Definition - What does THC mean?
THC is the acronym used to identify the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol. This chemical occurs naturally in cannabis plants and may also be synthetically manufactured. THC has an intoxicating effect on those who consume it. Individuals who use marijuana or other THC delivery substances may feel euphoric and relaxed. As a drug, THC may be smoked or ingested.
THC is harvested from cannabis plants in three primary forms, marijuana, hashish, or hash oil. Marijuana is made from the dried leaves and flowers of the plant. Hashish is obtained from the plant's resin and usually has a higher concentration of THC than marijuana. Hash oil is extracted from hashish and is even more concentrated.
WorkplaceTesting explains THC
THC is one of the main active ingredients of marijuana. Currently, marijuana is categorized as a Schedule I drug under the U.S. Controlled Substance Act (CSA). Within the human body, THC acts as a neurotransmitter, interrupting the brain's natural signally process. This interruption occurs because THC's chemical structure resembles that of anandamide, a naturally occurring brain chemical. Such disruptions of the brain's communication system are significant and can lead to loss of motor function, memory problems, an increased heart rate, and other negative consequences.
However, the drug is also considered useful for some medical treatments. In particular, marijuana is sometimes prescribed to patients to help chronically ill patients alleviate pain and nausea as well as regain appetite.
As of 2017, use of marijuana and THC remains illegal under federal law. Nonetheless, many states have passed laws permitting the use of marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes. A synthetic version of THC, dronabinol, has been approved by the FDA for treatment of cancer and AIDs related nausea and appetite loss.