5) What THC is?

April 08, 2024 2 min read

thc legal


Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is an organic substance belonging to the cannabinoid family. Discovered and isolated in 1964 by Professor Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, it is the main psychoactive component of cannabis, whatever its variety (indica, sativa, ruderalis, industrial hemp). Its rate varies considerably, going from simple to triple depending on whether it is industrial hemp (low dose) or medicinal and recreational cannabis (higher dose). In addition to its psychoactive properties, THC acts as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic.
THC is present in two medications: Dronabinol and Sativex, used to alleviate pain related to multiple sclerosis.
Classified as a psychotropic substance by the UN since 1971, THC is banned in France and in many countries.


THC is a fragile molecule, discussed for its belonging to alkaloids due to the absence of nitrogen atom in its structure. It is heat labile and oxidizable, being able to transform into other compounds such as delta-8-THC, cannabinol or cannabidiol. Very lipid soluble, it crosses the blood-brain barrier and accumulates in fats. Its presence can be detected in the body several days or even weeks after ingestion.

THC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors and exists in synthetic form in drugs like Marinol and Syndros.

Medicinal effects: Medically, THC has analgesic and therapeutic properties, often prescribed as a hemp mother tincture or Sativex to treat a variety of conditions such as appetite disorders, glaucoma, chronic pain, and chemotherapy-related nausea.

Psychoactive effects: The psychoactive effects of THC vary between individuals and consumption patterns. It is primarily smoked but can also be ingested or vaporized. When ingested, it produces a different and prolonged psychotropic experience.

Toxicity: Although the lethal dose of THC in humans has not been established, overdose is impossible. However, high dose exposure can cause genetic damage and increase the risk of cancer.


THC is classified as a psychotropic substance by the UN and is subject to strict regulations in many countries. It has been listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia since the 1980s. Other isomers of tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-6a(10a)-THC, delta-6a(7)-THC, delta-7-THC, delta-8-THC , delta-10-THC and delta-9(11)-THC) are listed at a stricter level (List I)

Please feel free to share your experiences and opinions about THC and its medicinal use in the comments below. Your contribution is valuable to enrich the discussion on this subject.

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