Short-Term & Long-Term Side Effects of THC

Short-Term & Long-Term Side Effects of THC
The cannabis sativa plant is the mother of one of the most popular cannabinoids on the planet: THC. The plant boasts over 100 cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, each of which have a different effect on the human body. In recent years, another cannabinoid known as CBD has exploded in popularity due to its incredible ability to both energize, focus, and calm an individual depending on its usage. Cannabinoids have a range of effects and people use them for a range of reasons, the main one being the feeling they can induce. Besides CBD, THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is by far the most popular cannabinoid. Although VRB utilizes cannabinoids to make top-quality products to help you live life optimally, today we are going to walk through one cannabinoid we do not feature as a product, and show the effects and healthy practices surrounding one of the most popular cannabinoids: THC.

What is THC?

As mentioned above, THC is one of the over 100 cannabinoids found within the cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which controls things from appetite, mood, and sleep regulation. When interacting with the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids can have mild to drastic effects on the body. THC, also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a cannabinoid that interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the system. These receptors release neurotransmitters to the brain, which is how THC can have an effect on the body.

Short-Term Effects of THC

As THC interacts with the endocannabinoid system, some immediate effects are noticeable within the body. Most short-term side effects last around 2-4 hours depending on the form. For those that consume THC, the side effects may last up to 10 hours.

‘High’ Feeling: This is probably the first effect that comes to mind when you think of THC. According to the National Institute of Health, THC’s chemical makeup mimics that of a brain chemical known as anandamide. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that connects parts of the brain that controls mood, appetite, and sleep, which have a huge impact on day-to-day feelings. Since THC looks similar to this neurotransmitter, it is able to produce that euphoric change of mood once released into the system.

Slower Reaction Time: Another potential short-term side effect is time perception. THC interacts with the brain circuit that controls your perception of time. THC can actually advance the speed of your internal clock, leaving the rest of the world in slow motion. This is common as a short-term side effect, and usually does not persist after the side effects are gone.

Hazy Sense of Thinking: Also known as ‘brain fog,’ mental haze can be another short-term effect of THC. THC can lessen the cognitive load, or the brain’s ability to complete mental tasks. Things such as decision-making or remembering can be tricky in the short term after using THC. Normally, this goes away once the effect of THC wears off the brain.

Increased Appetite: Like many substances, THC increases the appetite. Since THC interacts with neurotransmitters in the brain that control appetite, you are often left feeling hungry even if you just ate. This contributes to potential overeating when under the influence.

Anxiety and/or Paranoia: Another possible effect of THC is anxiety and/or paranoia. When you introduce THC to your system, you are flooding your brain with cannabinoids it is not normally used to on a daily basis. Due to this, the excess cannabinoids have the potential to trigger the amygdala, which controls fear in the brain. Those who are already prone to anxiety may be wary of this as well.

Long-Term Effects of THC

Researchers are still determining all of the long-term side effects related to THC. However, here are a few potential side effects that may affect users long term. As with anything, there is no one-size-fits-all, and people may respond differently in the long run.

Cognitive Effects: According to Harvard Medical School, the greatest long-term effects revolve around cognitive function. Younger populations who use THC may alter their brain development, especially when used over long periods of time. In recent research following over 1,000 midlife participants, researchers found that consistent exposure to THC over several years may lead to memory issues and trouble focusing. More research needs to be conducted to understand the full cognitive effects.
Physical Effects: Physical side effects of long-term THC exposure include potential nausea and/or vomiting. Along with this, research links THC to increased heart rate in certain users. Lower motivation may impact physical health as well as it decreases the ability to take care of oneself, physically and mentally.

Healthy THC Practices

If you are someone who frequently uses THC, it is good to have a healthy plan to track how it may affect you both short and long term. Sticking to a routine where you are not always consuming THC can be helpful. Also making sure to not cross THC with any other substance use, whether alcohol or medication, is a healthy way to utilize THC. As with anything, if you notice a physical or mental side effect, consult with your doctor on the best way to handle THC usage. THC affects everyone differently, and while this form of cannabis may be good to relax, finding other ways to also incorporate relaxation into your daily routine can increase the efficacy of that ‘euphoric’ feeling. Cannabinoids can be a great tool to support a healthy mind and body. Knowing how to utilize them safely, and recognizing when they may not be right for you are healthy ways to use what cannabis sativa has to offer.