THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is only one of the 100-plus cannabinoids contained within the cannabis plant. It’s also one of the most abundant and the most well-known. But what, exactly, is it?
THC is the cannabinoid responsible for producing the psychoactive effects or “high” that most people associate with the use of cannabis. That’s not all it does, though. Many people take cannabis to manage symptoms of a range of different ailments. And despite THC’s mind-altering effects, it may even help improve focus and concentration.
Effects of THC
As a psychoactive cannabinoid, THC can affect your brain and get you high. It triggers feelings of relaxation and euphoria. THC can heighten your senses, alter your perception, and distort your sense of time. It can also affect your judgment, reduce your inhibitions, and temporarily impair your short-term memory. For some people, THC — especially in high doses — can lead to feelings of paranoia and extreme anxiety.
Producing a high isn’t the only thing THC can do. Studies have shown that the cannabinoid has several potential physical and mental health benefits. These THC effects include:
- Alleviating pain
- Reducing feelings of anxiety
- Easing neuropathic (nerve) pain
- Treating side effects of chemotherapy (nausea, vomiting, appetite loss)
- Managing symptoms of diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s
How THC Works
Humans have what’s known as an endocannabinoid system or ECS, which is responsible for maintaining the balance of numerous functions within the body. The system has three main components:
- Cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2 receptors reside all throughout the body, including the brain, central nervous system, immune system, and organs.
- Endocannabinoids: When there’s an imbalance in the ECS, the body produces anandamide and 2-AG. These compounds bind with cannabinoid receptors to correct the issue and restore balance.
- Enzymes: Enzymes break down endocannabinoids when the body no longer needs them.
When ingested, THC functions similarly to the body’s naturally produced endocannabinoids and binds with cannabinoid receptors. While it has an affinity for CB1 receptors, it can bind with CB2 receptors, too. As a result, it can reduce pain, alleviate anxiety, stimulate the appetite, ease nausea, or calm tremors.
The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is the theory that all of the components of cannabis work better together than they do separately. In other words, THC works better in the presence of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds. Let’s take CBD, for example. Research shows that CBD can mitigate some of the unwanted side effects of THC, such as paranoia. It also inhibits the activity of the enzyme that breaks down anandamide, allowing the endocannabinoid to remain in your system longer.
THC for Focus: How It Works
THC’s potential to improve your focus could have something to do with how the cannabinoid interacts with receptors in the brain. The cannabinoid temporarily increases the production of dopamine. Also known as the “feel good” hormone, dopamine is part of the brain’s reward system that provides a sense of pleasure when released. That dopamine rush, which the brain seeks naturally, can boost your motivation and enhance your concentration, making it easier to stay on task.
These effects mean cannabis could potentially benefit those with ADHD/ADD. Although the exact cause is unknown, current research suggests that individuals with ADHD have a dysfunctional dopamine system, which results in lower dopamine levels in the brain and a decreased ability to focus and concentrate. Since THC increases dopamine, a dose of cannabis could help a person with ADHD power through a task that they might usually find difficult to complete.
THC may help improve your focus in a few other ways, too. For instance, issues like chronic pain and anxiety disorders can make it difficult to concentrate. THC is a well-known pain reliever. It can help soothe feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, and unease. By alleviating uncomfortable and distracting symptoms, THC may clear the way for you to put all of your attention on what you need to do.
Tips for Using Cannabis for Focus
Want to try THC for focus? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Read Cannabis Labels
If you need to concentrate, one of the last things you need is to be falling asleep. Reading the label can help ensure you select the right strain of cannabis for focus.
Sativa vs. Indica
Generally, Sativa and Sativa-dominant strains are known for being stimulating and energizing. Indica and Indica-dominant strains, on the other hand, tend to produce more sedative effects.
While THC can enhance focus, too much can ruin it. CBD, responsible for many of the calming effects of cannabis, can help to ground you. Too much CBD, however, can cause drowsiness. Finding the right balance of THC and CBD is key. The right balance for you depends mainly on your goals and your body.
Terpenes are the compounds responsible for a plant’s smell and taste. They can also play a role in the effects of a particular strain of cannabis. Limonene and pinene, for instance, are known to uplift and energize. Terpenes like myrcene and linalool, on the other hand, can be sedating.
Choose a Product Type
Your method of ingestion matters. Do you need an immediate boost in focus and concentration? Smoking, vaping, and sublingual applications produce fast-acting results. Edibles take longer to kick in, but the effects tend to last longer.
Find Your Dose
The right dose for one person may be too much or too little for you. Start low and gradually increase the amount of THC you take until you achieve the desired results. Some people find the most success with microdosing cannabis.
Try Multiple Strains
Cannabis and THC affect everyone differently. Don’t be afraid to try a few different strains to see which ones work best for you.
Enhance Your Focus With VidaCann
Difficulty focusing and staying on task can be incredibly frustrating and stressful. At VidaCann, we carry a selection of the highest-quality cannabis products in Florida, including strains that could boost your focus and enhance your concentration, giving you what you need to get through your to-do list. Visit us online to find your nearest dispensary and view our menus today.