March 04, 2022

What Is THC? [A Guide For All]

Given that there are over a hundred natural compounds or cannabinoids in cannabis plants, you’ll want to discover more about the major types, like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Thus, you might raise questions like: “What is THC? What does THC do? What’s the difference between THC and CBD?” The list goes on.

Well, count yourself lucky because we’re sharing everything you need to learn about THC. If you want to know THC’s major characteristics, benefits, side effects, legality, and more, keep reading!

What’s THC & What Does It Do To The Brain?

THC — or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol — is a cannabinoid. It’s the major psychoactive compound found in cannabis. In other words, it’s what causes the feeling of “high” or euphoria when using cannabis products.

Now, you may still ask: “What does THC do to the brain?” To start, you should know that THC’s chemical structure resembles neurotransmitters like anandamide.(1) Neurotransmitters deliver chemical messages throughout our nervous system, affecting brain areas that regulate thinking, coordination, pleasure, memory, movement, and so on.

As a sort of doppelganger, THC similarly has an impact on these systems and functions via your endocannabinoid system (ECS). THC interacts with your ECS’s cannabinoid receptors, which are in those brain areas, and activates them. As a result, your concentration, pleasure, movement, and other functions may be affected.

THC vs CBD & Delta-8, Explained

Distinguishing THC from CBD and D8 helps you make well-informed buying decisions.


CBD is another dominant cannabinoid in cannabis plants. However — unlike THC — CBD is a non-psychoactive compound. Meaning it doesn’t make you feel high or intoxicated. Instead of stimulating cannabinoid receptors in the brain in the way THC does, CBD can actually alter how these receptors react to tetrahydrocannabinol.

Although CBD can be extracted from hemp or marijuana, it’s more prevalent in hemp. THC is also present in hemp and marijuana, but it’s more dominant in marijuana.

Full- and broad-spectrum CBD products also contain trace amounts of THC. Full-spectrum CBD products have all the natural compounds, including THC and CBD, terpenes, and several substances from cannabis plants. Once combined, they may create an entourage effect, making them more efficient than separate compounds.(2)

Want to maximize the benefits of the entourage effect without THC’s heavy-handed psychoactive effects? Broad-spectrum CBD could be a great option for you. This type of CBD retains all the inherent natural compounds you love to love in your cannabis, but with the THC stripped out.

However, if you prefer an absolutely THC-free product, you can use CBD isolates or pure CBD.

Delta-8 vs THC

Delta-8-THC (aka delta-8 or D8) has many properties that make it like THC. D8’s molecular structure is like delta-9’s and both cannabinoids interact with your ECS in similar ways. Research is pretty thin but suggests that delta-8-THC also boasts antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective capabilities.

The main difference between delta-8 and regular THC is the high you might experience. D8 offers a gentler ride — a mellower euphoria that isn’t accompanied by anxiety or paranoia — than THC.

The Beaucoup Benefits Of THC

While THC has been used centuries for recreational and therapeutic purposes, its use for medical applications is only now being explored with rigor. Here are some of the promising benefits of THC below:

May Ease Cancer Symptoms & Treatment Side Effects

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of two synthetic THC compounds: nabilone and dronabinol.(3) They are used to manage nausea and vomiting that result from cancer chemotherapy.

Patients taking medicine with THC together with standard therapies found better protection against chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting compared to those who only had standard therapy.(4)

Could Help Alleviate Pain

Another major potential benefit of THC is relief from chronic pain. A systematic review conducted in 2015 showed that among patients with chronic pain, THC could help minimize pain by about 40%.(5)

However, more research is necessary to identify the appropriate forms, combinations, and dosage that will give you the most benefits when you experience chronic pain.

Might Enhance Sleep

With its activation of CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, THC is also said to improve sleep. It may make the sleep latency period shorter and allow users to enjoy longer sleep.(6)

THC has been linked to improvement in slow-wave sleep or deep sleep. For instance, THC may help lower the amount of REM sleep.(7) This also means fewer dreams! Thus, someone experiencing PTSD might benefit from THC as it could reduce those nightmares.

However, because of some conflicting results from other studies, more research is necessary to show the effectiveness of THC in sleep.

Other Potential Benefits Of THC

The emerging benefits of THC don’t end with nausea reduction and  pain relief. THC could also aid with the management of the following health conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Symptoms linked to HIV/AIDS
  • Migraines
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Poor appetite
  • And more!(8)

How To Use THC

If you think THC can only be taken by smoking cannabis plants — you’re wrong. You have several options for consuming THC:

  • Sublingual administration. You can take THC through drops, sprays, or lozenges. There are also dissolvable strips that you can just place under your tongue.
  • Oral ingestion. This is possible through various THC-containing products like tinctures, edibles, and capsules. It may take a while to experience the effects, but these effects stay longer.
  • Inhalation. Inhaling THC produces effects after several minutes. While it can be vaped, the CDC and FDA noted that lung injuries are linked to these vaping products, so more examination is imperative.(9)
  • Topical application. You can also apply THC to your skin through oils, balms, lotions, and salves. Topical THCs are particularly helpful in alleviating pain and inflammation. Because of the localized application, you may not experience the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol.

Just make sure you’re consuming high-quality THC products. Only buy from a reputable retailer and confirm the THC contents by reading the package label and certificate of analysis.

But, if you have any medical concerns, check with your doctor before trying any THC products.

Potential Side Effects Of THC

Despite THC’s promising benefits, it also has its potential downsides. These may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Hypotension
  • Dysphoria(10)

THC may also cause:

  • Mood changes
  • Impaired memory
  • Altered senses
  • Impaired body movement
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Red eyes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Psychosis(11)

Taking higher levels of THC may impair brain development, too — most especially in teens.

Is THC Legal?

In the US, laws involving cannabis use continue to evolve. Along with industrial hemp’s legalization, cannabis plants and derivatives with no more than 0.3% THC are federally legal.

Given that THC comes with psychoactive effects, it’s only legal in states that approve the recreational or medical use of marijuana. With 38 states and the District of Columbia legalizing medical marijuana, many Americans could use cannabis for recreational and medical use.(12)

However, before purchasing CBD- or THC-containing products, read about your state’s laws first to avoid complications.

High-lights & Benefits Of THC — Cannabinoid Extraordinaire

THC is one of the main cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It’s present in both marijuana and hemp cultivars.

Unlike its counterpart CBD, THC offers a euphoric feeling. Potential benefits of THC — which are many — include nausea and pain alleviation. However, if you have any health conditions, check with your doctor before consuming THC.

Ready to experience the promising benefits of THC? Pure Craft offers a variety of highest-quality THC-containing products — including full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD. Try ‘em and find your favorites!



  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2020). How does marijuana produce its effects?
  2. Russo EB. (2019). The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No "Strain," No Gain. Frontiers in plant science.
  3. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2019). Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know.
  4. Pastor, A, et al.(2010). Preliminary efficacy and safety of an oromucosal standardized cannabis extract in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. British journal of clinical pharmacology.
  5. Whiting, F, et al. (2015). Cannabinoids for Medical Use: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.
  6. Anderson, J. (2020). Medical Marijuana’s Effect on Sleep.
  7. Schierenbeck, T, et al. (2008). Effect of illicit recreational drugs upon sleep: cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana. Sleep medicine reviews. /
  8. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2019). Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know.
  9. S. Food & Drug Administration (2020). Lung Injuries Associated with Use of Vaping Products.
  10. Ng, T, et al. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). StatPearls [Internet].
  11. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). What is marijuana.
  12. Berke, J, et al. (2021). Marijuana legalization is sweeping the US. See every state where cannabis is legal.

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