Society Cannabis Deeper Dives: The History of THC

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The legalization of cannabis and Massachusetts’ thriving dispensary market is growing now more than ever, but in actuality the cannabis plant and the THC compound itself have been around for centuries. 

From Ancient Chinese medicine to sacred spiritual rituals, the history of THC has influenced the health, wellness, wealth, and overall community of various groups of people for thousands of years. 

However, the history of THC has been quite a long and winding road of discovery and analysis. Continue reading to learn about the hazy origins of THC and how it has evolved to the today’s seemingly most-cherished major psychoactive cannabinoid.


The Ancient Origins of THC & the Cannabis Plant 

Firstly, before the hip canna-slang and high-tech dabbing devices, cannabis was a prevalent natural herb used as a medicinal panacea in a wide variety of ways. 

In fact, the oldest evidence of its use is found in braziers traced back to 2500 years ago in remote mountain plateaus of the ancient Silk Road in Western China

The cannabis plant evolved around 28 million years ago on the eastern Tibetan plateau, where it was quickly passed around and spread throughout Central Asia before it made its way to Northern Europe. 


The Evolution of the Cannabis Plant 

However, newer discoveries of the plant’s ancient uses are proving that cannabis and THC may not have been exactly as we know it today. Evidence of plant remains suggest that early cannabis strains typically held lower levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).  

Eventually, cannabis evolved and grew into becoming various landrace cultivars and differing in THC content. Higher elevations and different geographical locations have been revealed to have an influence on THC content. 

Additionally, the breeding of different genetics and phenotypes over time have increased the THC content of the flower and strains we know and enjoy today. 


The Discovery & Exploration of THC 

Next, let’s fast-forward to 1964, when the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is officially discovered by the “Godfather of Cannabis Science,” Raphael Mechoulam.

Not too long after this discovery, Harvard scientist Roger Adams identified and explored the relationship between THC and CBD (another cannabinoid that will be prominent in the cannabis industry we know now). 

Among the many studies that occurred after this period, more promising research began to emerge showing the potentially therapeutic benefits of THC.


The Endocannabinoid System  

In 1990, cannabinoid receptors in the human body were discovered by a team of scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health. 

This breakthrough revealed how the consumption of cannabinoids (such as THC) leads to them binding to endocannabinoid receptors, that then send signals and regulate responses throughout our body. 

THC can bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, which then directly affect the peripheral system and are responsible for the cannabinoid’s psychoactive. 

Additionally, this team of scientists discovered an endocannabinoid, anandamide, that reflects the brain’s natural version of THC. Since then, greater awareness of the beneficial properties of THC have grown with the rising cases of clinical studies and research. 


Society Cannabis Co. — Supporting Cannabis Advocacy 

Finally, while it seemed like only a dream not too long ago – today, a total of 37 states have legalized marijuana, and more specifically the cannabinoid THC, for medicinal use. 

The history of THC has been full of ancient ritual practices and medicinal studies that have led to deeper research and information regarding all that this powerful cannabinoid holds. Modern alternative wellness practices include the use of THC in topicals, tinctures, and edibles

Looking back on the journey of the cannabis plant and what has unfolded over time, further exploration of THC’s true potential looks hopeful for the bright future of the cannabis industry! 

Stay up-to-date on the latest Massachusetts dispensary news on our Instagram! 

*Always consult a physician before making any changes to your health or fitness regimen.* 

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