grass, hashish, hash oil... I've read THC is the active ingredient in all these. But I've heard people saying they have different mental effects. Can you please explain?

1 Answer 1


Hemp has a highly heterogenous chemical composition. ∆9Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is just one of many active substances. Although THC is the most psychotropic 'ingredient' in cannabis it is by far not the only cannabinoid responsible for different experiences with different preparations.

The most important difference in outcomes of hemp consumption is from the different overall concentrations and ratios of mainly THC and Cannabidiol (CBD) and route of administration (not to discount the other chemicals present).

That means it is more dependent on the strain used than the preparation in question. Only when using the same plant for different preparations you might reason that grass is just dried and cured flowers (with a concentration of molecules as produced by nature), hashish is then a 'step up' with higher concentration (but with roughly the same ratio of chemicals from the trichomes) and oil as the highest concentration (made through a highly chemical extraction process).

So, there is not really much of a difference (assuming e.g. that with oil there are no solvents left in the finished product):

  • It is depends on the source material
  • It depends on the quality standard of preparation
  • It depends on the amount of active chemicals delivered, their ratio to one another, the route, and speed of uptake

It seems necessary to add that

  1. THC isolated on itself can be quite nasty. People talking about "Cannabis overdose" are mostly talking of too much of this cannabinoid. You can get too high.
  2. To mitigate these unwanted effects of THC (and other cannabinoids working like this) a certain level of CBD is needed. While CBD will not be making you "high", it is technically psychoactive in having (among others) a certain relaxing effect and more importantly modulating the effect of THC. They work synergistically.
  3. Returning to the problem of overdose: eating and drinking are slower to set on – smoking, vaporising have a faster onset. But with inhaling the effects are usually felt within seconds compared to up to hours when ingesting the material. That means a user smoking can stop much sooner once she approaches or oversteps hers limits. Eating on the other hand needs very careful testing and dosing: once is is swallowed then that is the ride you booked and paid for, no refunds. And that brings us back to oil extracts. Smoking oil, made from fairly THC rich material to begin with or ending up that way, might overwhelm you on the first draw.
  • Thank you so much! I have a few questions. Does the route of administration change the results, apart from the timing and length of the experience? Is CBD the second most psychotropic ingredient in cannabis? Is it available for recreational use? How is the mental experience?
    – asmani
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 19:58
  • @Asmani Pure CBD has no psychoactive effects.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 1:54
  • 1
    @Asmani - Recreational use will solely depend upon where you live as each state has its own marijuana laws. In the USA cannabis is illegal on a federal level. The way cannabis is used or in your words, "route of administration" can change the results. For example; smoking and digesting the same strain and same amounts of cannabis can have vastly different outcomes. Someone may smoke .5 grams and have an altered state of mind, whereas digesting .5 grams may have no obvious impact at all. The mental and physical experiences are completely individual to each person.
    – d.ariane
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 8:12

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