Although it is not known how many cannabinoids are identified in cannabis, THC is the psychoactive component of the plant. Although it is often referred to as multiple isomers of THC, the term usually refers to a Delta-9-tetrahydrcannabinol isomer.
Only three cannabinoids are scheduled by the United Nations Convention On Psychotropic Substances. These include delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and dronabinol. Although it was listed under the more restrictive schedule I in 1971, it was reclassified to schedule II in 1991.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC, is the primary component of the marijuana plant. It’s believed that this compound travels to the brain and activates the endocannabinoids in the brain.
Nabiximols is a cannabis extract that was approved in the UK in 2010 as a mouth spray to treat neuropathic pain and other symptoms. Its active ingredient is THC.
The partial agonist activity of THC is mainly directed at the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are located in the central nervous system and the immune system. These two receptors can trigger the psychoactive effects of THC.
The body’s metabolism produces 11-OH-THC and 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC. Although many metabolites can be identified, the dominant metabolites are 11-OH-THC and THC-COOH. The enzymes involved in the liver’s metabolism are known as CYP2C9.
Although very low solubility in water, THC can be very good in most organic solvents.
A total synthesis of this compound was reported in 1965 using an alkyl lithium attack to form fused rings. The formation of the ether was also initiated by a tosyl chloride-mediated reaction.
In the Cannabis plant, THC is mainly produced as tetrahydrocannabinol acid, or THCA. This is a 2-COOH-THC compound that can be decarboxylated. When heated, THCA is converted into cannabigerolic acid.
THC and its metabolites can be detected in various body fluids and drugs use testing programs. These include urine, hair, and oral fluid.
Due to the increasing popularity of recreational use of cannabis in North America, demand for THC monitoring methods has increased. Currently, breath sampling is the most prevalent method to detect THC in urine.
In 2003, the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on drug Dependence recommended that THC be classified as a Schedule IV drug. In 2018, the US farm bill passed allowing the sale of products that do not exceed 0.3% THC. After August 21, 2020, all forms of THC, including those with a delta-9 designation, were deemed illegal under the CSA.
Female cannabis plants contain 113 cannabinoids, which are believed to have anti-convulsant and pain-reducing effects. They include cannabidiol and cannabichromene.
In October 2018, Canada’s recreational use of cannabis was officially recognized. As of October 2018, some 220 dietary products and 19 veterinary health products were approved for use with general health claims.
Due to the illegal nature of THC, which is the main psychoactive component of cannabis, research material related to the drug is restricted in most countries. In the US, the only source of cannabis for researchers is the National Institute of Drug Abuse, which is controlled by the Department of Justice. Despite an announcement in 2016 that would allow licensed growers to sell their products, no such licenses were ever issued.
In April 2014, the Academy of Neurology stated that there was evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana for treating pain and multiple sclerosis. However, further studies were needed to determine the effects of the drug on other neurological disorders.
Results of multiple high quality trials indicate that oral cannabis extract and THC are probably effective for improving the subjective experience of spasticity.
Trials conducted on subjects with central nervous system disorders showed that both THC and oral cannabis extract were effective in treating these conditions.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, rated the effects of oral cannabis extract and THC on bladder dysfunction in multiple sclerosis patients.
There is no reliable evidence that shows that THC or oral cannabis extract can help treat Huntington disease. Trials that tried to measure the effects of these drugs were too small to provide reliable results.
Based on a single study, the use of oral cannabidiol (CBD) extract for the treatment of levodopa-induced dyskineticsia in Parkinson’s disease was not shown to work.
A 2009 Cochrane review did not find evidence suggesting that the use of cannabis for Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies on the effects of oral cannabis extract and THC on tics were conducted to investigate the potential usefulness of these products.