What is the active ingredient in absinthe?
One of the consituents of wormwood, thujone is considered the culprit of absinthe's "added effect". Naturally occuring in many plants and flowers, thujone is found in large amounts in wormwood. A-thujone has a structure very similar to THC (tetrahyrdacannaboid). This similarity has lead some to believe that the two substances work similarly upon the brain. New research indicates, however that thujone blocks GABA-A receptors in the brain which inhibit the firing of brain cells, once these receptors are blocked, the brain is free to fire at will. This is why despite the very high alcohol content, absinthe drinkers report being clear headed, even after consuming amounts of alcohol that would usually put them into a stupor. The bulk, however of absinthe's effects is caused by the very high alcohol content.