The flower of the cannabis plant is used for its recreational or medicinal purposes. The stalk or stem of its plant is used for industrial purposes (e.g., hemp fiber). The seed of its plant is used for food and household purposes (e.g., hemp seed or hemp oil).

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It is also known as pot, weed, and dozens of other names.

While many people smoke or vape it, you can also use it as an ingredient in food, beverages, tinctures, or topicals.

Different methods of ingesting it may affect your body differently. When you inhale it smoke into your lungs, the compounds immediately enter your bloodstream and quickly make their way to your brain and other organs. The effects may onset within seconds to minutes.

When you eat or drink cannabis-containing products, the compounds need to first pass through your digestive system and liver before reaching your bloodstream. The effects may onset within minutes to hours.

There’s an ongoing debate around the effects of it on the body. People report various physical and psychological effects, from harm and discomfort to pain relief and relaxation.

Cannabinoids are the active ingredients of cannabis. They’re found nowhere else in nature.

THC is responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis. It also has potential medicinal effects for conditions like:

  • pain
  • nausea
  • reduced appetite
  • insomnia

CBD is nonintoxicating. It has potential medicinal effects for conditions like epilepsy and anxiety.

However, there’s still much we don’t know about THC and CBD.

While the National Institutes of HealthTrusted Source has funded research into the possible medicinal uses of THC and CBD, research is incredibly difficult and slow due to the federal prohibition and classification of it as a Schedule I drug.

And there are more than 100 unique cannabinoids in cannabis. Science has only scratched the surface of what these other cannabinoids can do.

In recent years, the medicinal properties of cannabis have gained public acceptance. As of March 2021, 36 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational or medicinal use.

Here’s what we do know about the effects of THC when it enters your bloodstream.