What is THC? About Tetrahydrocannabinol

Most concerns about CBD are because of tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. What is THC? How is it different from CBD?  Will it get me high? Is it legal? Does it show on a drug test? We examine THC, how it works and its’ effects.

What Is THC?

THC is a cannabinoid.  THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. It is one of the molecules contained in cannabis with known psychotropic effects. This active molecule of cannabis acts on the brain but also on the organs, which generates multiple effects such as hunger, the impression of dry throat, tiredness or euphoria.

How Does THC Work?

The psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol are caused by the association of the molecule with CB1 receptors located in specific areas of the brain. This association has the notable effect of acting on perception, motor skills, emotionality and satiety.

What is the difference between THC and CBD?

THC and CBD are both cannabinoids, chemicals derived from cannabis that act on the central nervous system, but their effects vary.

THC is the molecule that is sought after in recreational cannabis. “Consumed in a festive environment, it modifies the state of consciousness of the subject and leads to addiction. On the other hand, CBD is a cannabinoid that is gaining momentum in recent years because it is attributed, rightly or wrongly, medicinal virtues that remain to be proven, ” [1] says Dr. Julien Azuar, an Addiction Specialist.

The CBD has properties of well-being:

  • anxiolytic
  • anti-inflammatory
  • promotes relaxation, sleep
  • helps reduce stress

Unlike THC, it has no euphoric effect and does not cause addiction.

What Products Contain THC?

Low or trace levels of THC are found in Agricultural Hemp. Agricultural or Industrial Hemp is used for making CBD products. It contains less than 0.3% THC.

CBD is authorized for sale in the USA if the products contain less than 0.3% THC.  Use an CBD Isolate for no traces of THC. The highest chance of low trace levels of THC is in a full-spectrum CBD product.

High levels of THC are found in marijuana. Marijuana has a much higher THC content than CBD, hemp seeds or hemp oil. In many areas, Marijuana contains THC levels over the legal limit.

THC is prohibited in some countries. Different countries have different rules as to how much THC is acceptable within hemp and its’ end product. Check your local laws for exact levels.

You can determine if a hemp or CBD product has legally acceptable levels of THC by reading the Certificate of Analysis report.

What are the effects of THC on the body?

THC and CBD do not have the same effects on the body.

Cannabinoids from the cannabis plant will bind to receptors in the body. “THC will bind to CB1 receptors, which are located in the central nervous system, i.e. the brain. It is for this reason that THC causes psychotropic effects. But also on the CB2 receptors, which are used for many different things and are found mainly in the immune system. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to latch onto those receptors. It probably works according to other more complex mechanisms of action that are still under study, ” says the Addiction Specialist.

What are the effects on the brain?

THC has powerful psychoactive effects. Unlike CBD it causes a “high”.

Its consumption involves problems of concentration, sleep, stress and proves to be very harmful for the development of the brain, in adolescence. THC induces a strong dependence.

Is It detectable by blood test?

THC is detectable in a  blood test.

Is It detectable by saliva test?

Saliva tests are widely used to detect THC, especially when you are stopped while driving.

What are the dangers of THC?

“The consumption of THC leads to concentration disorders, a decrease in vigilance, short-term memory disorders, behavioral disorders, and therefore, an increase in accidental dangers”, informed specialist. In addition to the psychotropic effects associated with the consumption of cannabis, all the complications inherent in the inhalation of combustion products (cardiovascular disorders, lung cancer) are added when THC is smoked. ” If acute THC intoxication is not associated with a risk of overdose, the main danger lies in the collateral effects and the development of dependence,” he continues.

Summary of What is THC

Was What is THC about useful? Check out our CBD Guides such as How to find a reputable, quality CBD Vendor for CBD products with acceptable THC levels. Check out the non-psychotropic Cannabinoids such as CBC and CBN.


  1. The health and social effects of nonmedical cannabis use, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/substance_abuse/publications/msbcannabis.pdf

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