EducationA guide to the psychoactive properties of THC oil

A guide to the psychoactive properties of THC oil

5 min read

Editorial Team

A guide to the psychoactive properties of THC oil


What does psychoactive mean?

The term “psychoactive” means “active in the mind”. Regarding drugs and medications, a substance that is psychoactive is one that causes a difference in the way the brain works normally, leading to changes in an individual's mood, thoughts, feelings, awareness, and general behaviour. 

The change of sensory perception creates an altered state of consciousness, which affects the way a person experiences the reality around them and their internal feelings.

What makes THC oil psychoactive?

Acute administration of Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) stimulates neurons to release heightened amounts of dopamine above baseline levels. When this happens in a very short space of time such, as it does through inhalation, it can create a sudden change in how you feel, perceive the world around you, and induce euphoria. 

THC acts on a multitude of biological systems. It can change the rate of your heartbeat, your breathing pace, and interact with your hormones. THC can also impact the way you comprehend sound, taste, smell, vision, and the way you perceive time may speed up or slow down. 

It is the combination of these factors that creates the overall psychoactive effect of THC. 

Long term administration of THC (especially in high doses and over extended periods) can cause dopamine blunting. This means that it can be harder for the body to get the same dopamine release from the same amount of THC as you may have experienced in the past. This is referred to as a raise in ‘tolerance’. 

If you are currently experiencing a raised THC tolerance while using medicinal THC oil (or other THC products), you may want to talk to your prescribing doctor about the possibility of switching strains. You can also consider taking a short tolerance break, which allows your endocannabinoid system to drop back closer to the baseline. This may take anywhere from a few days up to two weeks, depending on your own physiology. 

At what dose does THC oil become psychoactive?

This is a hard question to give a comprehensive answer to, as everyone reacts differently to THC.

The amount of THC oil it takes for someone to start feeling the psychoactive effects varies from person to person. Everyone has a different sensitivity to THC and dopamine. For some people, as little as 2.5 mg THC can start to cause impairment, whereas for others they may need 25 mg to start feeling a psychoactive difference. 

While It is not unheard of for people to require 250 mg to reach a psychoactive effect with THC oil, this is considered a very high dose… Some cancer patients taking full-spectrum extract cannabis oil can tolerate doses of 1000 mg without experiencing any negative psychoactive effects. Again, your own personal tolerance to THC plays a huge role in the dosage required to feel the psychotropic effects of THC.

Gradually working your way up from a very low dose will improve your ability to handle higher doses without experiencing any of the unwanted side effects of THC oil.

How long do the psychoactive effects of THC oil last?

The psychoactive effects of THC oil last for several hours. Some people find they only last for around two hours, but they can last as long as six, with residual effects of lethargy and general grogginess lasting as long as two days for certain patients.

Is there a way to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC oil?

The unwanted psychoactive effects of THC oil can be reduced with sugar, which will help raise the blood glucose level. Caffeine will help stimulate the mind and provide an energy release. Vitamins B & C are a good alternative to coffee. CBD will actively reduce the psychoactivity of THC.

Is THC oil a psychedelic?

A psychedelic is something that has an experiential effect on your mind, spirit, or soul as well as changing one's state of consciousness. THC oil definitely has the ability to do these things, but when taken in carefully controlled doses is less than likely to induce the psychedelic state. 

To reach a psychedelic level of consciousness with only THC administration, the dose needs to be very high. Higher, in fact, than what is prescribed for the vast majority of medicinal patients, so this is not something that should be of worry.

Psychedelics are now an important area of study in the medical field with potential treatments for PTSD, clinical depression and end-of-life treatment of people with terminal cancer diagnosis and interestingly, THC and cannabis are available for prescription for each of these conditions.

If you are looking for an alternative approach to help manage the symptoms of your health condition, Releaf is here to help. Our monthly packages are based on your cannabis prescription, and we offer specialist consultations for medical cannabis and a unique medical cannabis card for protection.


Psychoactive refers to substances or drugs that affect the mind, leading to changes in mood, thoughts, feelings, awareness, and behavior. THC (Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound in THC oil that produces psychoactive effects. It stimulates the release of dopamine, impacting sensory perception, emotions, and cognition. The psychoactive effects can vary from person to person, depending on sensitivity and dosage. The effects typically last several hours, and reducing them can be achieved through various methods such as sugar, caffeine, vitamins, and CBD. While THC oil can induce altered states of consciousness, reaching a psychedelic level requires very high doses. It is important to understand and manage the psychoactive effects when using THC oil for medicinal purposes.Releaf is committed to helping you access the benefits of a medical cannabis service. Our monthly packages are tailored to your cannabis prescription, and we offer specialist consultations for medical cannabis and a unique medical cannabis card for protection.

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Editorial Team

Article written by the Releaf Editorial Team, a group of seasoned experts in cannabis healthcare, dedicated to enhancing awareness and accessibility in the field through their wealth of knowledge and experience.

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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How long does it take to feel the effects of THC oil?

The time it takes for you to feel the effects of THC depends on the methods of administration as well as your own physiology. Fortunately, there are fast and slow-acting options, as well as ways to take low or high doses in order to facilitate control over the way your body reacts to your medicine.

Editorial Team