Cannabis is known to cause an intense range of emotions. From euphoric to apathetic, from energized to drowsy, the somatic plant can trigger it all. But, what’s happening on the inside that’s reflecting so strongly on the outside? How do our bodies process THC?
What is THC and How is it Processed in my Body?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis. And while it can be consumed in many ways, it goes through the same process anytime it enters the body (but doesn’t necessarily cause the same effect).
THC is absorbed into your body as you inhale (lungs) or digest it.
Once in your bloodstream, THC travels to different parts of your body like your brain, your liver, and your fatty tissues. Depending on your method of consumption, it’ll take anywhere from hours to minutes for the plant to take effect.
Your liver metabolizes THC into several different compounds, including 11-hydroxy-THC which is psychoactive, and THC-COOH which is non-psychoactive. These compounds are then eliminated from your body through urine and feces.
A Quick Lesson on 11-hydroxy-THC and THC-COOH...
11-hydroxy-THC is produced in the body after consuming cannabis and is the reason why you feel high. On its own, 11-hydroxy-THC is much more potent than THC itself
THC-COOH also metabolizes in the body after THC has been consumed. It’s responsible for the “high” sensation but doesn’t produce any psychoactive results. THC-COOH is left in the body longer than THC is, and indicates recent cannabis consumption.
Back to the Process...
4. The Result
Once the THC is in your system, it'll start to interact with your brain's endocannabinoid system which regulates your mood, appetite, and sleep. This is what gives THC its psychoactive effects.
So, once you start to feel floaty, you’ll know your THC has metabolized and is working its way through your body! This feeling can last anywhere from 1 to 12 hours depending on your metabolism and dose. Then, about 65% of it exits through feces 5-7 days later.
If you’re unsure about how much THC is right for you, get a tCheck THC and CBD potency tester and test your tolerance!