THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is among the cannabinoids discovered in cannabis. It is the dominant psychoactive component of cannabis. Like several pharmacologically functioning secondary metabolites of plants, in cannabis, THC is the lipid involved in the plant’s evolutionary adaptation. It acts putatively against ultraviolet light, insect predation, and environmental stress.
THC-free distillate double bond isomers and stereoisomers are among the three cannabinoids the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances scheduled. FDA approves the pharmaceutical form of THC. Dronabinol is an appetizer for people living with AIDS and an antiemetic for those receiving chemotherapy with trade names syndromes and Marinol.
The plant’s primary component, marijuana, causes psychoactive effects. When the blood absorbs smoked THC, it travels to the brain and attaches to the naturally-occurring endocannabinoid receptors found in the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. These are brain parts responsible for pleasure, memory, thinking, coordination and movement.
THC Medical Use
THC is the Nabiximols active ingredient of a cannabis-specific extract. The UK was approved as a botanical drug for mouth spray by people who have multiple sclerosis. It reduces neuropathic pain, overactive bladder, spasticity, among other symptoms.
Mechanisms of Action
THC-free distillate actions result from partial agonist cannabinoid receptor activity in the central nervous system and receptor as significantly expressed in immune system cells. The THC psychoactive effects primarily are mediated by cannabinoid receptor activation.
It results in decreased second messenger molecule concentration through adenylate cyclase inhibition.
THC can bind non-specifically in various brain and body parts like adipose tissue as a lipophilic molecule. THC and those cannabinoids containing a phenyl group exhibit mild antioxidant activity to protect neurons from oxidative stress like that produced by glutamate-induced excitotoxicity.
THC aims receptors in a much less selective way than released endocannabinoid molecules during retrograde signaling since the drug has lower cannabinoid receptor affinity. THC has more downregulation of cannabinoid receptors as compared to endocannabinoids. THC’s pharmacodynamics tolerance limits the maximum effects of some medicines. Its evidence that such patience mitigates unwanted effects that enhance the therapeutic window of the drug.
The body metabolizes THC. The metabolite is psychoactive and further undergoes oxidation. Over 100 metabolites can be identified in animals and humans.
Metabolism mainly happens in the liver by cytochrome enzymes. About 55% of THC will be excreted from the body.
Chemical and Physical Properties of THC
Structure Identification and Discovery
Cannabidiol was identified and isolated in 1940 from Cannabis sativa. In 1964 THC was isolated. Its structure was elucidated by synthesis.
THC solubility in water is very low. It’s highly soluble in several organic solvents such as alcohols and lipids.
The compound’s total synthesis was observed in 1965. The procedure brought about intramolecular alkyl lithium attack to carbonyl forming fused rings and mediated ether formation by tosyl chloride.
THC-free distillate in cannabis occurs as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. Olivetolic acid and geranyl pyrophosphate react with an enzyme as catalyst producing cannabigerol acid. When heated or overtime, this acid has THCA. When decarboxylated THCA forms THC, the THCA biosynthesis pathway is the same as the one that makes bitter acid humulone.
Identification in Body Fluids
Metabolites of THC are quantified and detected in blood, oral fluid, hair, urine, and sweat using chromatographic and immunoassay combination techniques. It’s done in a forensic investigation or as in a drug-testing program. THC’s median lethal dose in humans is unknown.
THC status is an illegal drug in many countries and imposes research material funding and supply restriction. In some, cannabis is legally allowed for medical uses. However, cultivation, distribution, manufacture, therapeutic applications, and clinical research haven’t been legalized.
Cannabis extracts were found effective in treating some symptoms of pain and multiple sclerosis. Enough evidence lacked for treating other neurological diseases. Medical marijuana is qualified in treating chronic pain and spasticity without causing several short-lasting adverse events like dizziness.
Spasticity: Oral cannabis extract was found effective. THC improves the spasticity of objective measures.
Pain: For painful spasms and centrally mediated pain, THC was found effective.
THC Available Forms
Capsule: it contains cannabis oil and certain dietary supplement products.
Smoking: burning and inhaling the vaporized cannabinoids or smoke.
Vaporizer: any cannabis form and heat is evaporating the active ingredients without burning the material plant.
Cannabis tea: it contains small amounts of THC.
Edibles: added to a variety of foods such as baked foods and butter as an ingredient.
The distillate is a purified liquid from a condensed vapor during distilling. THC-free distillate for medical use requires a prescription, and distribution is done within the local law framework.