Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most abundant and psychoactive cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant. It is the primary chemical responsible for the euphoric high weed usually imparts its consumers. Because of this effect, most cannabis strains are genetically bred to contain high levels of THC—in fact, THC levels today are higher than they have ever been. The average strain has somewhere between 15% and 20% THC. Now, you can get THC pills with upwards of 90% THC content.
Potential Side Effects of THC Pills
THC pills, whether extracted from whole plant cannabis or synthesized, have the potential to contain extremely high levels of THC—some may even contain over 90% THC. Medically speaking, this means that the pills will likely treat a host of ailments rather quickly and without compromising the lungs or integrity of the plant’s chemical profile via smoking. However, extremely high levels of THC can also induce the following common symptoms of cannabis, except at a much higher intensity:
- Feelings of paranoia or anxiety
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased appetite
- Temporary Cognitive impairment
It’s important to do your research before ingesting extremely high concentrations of THC. Make sure that you are in a safe environment, preferably with someone you trust, especially if this is your first time. If things get too intense, try to remember that the side effects of cannabis products are not permanent and will usually be reduced or gone in a couple of hours.
The following brands make THC pills that contain reasonable levels of THC and simple, safe ingredients.
Stratos THC Pills
Stratos has a few options depending on the consumer’s desires. They offer both medical and recreational THC pills designed for energy, relaxation, and sleep. Each product is made from the whole plant, CO-2 extracted cannabis.
Essential Extracts Rosin Capsules
Essential Extracts is known for its freeze-dried, solvent-less extracts. This product comes with ten 10 mg THC capsules for a total of 100 mg THC.
Delta9 THC Capsules
For a powerful punch, each container of Delta9 THC Capsules comes with ten pills loaded with 30 mg of THC each.
A Note on Marinol…
Marinol is not actual cannabis. It is a highly potent synthetic version of THC produced by the pharmaceutical company AbbiVie Inc.
THC: More Than Just A Recreational Substance
While the high continues to be the most sought-after experience among cannabis consumers, THC is more than just a recreational substance. It has a host of medicinal effects as well. A 2013 study found that even a low dose of vaporized THC was an effective treatment for neuropathic pain with minimal and well-tolerated psychoactive effects easily reversible within a couple of hours. A 2015 study found that THC combined with CBDA is an effective treatment for acute nausea. This publication builds on decades worth of literature implicating THC in the reduction of chemotherapy-induced nausea. A June 2018 study found that both isolated THC and botanical drug preparations of cannabis (whole plant extracts) both demonstrated anti-tumor effects significant enough to warrant further investigation into cannabis as an anti-cancer therapy. Several additional studies conducted throughout the decades have found that THC may be neuroprotective—one of those studies even suggested the pot use is associated with a decreased risk of dying from a traumatic brain injury. In addition to these incredible findings, THC has been identified as an effective sleep aid, treatment for PTSD, appetite stimulant, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, muscle relaxant, and anticonvulsant.
All of these effects are a result of THC’s interaction with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is comprised of endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes. Endocannabinoids are chemicals similar to THC and CBD that are produced by the body’s brain. Phytocannabinoids (THC, for example) are chemicals that come from plants. Cannabinoid receptors are molecular pathways that these cannabinoids interact with. Depending on the cannabinoid and the receptor, the interaction between the two will trigger varying effects. For example, THC binds to CB1 receptors. These receptors are mainly located in the central and peripheral nervous system, which is why THC has such a psychoactive effect.
While the science illustrates a beneficial relationship between THC and the ECS, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a significant difference between the effects of isolated THC and THC ingested from whole plant cannabis.
Isolated THC V.S. Whole Plant
Whole plant cannabis refers to cannabis flower or flower extracted products that contain a chemical compound profile very similar to what the parent plant had in nature. While THC is the most abundant and extensively researched cannabinoid, it is not alone. There are approximately 100 other cannabinoids native to the cannabis plant, each with their own unique therapeutic efficacy (though the research on these other cannabinoids is severely lacking). Most notable of those cannabinoids is cannabidiol, or CBD. Like THC, CBD also interacts with the ECS, but it binds to different cannabinoid receptors, none of which induce any psychoactive effects. In fact, CBD tempers THC’s psychoactivity, an attribute that mitigates THC’s potential adverse side effects like anxiety and paranoia.
Another medicinal feature of the cannabis plant is its terpene profile. Terpenes are the volatile chemical compounds responsible for each strain’s unique aroma. In addition to their olfactory effect, terpenes imbue cannabis with characteristics that protect the living plant from unwanted pests like fungus or insects and the harvested plant with therapeutic attributes that make cannabis all the more enticing to the wellness-minded.
A 2011 study found that, like CBD, some terpenes may inhibit the potency of THC in a way that makes both chemical compounds even more medically viable. The synergistic relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes has been called the “entourage effect,” and it is the reason that some researchers believe that whole plant cannabis is far superior to isolated cannabinoid derivatives or synthetic cannabinoids. One study found that the entourage effect “could produce synergy with respect to the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, and fungal and bacterial infections.”
Isolated cannabinoids, on the other hand, can also be medically effective. Additionally, because they must be processed extensively, they are more easily regulated than whole plant cannabis. However, as in most instances when humans try to outsmart nature, those concoctions are reduced versions of the naturally powerful cannabis plant.