Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

When I started this blog, way back in November of 2006, I made it my priority to post in a vague and interesting manner about drugs and poisons that the average person would probably know little to nothing about. However, the time has come, good reader, for my coverage of one of the big boys of the drug and poison world. Based on the queries that you have been making using that search box over yonder, I figured it was 'high' time that I discuss the drug we've all been waiting for... delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as you kids like to call it.

Now, I don't want to have to 'hash' out every last detail for y'all, so I'm gonna cover the basics, tell you to click here or here for more information, and then try to tell you something you didn't already know about THC. Given the subject matter, I felt that it was appropriate to discard my detached, sarcastic, and yet infinitely lovable persona and try to explain THC to you through the red eyes and giggle-injected ramblings of a terminal stoner. However, upon attempting to do so, I became distracted by an intense need for nachos. Ergo, back to normal.

Briefly, THC is the primary psychoactive (acts on your brain) compound found in marijuana / ganja / bhang / maconha, the leaf or flowering part of the plant Cannabis sativa. THC is what gets you stoned. When it is used on its own as a legal drug, THC is called dronabinol. Hashish / hash / kief / charas is resin from the Cannabis plant, while hash oil/honey oil is a concentrated extract of hashish. Both contain more THC than the plant itself. THC readily dissolves in fat, which is why people can cook marijuana in butter, use the butter to bake brownies or make rice krispie squares or what have you, and then eat the results to get stoned (see also: Neil Young's honey slides). THC is a cannabinoid, and acts via specific receptors for this class of compounds in a number of regions in the brain to produce its effects, which I expect you are all familiar with. It also is capable of directly stimulating the cardiac tissue of the heart, which is why tachycardia (increased heart rate) is a common symptom of marijuana use.

Click here or here for more information on marijuana/THC.

Things you may have not known about THC:

  • apparently some folks soak their jays in formaldehyde to increase the potency (strength) of the THC - they call this delightful preparation "dank", "boat", or "AMP" - I have no idea why they call it these things, or if it even works (let me know in the comments), but I do know that formaldehyde is toxic and probably carcinogenic
  • following the inhalation of marijuana smoke, THC typically reaches the brain within 15 seconds, since the lungs and the brain receive a lot of blood and THC can dissolve rapidly through tissues
  • giving THC by injection (e.g. intravenous injection of hashish oil) can cause cardiovascular collapse (heart stops working), disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (all of the blood in your bloody starts to clot), and/or death

6 chemically inspired comments:

Freedom Foundry said...

"Embalming fluid" is slang for PCP. Nobody smokes formaldehyde.

Anonymous said...

*and/or* death? Yes, I have cardiovascular collapse and whole-body blood clots, but I'm not dead, nosirree!

CND said...

Hey, I've heard of 'embalming fluid', but my understanding is that some people actually use formaldehyde. I've got to do more research, it seems.

Also, although the prognosis for both conditions is poor, cardiovascular collapse and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy can be treated sucessfully, so some people do survive!

catecholamine juggler said...

It is really queer if somebody would do THC i.v. without proper knowledge. Beware, the last action junkies are near to us.

Anonymous said...

ok embalming fluid is formaldehyde and the dip blunts and joints in it and call it a sherm stick in vegas. ive done it and you get so high you freak out...would not advise doing it.

Anonymous said...

Anybody tries to shoot thc has no concept of what the smoking of THC is all about. Their possible deaths aren't really all that big of a loss...