61 Chemicals in Weed – Substances – Effects – Uses – Legalization
Weed or also known as marijuana or cannabis, is the natural plant with the scientific name of Cannabis sativa L. Cannabis is widely found in tropical areas. Fresh herbal cannabis consists of the dried flowering tops and leaves. Weed is popularly used as the drugs like tobacco, alcohol and caffeine. Weed is commonly smoked, often mixed with tobacco. Based on survey from NSDUH in 2010, it’s shown that 17.4 million people in United States said that they have used cannabis in the past month. It’s said that marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drugs in United States. It’s about 4 out of 10 people in US have used marijuana at least once in their life (as per National Institutes of Health)
Origin of Weed
Natural raw weed plant started to be imported into Europe from the West Africa, the Caribbean or South-East Asia. While the weed resin is commonly found in the North Africa. As it’s imported to Europe, people started to conduct indoor cultivation intensively. This was not only happening in Europe but also in the area outside Europe. In Americas, the extraction of cannabis was getting popular in 1800s.
Weed plant was getting more popular as there were many cultivation method options available at that time. It was easy for people at that time to produce weed with the indoor cultivation. As the production kept growing, people paid more attention to this plant. They did the research to get more understanding about this plant, especially to its chemical containment.
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The main psychoactive containment of weed is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This THC compounds are heavily found on the flowering parts of the female plant instead of male plant. There’re some cannabis forms available like the cannabis resin, cannabis oil and raw cannabis. Cannabis resin is a compressed solid made from the resinous parts of the plant. It’s commonly produced in 250 gram blocks.
While the cannabis oil, also known as hash, is a solvent extract of cannabis. Marijuana can also be ingested in food, often a choice of those who are using medical marijuana. Foods which contain marijuana is often called edibles. Edible marijuana can be added to several foods, including candy, ice cream and butter.
Lists of Chemicals in Weed
The chemical element of weed is complex. This statement is delivered by Oakley Ray, Professor of Psychology and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University and Charles Ksir, Professor of Psychology at University of Wyoming. They said that the isolation and extraction of active ingredients in weed is difficult to accomplish. Cannabis is quite different compared to other psychoactive plants in the world.
Weed is the alkaloid type plant and it has no nitrogen. On the early research, on the 19th century, chemist found it’s hard to examine its active component. Even though they had successfully isolated the active chemicals from other psychoactive plants, they were unable to do the same with the cannabis.
1. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
This compound is the one that will make you ‘high’. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol (delta – 9 – tetrahydrocannabinol) is formed when you heat or dry the weed. This chemical is made up from the cooking, smoking or extracting process of weed. As this chemical go into your body, it will easily bind with the special receptors called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are located in our central nervous system and immune system.
Meanwhile, THC is also beneficial for those who have the appetite issues. People with some certain diseases may undergo the appetite problems that that will make their condition even worse. Researches show that THC can help these people by improving their appetite. Report also shows that there are people using this THC for the glaucoma relief.
The Effects of THC Compound in Weed
What will you feel after being affected by this chemical? Yes, you will feel more relaxed. It stimulates your brain cells to release dopamine then will create the euphoria. It can induce hallucinations, cause delusions and thinking changing. This effect of chemicals in marijuana can last about 2 hours. In the extreme case, THC can cause anxiety, elation, short time memory recall issues and tachycardia.
In contrast, this compound can also reduce your pain and significantly improve your appetite. THC has some benefits to cure some health problems in the world. Based on some health studies, THC is proved to be able to treat some diseases like Crohn’s disease, chronic pain, sleep apnea, anxiety, ALS, Alzheimer’s, chemotherapy side effects, insomnia, HIngtington’s disease, Tourette syndrome and some others.
If you have undergone chemotherapy, you may experience the vomiting or nausea. Based on the medical report, it’s shown that THC can actually decrease the nausea and vomiting as the side effects from chemotherapy.
2. THCa (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid)
THCa or Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid is the original form of THC. Before the weed is being processed through smoking, cooking or extracting, it contains the chemical compound called THCa. THCa the non-psychoactive substance since it’s contained in the fresh form of weed.
Dr. William Courtney of Mendocino County is the one who actively promotes the benefits of fresh cannabis juice. He strongly believes that the THCa formed in the fresh weed is more effective than the THA which is found after the weed is being dried or processed. He said that there must be medical properties which are lost during the drying or heating process of any plant, including cannabis. He also said that the fresh weed can be metabolized in bigger doses than THC which then make it more effective than the processed weed.
The Effects of THCa Compound in Weed
Based on the previous researches, THCa is found to have anti-flammatory and anti-proliferative capabilities. It will further reduce the risk of getting the cancer disease since that substance can potentially inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Just like THC, THCa has abundance of benefits related to curing some diseases.
It’s said to be beneficial to the chronic immune system diseases. The fresh weed juice can be used as the treatment for the chronic lupus, which has been proved by the wife of Dr. William Courtney. Previously, she had undergone some different treatments for curing her disease before starting to use the fresh cannabis juice method. Some reports also said that the anti-inflammatory ability from THCa can help those who experience problems like arthritis and menstrual cramps.
3. CBD (Cannabidiol)
CBD or cannabidiol is another chemical substance found in the raw cannabis. Just like THCa, it’s the non-psychoactive chemical type. This chemical is getting more popular since some researches are being conducted to find out the detailed properties of this chemical and its effects to our lives. CBD is said to have some beneficial properties like anti-anxiety, anti-convulsive, anti-psychotic, anti-rheumatoid, anti-nausea and other sedatives substances.
The Effects of CBD Compound in Weed
From its containment, we know that this chemical can be perfectly used to overcome the mental problems like anxiety, depression and mood disorders. Besides, this Cannabidiol is also effective to treat some diseases like arthritis, acne, dravet syndrome, diabetes, inflammation, glaucoma, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and some others.
It’s also known that CBD can stop the growth of cancer cells, like what THCa does. More researches are currently performed to get more understanding regarding the benefits of CBD especially in treating human’s diseases. Thus, the reasearch is still holding by the international health institue whether it’s good or not.
4. CBN (Cannabinol)
CBN or Cannabinol is the next form of THC. This chemical is formed after THC meets light and oxygen. This cannabinol has the slight psychoactive effects with the stronger effect than the THC. This chemical has the ability of anti-epileptic and anti-spasmodic.
It’s also known that CBN can be effective as reliever for intraocular pressure. Recently, researchers suggest that cannabinol can be used as antidepressant which can prevent convulsions and reduce pains. CBN can also be beneficial to cure glaucoma, inflammation and insomnia. This chemical compound is often associated as the natural aspirin or non-narcotic pain reliever with the three times stronger dose.
The Effects of CBN Compound in Weed
However, you need to keep in mind that the CBN is way stronger than the THC. If you consume this chemical, you may feel groggy or dizzy. It will make your body more ‘high’ than what THC does. If don’t really want get that ‘high’ level, you need to keep your weed in the dark spot and airtight container in avoiding the presence of light and oxygen.
5. CBC (Cannabichromene)
Cannabichromene or CBC is popular for its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral ability. It also contributes to the analgesic effect of medical weed. Based on the research, CBC can potentially stop the growth of cancerous tumors. This can be done due to CBC interaction with the anandamide, the endocannabinoid popularly known to stop breast cancer. In 2011, there was the study conducted in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
They found out that CBD and CBC stimulated descending pathways of anti-nociception and caused analgesia by interacting with several target proteins involved in nociceptive control. CBC helps in fighting bacteria as an anti-fungal also as an anti-inflammatory, pain relief, anti-biotic, depression and brain growth.
Studies also said that cannabischromene is an inflammation and pain inhibitor, which has been successful for treating migraines and stimulating bone growth. Yet, the CBC uses need to be taken under the doctor rule and in right doses.
More Studies about Chemicals Compound in Weed
A recent study in 2016 found the correlation between certain genetic markers and symptoms of marijuana addiction, suggesting that some people may have a genetic predisposition to marijuana addiction. That same study showed some overlap between the genetic risk factors for marijuana dependence and the genetic risk factors for depression, suggesting a possible reason why these two conditions often occur together, the researchers said. However, as we’ve previously said, there must be many other studies to make a deeper research about the chemical containment in weed and its effect to human.
Based on studies, there’s about 400 chemicals contained in marijuana, but there’re only 61 chemicals in weed which are unique to weed plants. These special chemicals are called cannabinoids. There’re other chemical groups found in the cannabis such as:
- nitrogenous compounds
- amino acids
- simple alcohols
- ketones, fatty acids, simple ester, simple acids, steroids, terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins and other elements.
These classifications are made by Americans for Safe Access, the medical marijuana advocacy group in USA.
Risk of Weed Substances
According to NIH, the immediate effects of consuming weed include feelings of panic, anxiety, fear, hallucinations, trouble in concentrating, decreased ability to do works that use coordination, increased heart rate, decreased motivation in doing works or finishing your jobs. It’s also said that people who come down from the ‘high’ will feel depressed or extreme tired.
1. Cause Cancer Lung
Based on reports, weed smoke has about 50 percent to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than the tobacco smoke. It means that it’s more likely to cause cancer of lung and respiratory organs. The smoke of weed is usually inhaled deeper and held longer than the tobacco smoke, making it’s more exposed to carcinogens. The smoke is in contact with lung tissues for long periods of time, which irritates the lungs and damages the way they work. The major difference between these two smokes is weed smoke contains THC and Cannabinoids which will not be found in tobacco, while tobacco smoke has the nicotine which is not exist in weed.
2. Bad For Specific Health
When marijuana is smoked, THC, its active ingredient, is absorbed by most tissues and organs in the body; however, it is primarily found in fat tissues. The body, in its attempt to rid itself of the foreign chemical, chemically transforms the THC into metabolites. Urine tests can detect THC metabolites for up to a week after people have smoked marijuana. Tests involving radioactively labeled THC have traced these metabolites in animals for up to a month.
3. Heart Rate Problem
In relation to the heart organ, Marijuana consumption can increase the heart rate as much as 50 percent, depending on the amount of THC. It can cause chest pain in people who have a poor blood supply to the heart. In this case, weed some will likely to cause more rapid effect than the tobacco smoke.
4. Reproduction System Problems
While in relation to reproductive system, some research studies suggest that the use of marijuana during pregnancy may result in premature babies and in low birth weights. Studies of men and women may have a temporary loss of fertility. These findings suggest that marijuana may be especially harmful during adolescence, a period of rapid physical and sexual development.
5. Respond System Problem
Weed will also decrease your driving skills. After consuming weed, user’s thinking and reflex abilities will degrade so that it will be hard for you to respond such a sudden event. Driver’s ability to track in lane, to brake fast or maintain speed are also affected.
6. Schizophrenic Symptoms
Per the NIDA, THC contained in weed can trigger relapse in schizophrenic symptoms. In the long run, consuming weed can cause different kind of condition. Based on recent study, consuming weed regularly for 20 years can cause higher incidences of gum disease. It’s also said, based on another research, that middle age weed users have lower verbal memory than the average middle age people.
7. Psychologically Dependent Problem
In addition, long-term regular users of marijuana may become psychologically dependent. They may have a hard time limiting their use, they may need more of the drug to get the same effect, and they may develop problems with their jobs and personal relationships. The drug can become the most important aspect of their lives. However, the further researches are needed to perform to tell what the long-term effects of weed are.
Some states in US that legalize weed actually found the major problem name Edibles. Edibles means the food which contains THC. Dr. Damon Raskin said that Edibles can lead to overdose sometimes because people often ingest a full serving of a cookie instead of a diagnosed smaller amount. He said that it will be easier to swallow a full cookie rather than half of cookie. Edibles are attractive for those who don’t want to inhale the weed smoke.
Raskin also said that edibles have higher risk to digestive system. When it is ingested in the gastrointestinal tract, the drug can last longer and with greater intensity even if we compare with the weed smoke. As an example, the effect from inhaling weed smoke or THC will last about 45 minutes to 2 hours, but edibles can last for six to eight hours. This will further lead to overdose.
9. Risk for Young People
One of the concern about weed consumption is its possibility to affect young people. Studies show that people who use weed earlier will have higher potential to experiment with the other drugs, usually the drugs with higher doses. Youngers who consume marijuana regularly often lose interest and are not motivated to do their schoolwork. The effects of marijuana can interfere with learning by impairing thinking, reading comprehension, and verbal and mathematical skills. Studies show that students do not remember what they have learned when they are “high”.
Weed Legal Status
Weed plant including its active chemical containments are listed into Schedule I based on United States law. It means that weed is illegal to buy, possess, cultivate, synthesize, distribute in all forms. However, the specific chemical ingredients of weed which is THC is listed in Schedule III based on Controlled Substances Act.
It means that this THC is currently accepted for medical use. In fact, several states in US have set up legal law to allow the distribution and growth of weed inside their borders. There’re different kind of regulations applied in different countries. Canada, as an example, puts weed in the Schedule II which means that medical cannabis is allowed legally and regulated by the Canada’s federal health. In UK, cannabis possession is considered as crime with no exception for medical use. It’s classified to Class B drug in UK.
Meanwhile, there are at least 61 chemicals in weed that may lead us into danger in addicted consumption. Thus, we may be wise about it and do not let harmful chemicals in weed causing bad for us.
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