Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis that provides your wanted effects. THC’s effects are caused by binding to brain receptors, basically triggering your brain’s reward system causing euphoria.
THCA is the non-psychoactive raw form of THC. Through heat, scientifically called thermal decarboxylation, the THCA compound converts to the psychoactive THC. Because it is the precursor to the amount of THC a plant contains, many cannabis enthusiasts lean on the known THCA percentage as a way to predict the potency of the flower they use.
The reason that THC provides a high is due to the reaction of the compound binding to our neurological receptors. This means that the compound attaches to a receptor which travels into our central nervous system and brain, providing both mental and body highs. The specific effects of these mental and physical highs are largely dependent on the individual’s body chemistry and genetic makeup.
The effects of cannabis are felt through two main forms of consumption. The most common is decarboxylation, also known as smoking, vaping and dabbing. All of these forms are dependent on heating up the cannabis product as you inhale, resulting in THC entering the blood through your lungs and your respiratory system.
The other forms, edibles, tinctures and topicals, use decarboxylation but enter your system in a different way. Rather than the respiratory system, edibles and tinctures travel to your stomach and liver to find the pathway to your neurological receptors.
Meanwhile, topicals are used to apply to the affected areas for muscle tightness and swelling. The cannabinoids enter from the skin to the blood and nervous system.