THC and marijuana — a love story. Or, rather, a story of dependence. You can’t have one without the other. If you weren’t aware of how interconnected THC and marijuana are to one another, we’re here to break it down for you. Literally, it requires some break-down to understand just how intertwined their relationship is.
How THC and marijuana are related
So, just how related are THC and marijuana? Are they brothers? Father and son? Probably more so the latter. THC is found not only in marijuana but can be found in cannabis itself, or the hemp plant. Marijuana, in other words, is a psychoactive variety of cannabis. You may be aware of the two predominant strains — Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica — as well as hybrid strains, or a combination of the two.
However, as a naturally occurring cannabinoid in cannabis, THC originates as THCA. After being exposed to heat or a given length of time, THCA becomes our psychoactive THC. Though not the main reason, this is why eating cannabis in a cold salad isn’t exactly a recommended form of consumption (among other reasons, of course). If you’re consuming THC in some way, you’re likely using it for some sort of desired effect. THC can affect the brain and body differently and offer certain benefits. However, if you do plan to use this drug (because yes, it is a drug), you should do so responsibly and legally. We cover current legality in the section below.
Why THC exists
Curious why THC exists at all? Was it just an accidental discovery one day? Though not the first recorded “use,” per se, THC was first isolated in 1967. However, the term “marijuana” is actually a Mexican slang term first coined in 1937. And, furthermore, cannabis, generally speaking, has an even longer history of use by humans, going all the way back to 2727 BC.
THC’s purpose extends beyond psychoactivity, much like honey serves a natural purpose beyond a sweetener in our tea. THCA and THC are produced by the glands on the surface of the cannabis plant called trichomes. THC’s specific role in these trichomes may be to serve as a pesticide or an antimicrobial. In fact, trichomes are found on a wide variety of plants, not just cannabis. So, what do these hair-like trichomes do? Well, trichomes complete a variety of functions, including:
- Defense from predators
- Water-retention and frost-prevention
- Attract pollinators
What does THC have to do with CBD?
If you’re reading this with some knowledge or little knowledge of CBD, we’re also here to help you out, too. You may hear THC and CBD thrown around in the same sentence. After all, if they come from the same source, cannabis, that is, then why do CBD retailers and manufacturers say things like “THC-free?” Since CBD and THC are both cannabinoids that come from cannabis, the plants must be subjected to certain extraction techniques in order to isolate what’s wanted and what’s not. You may be familiar with a few different spectrums of CBD, that is:
- Broad-spectrum: A wide, i.e. broad spectrum of cannabinoids, but no THC
- Full-spectrum: A complete, i.e. full spectrum of cannabinoids, thus traces of THC (0.3% or less to be legal)
- Isolate: Isolated CBD, that is, just CBD
Where they’re legal (and where they might be soon)
Curious if THC — either medicinal or recreational — is legal in your state or a neighboring state? Check out this handy marijuana legality map. Though, if you’re passionate about the legality of THC and marijuana in your state or neighboring areas, it may benefit you to expand your involvement in a grassroots movement, for example. Of course, seeing as this is an election year, there may be some big changes in marijuana’s future in the coming months.
For more THC news and educational resources, check out the rest of Direct THC’s blog.