Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis and one of at least 113 total cannabinoids identified on the plant. Although the chemical formula for THC (C21H30O2) describes multiple isomers, the term THC usually refers to the Delta-9-THC isomer with chemical name (−)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Like most pharmacologically active secondary metabolites of plants, THC is a lipid found in cannabis, assumed to be involved in the plant's evolutionary adaptation, putatively against insect predation, ultraviolet light, and environmental stress.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), better known as THC, is the marijuana plant's primary component for causing psychoactive effects. THC was first discovered and isolated by Bulgarian-born chemist Raphael Mechoulam in Israel in 1964. It was found that, when smoked, tetrahydrocannabinol is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain, attaching itself to the naturally-occurring endocannabinoid receptors located in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia. These are the parts of the brain responsible for thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and movement.
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