If you're familiar with cannabis at all, then THC is something you've probably heard of. Synonymous with marijuana for some time now, THC is also available in synthetic forms such as Marinol and Cesamet. To help you better understand what THC is and what it does a little better, read our brief summary of the cannabis user's favorite chemical compound.

Official name Delta(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol), THC is marijuana's most famous cannabinoid as a result of its unique psychoactive effects. We currently know of more than 100 cannabinoids to exist in only in marijuana plants, and THC is what's responsible for the cerebral, euphoric “high” associated with consuming pot.

THC was isolated from Lebanese hashish and identified in 1964 by Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam, and since then we've learned how THC affects our body and stimulates our brain. We find THC as a chemical compound in the sticky resin secreted by flowers of female marijuana plants, and this resin can appear clear or amber in color and in a range of consistencies.

Mechoulam discovered that human brains produce chemicals that are similar to cannabinoids found in marijuana, and they that act throughout the central nervous system to maintain the body's health and stability. He observed how THC and other cannabinoids interact with those same receptors, which he named the “endocannabinoid system,” as no other natural compounds we know of can.

As with any psychoactive constituent, take heed that THC affects each consumer differently and that factors such as your frame of mind and physical stamina may impact the effects as well. The short-term effects THC can induce range to include relaxation or sedation, appetite stimulation, improved mood, anxiety, hallucinations, and an intensification of sensory experiences.

It is believed that THC evolved in marijuana as a self-defense mechanism against herbivores, pests, and possibly UV radiation, but it has found a big fan in the human race. As cannabis research continues throughout the world, we will learn more about what THC does for marijuana plants and how we can put it to more positive uses for patients and recreational users alike.

At the end of the day, THC, and all of its cannabinoids, are great, safe, natural ways to manage and alleviate pain. You can look at patients who suffer from hundreds of diseases and problems, who can't get the proper healthcare that they need. If you are a cancer patient and you either can't afford, or don't want to take the opioids offered by your doctor, then what are your other options? If you live in California, or Colorado or Washington or Oregon, you can acquire cannabis legally and recreationally and use this plant to treat your symptoms naturally. If you don't live in a state where cannabis is legal recreationally, then you should probably hope you live in a state where cannabis is legally medically. Even then, there are quite a few hoops to jump through the get your medical card to buy cannabis from a licensed doctor. Medical cannabis is a lifesaver for some people. But what if you live in a state that doesn't have recreational or medical cannabis available to its residents? Then that state's legislative body is forcing its people to become criminals for going out and buying a product that helps them with their problems. We're not sure why a plant that grows in the ground that can help someone who has anything from epilepsy to to life-threatening cancer to something as simple as stress (which has been proven to cut a person's life expectancy. While pills and prescriptions that have reams of data that prove how harmful they are and have been proven to kill a lot of people who not only become addicted the them, but actually turn to a life of crime to continue to feed their addiction. While cannabis can help manage disease and real, acute pain issues. It seems like we are living in the upside down.

The law states that federally cannabis (drug) is still illegal. And for some reason it is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is the same classification as heroin. It's kind of crazy. But if all the states got together and legalized cannabis both recreationally and medically, it would send an extremely strong message to the federal government that the people want this drug regulated and taxed.

At the end of the day, cannabis the plant is a product. Like any other business. And if we are going to compare the pros and cons of this product to other similar products and industries, then legalizing marijuana becomes a no brainer. On the pro side, cannabis compares favorably, health-wise, to other drugs like prescription pills. It's healthier for you and it also is a natural (whole food) that grows in the ground, free of pesticides and other carcinogens. Prescription drugs, on the other hand, are completely fabricated, not natural and are highly addictive. Let's also look at other recreational drugs like alcohol. Alcohol is responsible for heavy liver damage as well as countless automobile accidents each year. And while cannabis and driving needs to be heavily regulated, there's no real data that cannabis adversely affects any part of the body, aside from some dental issues with those who are heavy, heavy consumers. And now you don't even have to smoke your cannabis sativa anymore. With the advent of edibles, waxes and other means of consumption, people can medicate in a ton of different ways. Do a little research on cannabis compared to other recreational drugs on the Internet and you will wonder, the way we do, why this is illegal and everything is fine in the eyes of the law and the nation's legislative bodies.

As you learn more about the positives of THC and cannabis, we're guessing more and more people will begin growing their own plants. It's an easy and fun way to get into this new industry and helps give the user and complete understanding of how this plant comes to fruition (no pun intended.) As more and more restaurants become artisanal and understanding the farm-to-table ethos that has taken hold of society, growing your own cannabis is a great way to get the perfect strain that's right for you. Are you a cannabis sativa person? Or an indica person? A great way to find out is to grow one of each and try them both out. Here's to THC!