Tetrahydrocannabinol is the primary active ingredient in Marijuana. It is an aromatic terpenoid, whose aromatic rings make it comparatively insoluble in water, but has better solubility in alcohols and lipids. The hypothesized reason for production of THC in the plant is as a defense mechanism against insects; the effect of THC on insect nervous systems is that of a paralytic, but the mechanisms are still unknown.
Effects on the Human Body
Tetrahydrocannabinol has been observed to cause detrimental effects on cognition, and reasoning. Along with these effects, THC is known to cause a release of Dopamine, causing the characteristic "high" experienced from marijuana abuse. Negative effects on memory have also been observed, along with an increased likelihood of developing psychosis from chronic exposure. From colloquial sources, THC have been claimed to be a "cure-all", with largely unproven claims of reducing pain and nausea in cancer patients, and according to some activist sources, even "cure" cancer entirely. These claims are largely refuted by the medical establishment.