THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant, also known as marijuana. When used, either through ingestion or inhalation, it binds to specific receptors in the brain called cannabinoid receptors.
In low doses, the compound causes some pain reduction, may reduce aggression, can stimulate appetite, and may help reduce nausea. Higher doses may cause the “high” associated with marijuana, leading to altered perception of time and space, and feelings of happiness or fatigue.
Lab-produced forms of the chemical are often preferable in countries where the use of cannabis is illegal. The prescription drug Marinol®, containing lab-created THC, is used to treat eating disorders, to help relieve the side effects of chemotherapy, and to help counteract the devastating effects of full-blown AIDS. The compound has also been researched for its possible benefits in reducing the tics caused by people with Tourette Syndrome, and early research in this area suggests that it may be beneficial in this regard.
The chemical compound THC
Many people who take the prescription drug and who have also used THC in more natural forms feel that the chemical derived from cannabis is significantly more effective. The war on drugs in the US makes it very difficult to obtain cannabis legally in many places, though there are now states that provide limited access for people with certain illnesses as well as recreational use.