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How THC Works In The Body?

To grasp how THC works in the body, we must first comprehend what THC is and how it can improve or degrade our health. Specific cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) link with tetrahydrocannabinol in the endocannabinoid system (THC). It has a significantly higher affinity for CB1 receptors, particularly those in the brain. It works by imitating the effects of anandamide, a neurotransmitter found in the brain that controls sleep, hunger, and pain perception. THC interacts with CB2 receptors in the peripheral nervous system, metabolic tissue, and immune system to serve as an anti-inflammatory.

THC reduces transmission between the sensory and affective parts of the brain, according to a 2016 study by C. Walter et al. By separating the sensation of pain from its emotional significance, this decreases the overall perception of pain. This is critical since pain's emotional aspects are linked to a person's sense of self. THC may potentially act as an anti-cancer agent by eliminating cancer cells, reducing tumor growth, and assisting the body in tumor identification, according to growing data.

Effects And Common Uses

As previously stated, cannabis' high can cause a range of symptoms, including a distorted sense of time and space, increased appetite, reduced short-term memory, feelings of happiness, and occasional drowsiness. THC has showed promise in low dosages for its capacity to relieve pain and muscular spasms, promote appetite, and aid lessen nausea (among other things), all while having a safety profile that pharmaceuticals can't match. Each of these effects varies significantly depending on who uses it, their age, how much they use it, how they use it, and how often they use it.

Tolerance, Dependence, Addiction, And Overdose

There is a risk of acquiring a tolerance, dependency, or addiction to any psychoactive drug. THC has the potential to be troublesome for 6% to 9% of the population. Most people are familiar with the term "addiction," but what about "tolerance" and "dependence"?


The molecular formula of THC written in black on a white background
The molecular formula of THC written in black on a white background

Tolerance is a natural side effect of chronic usage, and it occurs with many medications taken on a regular basis for lengthy periods of time. Tolerance develops when the liver improves its ability to break down and metabolize the drug (pharmacokinetic tolerance), or when the total number of receptors or the strength of the link (affinity) between the drug and the receptor declines (pharmacodynamic tolerance). So, your body can and does develop a tolerance for cannabis in two ways. Tolerance is not the same as dependence or addiction, because tolerance for a drug can grow without becoming an issue of dependency or addiction.

Dependence Vs. Addiction

Dependence refers to a strong urge to feel the drug's effects, and it might be physical or psychological.

Cannabis addiction is often minor, with no serious medical or mental consequences. It also happens significantly less frequently than alcohol, tobacco, or other drug addiction. When a person becomes addicted to a drug, they may have cravings for it or moderate withdrawal symptoms such as irritation, anxiety, or insomnia if they stop using it.

Addiction, on the other hand, is defined as a drug's compulsive and overpowering use. The insatiable desire to use takes precedence over everything else, including family, friends, work, and even one's own health and happiness. Cannabis does not often cause this type of behavior in users, yet, as previously said, 6 percent to 9% of cannabis users may develop problems as a result of their use. These figures are tiny when compared to other controlled medicines like OxyContin (oxycodone), which are prescribed and taken on a daily basis and have a well-known and very significant risk of addiction. Cannabis' overall safety record much beyond that of medications like these.


While it is possible to overmedicate and endure severe adverse effects while taking THC-containing medications, a deadly overdose with cannabis is practically hard to achieve. "Lethal overdoses from cannabis and cannabinoids do not occur because cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not found in the brain stem areas controlling breathing," according to the National Cancer Institute.

What To Do If You Overmedicate With THC

Two balls of cannabis flower sitting on a brown leaf
Two balls of cannabis flower sitting on a brown leaf

Perhaps you've heard of someone overmedicating with THC, or maybe you've done it yourself. These stories aren't uncommon, and one negative experience with THC might turn individuals off cannabis completely. This is why, when it comes to THC, CBD, or any other cannabinoid-based therapy, you'll often hear the advise to "start low and go slow." Your body can acclimatize to the treatment by starting with a modest dose of 1 milligram and gradually increasing it over time. But what should you do if you over medicate with THC by accident?

The first and most crucial thing to remember is to be cool and remember that the experience is not life-threatening (though it may feel that way) and will only last a short time. You may feel sick, agitated, and paranoid after overmedicating with THC, as well as have a faster heart rate. Find a quiet, safe place where you can restrict your inputs and practice deep breathing. Dr. Andrew Weil's "4-7-8 technique" entails breathing deeply for four counts, holding your breath for seven counts, and then slowly breathing out for eight counts. This should be repeated multiple times to calm the body, mind, and neurological system. Make sure you get lots of water!

Gentle external stimuli, such as relaxing music, television, or a hilarious movie, can help you get out of your brain, according to Dr. Jordan Tishler. "Over-intoxication gives the impression that it will never end." Remind yourself that it will come to an end. "Make an effort to sleep."

You can also try taking CBD, which has been demonstrated to help counteract the harmful effects of overmedicating anecdotally. Initial animal studies suggest that CBD may counteract the negative psychological effects of THC, though further research is needed to establish if this holds true in humans.

Though CBD does not appear to lessen the THC high, its anti-anxiety properties appear to be highly beneficial!


THC is frequently recommended in conjunction with CBD in medicine for a range of ailments. Sativex, a medication that contains THC, is used to treat muscle spasms and stiffness associated with multiple sclerosis. It is not currently available for usage in the United States, despite showing promise in early clinical trials.

You can buy THC isolate — the THC molecule by itself — in areas where cannabis is legal for recreational and/or medical use to get the effects of the cannabinoid without any potential influence from the numerous other compounds in weed.

About The Authors

Suleman Shah

Suleman Shah - Suleman Shah is a researcher and freelance writer. As a researcher, he has worked with MNS University of Agriculture, Multan (Pakistan) and Texas A & M University (USA). He regularly writes science articles and blogs for science news website immersse.com and open access publishers OA Publishing London and Scientific Times. He loves to keep himself updated on scientific developments and convert these developments into everyday language to update the readers about the developments in the scientific era. His primary research focus is Plant sciences, and he contributed to this field by publishing his research in scientific journals and presenting his work at many Conferences. Shah graduated from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (Pakistan) and started his professional carrier with Jaffer Agro Services and later with the Agriculture Department of the Government of Pakistan. His research interest compelled and attracted him to proceed with his carrier in Plant sciences research. So, he started his Ph.D. in Soil Science at MNS University of Agriculture Multan (Pakistan). Later, he started working as a visiting scholar with Texas A&M University (USA). Shah’s experience with big Open Excess publishers like Springers, Frontiers, MDPI, etc., testified to his belief in Open Access as a barrier-removing mechanism between researchers and the readers of their research. Shah believes that Open Access is revolutionizing the publication process and benefitting research in all fields.

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