THC can be bad for you. Really bad. As little as ten milligrams of the compound—for years considered “the active ingredient” in cannabis—can cause “toxic psychosis,” according to one study.
Best-case scenario? THC is boring—really boring, producing a high with “no specific character,” one researcher told Scientific American. More likely, a dose of pure THC will result in a dysphoric, scattered feeling.
Either way, not a lot of fun—and not much use for medicine.
But that’s fine! And of no importance to marijuana users, who—when smoking or vaporizing or eating cannabis—are consuming much, much more than mere delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.
Almost every strain of cannabis sativa contains some THC. There’s even traces of THC in most cuttings of industrial hemp. And all of those THC molecules, whether extracted from hemp or from top-shelf nug-run, will act on the brain in essentially the same way.
As Scientific American reported last week, what sets strains apart from one another—the cause of their unique characteristics—is everything else that’s in the plant: other cannabinoids, scent- and smell-determining terpenes. (Terpenes—the compounds that cause a marijuana plant to smell skunky or piney or lemony—are at least partially determined by a plant’s genetics, and not conditions of cultivation, recent research has found.)