You know that THC causes you to feel high, but do you know why? Learn about how THC interacts with the endocannabinoid system.
After eating THC edibles, you normally feel relaxed, content, and perhaps a little giggly. You may also have heightened senses and experience “the munchies”. All of these feelings are familiar, but why do they actually happen?
To put it simply, THC works by binding to the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). When it links to the receptors in this system, it creates a high.
What is THC?
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main active ingredient in cannabis. It is a psychoactive compound that produces the “high” feeling associated with cannabis. By binding to cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), THC affects your mood, perception, and sensations.
This versatile cannabinoid has several chemical analogs, all with different potency levels and legal statuses. Delta-9 THC is the most popular because it’s the most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana plants, although it only exists in small amounts in hemp. Hemp-derived Delta-9 THC is federally legal in products like Delta-9 Gummies, which contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.
However, Delta 8 THC, the second most popular type of THC, is federally legal with no limitations when it’s hemp-derived. Unlike Delta-9 THC, it’s present in small amounts in both hemp and marijuana. Additionally, it’s only two-thirds as potent as Delta-9 THC because of how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
Found in all mammals, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of cellular receptors and chemical signals that help to regulate an array of physiological functions, including:
Cannabinoid receptors are most abundant in the brain and central nervous system. The two known types are CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the brain, CB2 receptors are in the immune system.
Our bodies produce molecules called endocannabinoids that stimulate these receptors. Cannabinoids found in cannabis, like THC and CBD, also stimulate them. THC and CBD can improve your well-being precisely because the ECS plays such a vital role in bringing balance to various aspects of the human body.
THC and the ECS
Although best known for its psychoactive effects, THC can also influence pain, sleep, mood, and hunger.
The speed at which THC binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS depends on the method of ingestion. If you smoke flower or use a vape pen, the THC enters your bloodstream within minutes and exerts its effects almost immediately. If you eat a THC gummy or other edible, the THC must first go through your digestive system before entering your bloodstream and binding to receptors. By this method, it can take 30 to 90 minutes to feel the effects of THC.
When THC binds to CB1 receptors, located mostly in the brain, psychoactive effects are the primary result while when THC binds to CB2 receptors, it tends to impact areas throughout the body experiencing pain, inflammation, and other issues.
Effects of THC on the Body
The exact effects of THC depend on your physical characteristics, how much THC you use, and how you consume it. Normally, people feel relaxed and happy after consuming THC, but if you take too much you may feel stressed. It’s also important to keep in mind that THC is intoxicating, so it can cause effects like an altered sense of time, impaired memory, and slowed reaction time
Start with a low dose and slowly increase it until you reach your desired effects. This is an especially good strategy if you are using gummies since the effects of gummies tend to last longer than the effects of other THC products. To ensure your experience is soothing, you may also want to consume CBD at the same time. CBD is known to inhibit the binding of THC to receptors, so taking it at the same time may reduce the psychoactive effects you experience.
Does Delta-8 THC work like Delta-9 THC?
Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC bind to the same receptors in the brain, but Delta-8 THC has a lower affinity for these receptors. This means that it is less psychoactive than Delta-9 THC.
In addition, Delta-8 THC is metabolized more quickly by the body, so it does not stay in the system as long as Delta-9 THC. People, therefore, find that they get a more relaxing and mellow experience from Delta-8 THC than they get from Delta-9 THC.
If you’re new to THC or want a less potent high, try Delta-8 Gummies.
You can also order a free THC gummies sample, to try legal THC gummies with a soothing balance of Delta-9 THC and CBD.
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WARNING: Keep THC products out of the reach of children and animals. THC products are for purchase and use only by persons 21 or older. Do not use them if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consuming THC products may impair your ability to drive and operate machinery and may cause sedation. Use extreme caution. Consult a doctor before using THC products. Do not use them if you are taking medication or may have a health condition.
Jessica is a content writer with seven years of experience. She’s passionate about holistic health and wellness, so she has focused on writing about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis for the past four years.