To make the long story short, weed, in its unadulterated street form, contains THC-A as its active chemical. It converts to the psychoactive form of THC upon application of heat. This means that there is NO NICOTINE in marijuana.
However, back in the 2000s, there was an increase in the popularity of a smoking method in marijuana, referred to as blunt. It is a cigar, with which tobacco has been removed from within, and replaced with marijuana. Since the wrap or the paper is also made out of tobacco, and usually wrapped in actual tobacco leaves, blunt contains nicotine.
Another practice that was common back then is spiffing. This refers to mixing ground marijuana and tobacco before rolling into a ‘spliff’, or a mixed cigarette.
In order to understand this even further, it is worthy to understand the components found in marijuana. One thing that is not readily known to everybody is that a single cannabis plant can contain more than 48 natural components. Out of these components, 66 are categorized as cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds which interact with certain receptors in the body and brain through the endocannabinoid system. The purpose is to produce a wide range of effects. This system also works in regulating appetite, pain, sleep, memory, mood, and more. The human body is equipped with naturally occurring cannabinoids which are all responsible for the overall effects that are experienced from the cannabinoids that are present in the cannabis plants.
Here are the primary components of marijuana plants:
THCA – Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is found in the raw cannabis plant. When they are left to dry, the components convert to THC, which is a process that is hastened by heat. Even though there are still studies being conducted and still needs to be done on the actual effects of THCA, studies have also found cannabinoid to show effects on the body’s endocannabinoid system, including anticonvulsant effects, anti-spasmodic effects, and anti-insomnia effects.
CBDA – Cannabidiol Acid
CBDA is found in the trichomes of cannabis plants. They are the precursor to the more popular cannabinoid, CBD. When this component is heated, it breaks down from its acid form into CBD. With time and heat, the acid group degrades, leaving what is referred to as ‘activated’ CBD. This process is called decarboxylation.
THC – Tetrahydrocannabinol
One of the most popular components that are found in cannabis is THC. It is known for its overall psychoactive effects, acting much like the chemical components that are naturally occurring in the body. It stimulates the cells in the brain, releasing dopamine, resulting in euphoric effects.
Aside from reactions of euphoria, THC is also reported commonly to stimulate appetite by further trigging the receptors in the body to release hunger hormones. Also, the potent and anti-inflammatory properties of THC is also among the primary reasons why it can help with certain conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, depression, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, and more.
CBD – Cannabidiol
Another primary component in marijuana that has received attention for the medical benefits that it offers is CBD. What makes this cannabinoid really appealing is that it lacks the psychoactive effects already offered by THC. While it does not stimulate both CB1 and CB2, it activates the other receptors exerting anti-inflammatory effects, while decreasing bone re-absorption. CBD has also been shown to further alleviate the psychoactive effects offered by THC, which is why it has been considered as beneficial to combine these two cannabinoids when using them for medical treatment reasons.
CBC – Cannabichromene
CBD gains the interest in the medical world, as it is being studied because of its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. It is a non-psychoactive component that is known for its therapeutic capabilities. Just like CBD, it binds poorly with the receptors, which is why it is also absent of psychoactive effects, and thus lacking the “high” when consumed.
Smoking Weed vs. Cigarettes
A number of marijuana users claim that smoking weed is less harmful compared to smoking cigarettes. Still, this is a claim that is not really proven down to this day. For one, weed and tobacco are substances that are very different. As such, they have different effects on the mind and body. Also, the process of smoking marijuana may also have the same effects on specific parts of the body, such as the circulatory system and the lungs, regardless of the type of drug used.
Before contrasting the two, it is very important to understand the delivery method used, that is, smoking, as well as the damage that it causes. For one, smoking is an efficient way of delivering drugs directly to the brain. With cigarettes, smoking delivers the nicotine hit right to the brain almost instantly, thus resulting in a fast-neural response. This is also the same as any drug that is used via smoke, including marijuana. It delivers to the brain really quick, thus resulting in a surge of effects.