simply search Google for “weed delivery near me” and you will find numerous options. You can find buds galore with different potencies. Some strains contain more THC than others do. As a result, some promise a more powerful kick. Just make sure you can see potency on the label before you buy, as testing is crucial to bud safety.