The Truth About THC and How It Gets You High
As everyone knows, smoking or ingesting cannabis can get you high. However, when you ask most people the reason for that, they’ll say it’s THC. While that’s technically true, there’s a lot more going on underneath the surface.
Now that cannabis is becoming legalized across the country, scientists are able to study the plant more extensively. As a result, we now know that there’s another element that can affect your high as much (or more) than THC – terpenes.
So, let’s break down these basic elements and figure out what’s really going on when you puff, puff, pass.
THC vs. Terpenes: Which One Gets You High?
The short answer is: both. However, the details of the situation are a little more nuanced than that, so let’s break down what each component is and how it affects your brain.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is one of over 140 cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, and it works with your body’s natural endocannabinoid system (ECS). THC affects the ECS and brain activity substantially, as it can impact motor functions, memory, and the release of dopamine.
According to scientists, the high feeling is actually THC triggering the brain to release large amounts of dopamine – much more than it would on its own. Since dopamine is the “feel good” chemical in the brain, it generates a positive buzz.
While THC has a profound effect on the brain, it can only do so much. If THC is the raw energy of cannabis, terpenes are like wires or cables that direct the energy to achieve specific results.
There are about 400 terpenes we’ve identified so far, but only a handful (about 15) of them have any remarkable effect on THC. Some of the most common terpenes include:
Each plant and strain has a complex mixture of terpenes, each of which can yield a different effect. In some cases, smoking weed may make you sluggish and unresponsive. In other cases, the terpenes could make you feel more energetic and talkative.
Does THC Potency Matter?
Again, the short answer is yes, but there’s a slight catch. If you’re just trying to get as high as possible and don’t really care how the plant affects your brain, then you should get plants with a high THC potency.
However, if you’re trying to smoke cannabis to achieve specific effects, then you have to pay close attention to the terpenes (and the type of weed it is, such as Sativa or Indica).
For example, linalool is good for relieving anxiety and panic attacks, and it may help relieve pain. By comparison, terpinolene works well as an anti-bacterial and can help you go to sleep faster.
As you can imagine, cannabis strains with high amounts of each terpene will yield significantly different results.
Get Your Cannabis Concentrates From Foothill Wellness
Overall, understanding the partnership between THC and terpenes can help you make more informed decisions about the type of cannabis you buy. If you still have questions regarding the truth about THC and how it gets you high, or about anything else, our team is more than happy to help. Contact us today to find out more.