Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the substance in the cannabis plant that makes you high. It’s probably the most recognized compound in this plant, and also the most controversial, as studies show potential health risks of THC on the brain and body.
Some say THC’s positive influence on humans doesn’t outweigh the risks and side effects linked with consuming it. Others consider the compound’s psychoactivity a good thing and support the medical and recreational use of products containing THC.
So is THC good or bad for humans? Let’s take a deep dive into exactly what THC is, how it impacts CBD oil, and what it means for you.
THC: The Good AND The Bad
There’s a lot of information floating around about THC, especially in terms of how it ties in with CBD oil and other products. Before we look at the relationship between CBD and THC, however, it’s important to look at the potential benefits and health risks of THC that are currently associated with the substance and how they could impact potential users.
The Potential Benefits of THC
THC has been shown in studies to provide some level of physical comfort for its consumers. The psychoactive compound activates certain pathways in the central nervous system which prevent signals of discomfort from being sent to the brain.
Although THC has been associated with a negative influence on the brain, some research shows it also has some positive outcomes. THC has also been shown to promote deep relaxation and influence appetite in some individuals.
The Possible Drawbacks of THC
It’s important to acknowledge that while THC does have some benefits, it can also have some serious side effects that you should take into account.
THC influences specific brain cell receptors, which are involved in development and function. When these cells are overactivated, the “high” feeling occurs, causing users to experience symptoms like changes in mood, altered senses, impaired body movements, difficulty thinking, and impaired memory. But these short-term manifestations aren’t THC’s only side effects.
THC increases the heart rate by 20-50 beats per minute, and this increase can be fatal for people with cardiovascular problems. In those with heart disease, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) that continues for hours can raise the risk of heart attack. High levels of THC can make one more prone to stroke and cardiomyopathy.
Consuming THC-rich products may increase the risk of psychosis, reducing the age of onset by 2.7 years. If used before the age of 15, THC can be a factor in the development of serious mental disorders. Heavy use of THC can lead to increased levels of triglycerides. By activating the brain receptors that regulate appetite, THC increases hunger, and in some situations, this can also be regarded as a negative effect. All this points to real health risks of THC.
Other potential side effects of this substance include impaired attention and learning skills, impaired driving skills and slowed reaction time, altered peripheral vision, increased risk of chronic bronchitis, lung and sinus inflammation, and disruption of the menstrual cycle.
Does CBD Contain THC?
We’ve looked at the health risks of THC and what it means for users of the substance. While there are some appealing benefits that come with it, the side effects can carry a heavy risk.
Fortunately, CBD products can legally only contain up to 0.3% THC, and many forms of CBD don’t have any THC at all within them. This is possible thanks to the selection of individual hemp plants with low THC content, careful processing, and specific formulation that’s designed to give users more of the benefits that are often associated with the THC without the same side effects or risks.
Can CBD Get You High?
Because CBD can only contain 0.3% THC, it can’t get you high even if it’s right at the top of that upper limit. That small trace amount isn’t enough to intoxicate someone, even if they’re relatively sensitive in general.
CBD and THC do have similar chemical makeups, with only one atom being arranged differently, but this single atom makes a world of difference. The result is two completely different cannabinoids that interact with cannabinoid receptors in our brains differently. THC has intoxicating properties, which can cause the high, but CBD products do not.
There’s no intoxication and there’s no high, so CBD users are generally safe to use the products without worrying about whether or not they should drive, do work, or otherwise limit any of their normal routines.
Can CBD Cause Me to Fail a Drug Test?
It’s unlikely that CBD would cause you to fail a drug test, even if the CBD oil happens to contain trace amounts of THC. In many cases, the THC wouldn’t able to be detected if it was even there to begin with. That being said, it’s not impossible that CBD could cause you to fail a drug test, so precaution is needed.
This is one reason why it’s so important to know exactly where your CBD comes from, choosing a reputable company that you trust to keep THC limits under the legal limits.
Brands like Elixinol, for example, provide certificates of analysis from independent third-party labs that show exactly how much THC if any is present in our products, giving you peace of mind.
If this is something you’re worried about, talk to your doctor and ask them what they think. This is a good practice before taking any new supplements, and that goes for CBD products, too.
So is THC good or bad for you?
The ultimate question: is THC good or bad for your health? The answer can be complicated, and it really depends on how the substance is administered, how it’s used, how frequently it’s used, and how much of it enters the body. For those who want to avoid highs or any kind of intoxication, make sure to avoid products or drugs containing anything other than trace amounts of THC.
Keep in mind that in most states, products of any kind containing more than 0.3% of THC are illegal. While this is slowly changing, it’s best to avoid seeking out or consuming products containing it unless you have a prescription from your doctor for medical interventions.
CBD products offer the best parts of THC without the same risk of side effects and without the high. Even the trace amount of THC that CBD products are legally allowed to contain won’t have an impact or cause a high, making it a much more appealing option. They’re also legal and easily accessible, and they can provide nutritional support without any of the intoxicating, addictive side effects of THC-rich products.