How Weed Works: THC

How Weed Works: THC


Turns out it’s kinda hard to come up with a good prop For a show about illegal psychoactive compounds that aren’t gonna get you in some pretty significant trouble So, I got nothing But, today, we are talking about Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Otherwise known as the major biologically active substance in the cannabis plant Otherwise known as marijuana So, here it is! The molecule, not the marijuana No matter what you think of this compound, or how familiar you may be with it There is no denying that THC is pretty potent Its effect stems from its ability to bind to receptors in your brain called “cannabanoid receptors” And the reaction that takes place after that binding occurs Now, calling them cannabinoid receptors is kind of misleading, it makes it sound like they’re designed to be stimulated by cannabis They’re not They’re receptors located on neurons and they’re activated by chemicals called neurotransmitters Which basically allow neurons to communicate with each other Cannabinoid receptors are found in all different parts of the brain Their highest density occurs in the areas of the brain responsible for pleasure, thinking, memory, coordination, time perception Normally, these cannabinoid receptors are not activated by cannabis, they’re activated by a chemical called Anandamide And that neurotransmitter plays a large role in making short-term connections between nerve cells It’s also largely responsible for the brain’s ability to forget things Which is very useful in our normal, daily lives. We can’t remember everything And it seems to have a hand in regulating our eating behavior As well as generating sensations of pleasure It’s name, Anandamide, which is kind of a beautiful word, comes from the Sanskrit word, for inner bliss Anandamide, for what it’s worth, has been found in chocolate Anandamide and THC belong to the same class of chemicals, which we call cannabinoids By mimicking Anadamide, binding to, and activating, those receptors, THC interferes with the normal functioning of your brain Well, your brain is now on drugs By attaching itself to a neuron, THC screws up communication between other neurons Let’s say neuron one needs to tell neuron two to do something, like “remember a phone number,” Or “hit a baseball with the baseball bat” Well, if THC is bound to one of those neurons, that communication is more likely to fail And the person is less likely to remember that thing or hit that baseball So, roughly that’s how THC affects the brain But, there are some other obvious, and interesting questions here, like: Why, on Earth, would a plant decide to make a chemical that does this? What. Wha- Why? To paraphrase the author Michael Paul, A plant does not go through the expense of making such a complicated and extraordinary molecule, and continuing to produce it, if it isn’t doing that plant some good It turns out no one knows for sure why marijuana produces THC, but there are some fascinating theories The first: THC turns out to be really good at absorbing UV radiation And so it’s possible that, since marijuana often grows at higher elevations, That it needs the ability to absorb that radiation without, you know, harming the plant THC also has some antibiotic properties so it’s possible that that’s how it’s helping out plants It also may help us out Scientists have done studies and found that THC is a fairly potent antibacterial And third, is my absolutely favorite reason, and that’s that other animals have these cannabinoid receptors too And it’s possible that leaf eating insects have them, And that THC is there to put them on drugs So that they, like, forget where they found that delicious plant And they’re like, “Oh, man. I had that really good plant yesterday, but I can’t remember where I found it” Then they just end up, like eating cheetos, outside of a 7-11 at 2 am Which, you know, if you’re a beetle, it’s not so bad I live in Missoula, Montana. It’s a college town, fairly high pot smoking population here Also a very high deer population I’m starting to wonder: the deer are always walking around downtown, with this, like, glazed look over their eyes And I’m thinking maybe they’re getting into somebody’s stash And now they’re all addled, can’t find where they found that delicious brick of marijuana on someone’s back porch They’re just walking around downtown, hoping, hoping beyond hope, that they’ll stumble across one again Animals on drugs! It’s no laughing matter! If you wanna know more about the science of THC, our citations are, of course, always down in the description If you wanna ask us questions, or suggest topics for us here on SciShow, You can connect with us on Facebook, or Twitter, or down in the YouTube comments below

100 thoughts on “How Weed Works: THC”

  1. You have removed the pause between sentences, so it’s unnatural, weird, and hard to concentrate on the topics.

  2. Cannabis saved my life from societal induced psychosis. Then I did not want to break the law and turned to over the counter meds. They made me hyper and think outside the box. But there was a catch no one wanted me taking the amount I was taking. I got hit by lightning. I took some fast acting pills and accidentally took a double dose. I got sick and ended up in the hospital. I recovered with in a few hours and was fine. I’m doing good now. Just wish I could get my meds that saved my life! God you work in mysterious ways. Please free the people it will help them. Watch out for things you can overdose on and things laced with toxins.

  3. I'm so high right now I'm trying to figure out why I feel this way I still don't know the guy told me it's Hawaiian LMFAO 😂

  4. Did you know…cannabis has to be heated to be activated. So if an animal or human eats a nug, it will not do anything. It needs to be heated to turn the THC-A into the psycho active THC.
    This process is called Decarboxylation. Heat the raw flowers at 225-250 degrees in the oven for about an hour, hour and a half. 🙂

  5. everyone seems to be targeting healthy individuals and direct information at them, just assuming that we all have minds that function optimally, which is not the case, and exactly where cannabis (and chocolate) comes in handy!

  6. THC isnt unlocked in marijuana until it hits somewhere above 200°, so the beetle eating it theory is a no go.

  7. What if back then all ever human did was smoke weed so they were high all the time but when they ran out or lost their weed or whatever they breathed too much oxygen and thought they were gone off air. What if being high is actually the real world and how it really feels and looks but when we’re “sober” it’s actually us being off of air and then the U.S. made weed illegal so we’re stuck in our intoxicated lives but we don’t know that because the oxygen over time as we keep breathing it makes me us forget about it and does whatever the government wants us to so we gotta smoke weed safely just to live our actual lives.

  8. Except THC is not what occurs in the plant. The raw plant is THCA and it has to be burned to become THC. You can eat raw weed all day and you will feel nothing.

  9. the reason why we are increasingly higher tests of cannabinoids is because the gardeners and connoisseurs have selected mutations with a certain gene responsible for producing the resin. This gene likely exists to attract pollinating insects and to make the pistils on the female flowers more likely to adhere with pollen grains from male flowers.

  10. My bet is Marijuana has evolved and continued to produce this effect because humans love it and then we go out of there way to help it propagate across the globe en masse, yannow like life likes to do. So as a plant, in general, this strategy is likely for the sake of manipulating us.

  11. So… I’m not doing a survey to see how many people already pointed this out, but regarding the whole “drugbug” notion… THC isn’t psychoactive until it’s been heated and the molecule has gone from its THC-A form to THC and can bind to cannabinoid receptors.

    Stoned deer would be pretty cool, though… 😂

  12. Do y'all ever revisit topics? I imagine there might be more information now than there was 7 years ago, especially in/from states where it is legal. Curious!!

  13. Please update this video. The information provided is actually kinda sketchy and incomplete. A large portion has been updated by recent studies including the idea that the way it works in the brain; as suggested in this video; is not entirely accurate. For example while some tests have shown a loss of short term memory, others have suggested no effect with transferring things to long term memory. Meaning you might be more absent minded but can still absorb information for a class subject as long as you can maintain focus.
    Speaking of focus, people with ADHD have reported enhanced ability to hyper-focus with THC. Meaning they become more functional for a specific task and are able to control that better. We have a lot to learn about this " simple " plant.
    Another interesting fact, It has been a standard natural pain reliever for migraines in China for over 1,000 years. With no obvious ( this is not a science study ) signs of long term negative health effects.

  14. You specifically mention anandamide, which is an endocannabinoid, means our nerves are designed to receive cannabinoids. Obviously cannabinoids evolved to dissuade mammals from consuming it. All arthropods lack cannabinoid receptors.

  15. "By attaching itself to a neuron, THC screws up communication between other neurons" – What a pessimistic, imprecise way of explaining the effects THC has on neural functions. How exactly does it "screw up" communication between neurons? Does it promote thinking laterally across domains while impeding a more logical, goal oriented thought process? Is an increase in temporary divergent thinking always a bad thing or is it better perceived as a spectrum, whereby excessive divergent thinking (or creativity) results in the inability to stay focused on a goal or thought process but complete lack of divergent thinking negates the ability to come up with new ideas or make important links across domains?

  16. I know that eating the plant directly will not get you high as it does not contain THC but THC-A
    The psychoactivity comes from a process called decarboxylation, where the THC-A is converted into THC

  17. If it is true that leaf-eating insects do have these receptors, then getting them high with this stuff makes sense.
    No insect will eat what doesn’t nourish them, and if they feel super hungry after eating a plant, then why go back and eat more of that plant?

  18. But how would a plant know to evolve to a level to make cannibanoids to help protect itself? That must mean that that plant can think in high levels of intelligence, and observation.

  19. The people with science in their channel name should be aware that eating even a very large amounts of raw marajuana won't really have much effect, needs to be heated before thc or cbd becomes available for absorption

  20. OK…pharmaco- kinetics…does vaping 90% THC get you HIGHER than smoking 20% buds, or does it get you high FASTER, BUT TO THE SAME LEVEL? The old wisdom was what it was the CHANGE in the number of receptors bound that made you feel stoned. Once your receptors are saturated, “you have arrived at your destination.” Use of beta-blockers is said to increase the total number of receptors, does THC use generate more thc receptors?

  21. He seems a little different then his other episodes, i wonder if we just saw what it looks like to watch him do the show on THC.

  22. Have a friend who lives in Maine where you don’t need a permit to grow in your backyard. He has a problem with deer getting into his garden. No matter what kind of fence he puts up they find a way to break through up to and including an electric fence. So when this guy talked about deer in town I had to laugh!

  23. 3:20 and there comes another absourd about cannabis.
    Start asking to me and i will explain to you all, whatever you whant to knhow about cannabis and it's compounds.

    So, the bugs doesn't feel or 'experience" the efects of thc, because they din't have an endocanabinogen system to recognize and absorve those mulecules into brain function.

    Ask me what you whant!

  24. Why not talk about the therapeutic benefits of Thc and CBD for patients suffering from trauma, ptsd, depression , schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy and ofcourse cancer?

  25. What’s funny is I watch him talk about physiology in my class at school, and tonight I’m watching him talk about this.

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