The Many THC Benefits You May or May Not Be Familiar With
Posted on January 16th, 2021
Few topics can set off heated debates and emotions among policymakers, researchers, scientists, doctors, and the public like THC. Is it addictive? Should it be legalized? Decriminalized? Is it safe? What are the potential medical THC benefits? Should it be inaccessible to teenagers? Is the potential medical use of THC just a ploy to legalize marijuana? These are just some of the great questions surrounding THC that still need conclusive answers.
THC is the most active component of the cannabis plant. THC is psychoactive and is responsible for the ‘high’ feeling its users experience. Over the years, THC has generated its fair share of criticism, with many believing it has no medicinal value. However, science has come to show that this is far from the case. THC has proven to assist individuals dealing with physical and mental ailments. This is especially true when combined with other cannabinoids.
Potential THC Benefits
Pain relief is among the top claims of THC. And here’s why…
Many people on the planet live with chronic pain. Most of these people suffer from nerve-related pain or neuropathic pain.
Studies have revealed that the cannabis compound triggers pathways in the CNS that inhibit pain signals from being transmitted to the brain. In 2013, an FDA-approved trial confirmed that THC was effective for pain relief. People suffering from neuropathic pain were given a low dosage of THC (1.29%) in vaporized form. The outcome? A low dose of THC showed 30% reductions in pain intensity as opposed to a placebo. It’s evident there’s a correlation between pain relief and THC.
Eases Vomiting & Nausea
Are you aware there’s an FDA-approved THC pill? Marinol, which is used for treating vomiting and nausea in cancer patients has been in existence since the 1980s. As a matter of fact, Marinol has been advertised as a pharmaceutical option for cannabis. Although Marinol contains THC, the compound is both isolated and synthetic. This means it lacks a whole host of chemical compounds found in the natural cannabis plant. Marinol doesn’t have beneficial components like flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids. All of these compounds complement each other. In 1995, a study showed that oral doses of THC-8 were an effective treatment for kids experiencing chemotherapy-induced nausea. Considering the adverse side effects of nausea medications like Zofran, THC treatments have their advantages.
Protects Brain Cells & Promotes Brain Growth
Many people are under the presumption that cannabis usage kills brain cells. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Although a lot of drugs are neurotoxic, THC acts as a neuroprotectant. This meaning it safeguards brain cells from getting damaged. Other than protecting your brain cells, THC also promotes brain cell growth.
THC stimulates the ‘CB1 receptor’ in the brain. This stimulus promotes a process referred to as long-term potentiation, which enhances the ability of the brain to learn. Scientists found that like CBD, THC influences the growth of brain cells in the hippocampus. Other studies suggest that THC can help in retaining spatial memories.
Cannabis has long been purported as an anti-stress and anti-aging tool. This is because THC and other cannabinoids in the plant are powerful antioxidants. It protects the cannabis plant from pathogens, which makes the herb intensify its THC production in UVB light. UVB light causes oxidative stress, which contributes to visible aging and other skin conditions. Oxidative stress can result in damage at both DNA and cellular levels. This damage can make consumers more susceptible to serious medical conditions, such as neurodegenerative illness and cancer. Being a potent antioxidant, among the various health benefits of THC is safeguarding the body from stress-related damage.
Potential Side Effects Of THC
Other than the potential THC benefits you stand to gain, it can also induce its own set of adverse reactions. This can be especially true if you’re a new user. Here are some of the most frequent side effects of THC:
Paranoia and Anxiety
This is among the worst side effects you may experience. Although small quantities of THC may induce social anxiety or mild paranoia, large doses and edibles can cause exacerbated side effects. In small doses, THC can actually relieve anxiety. This is as a result of its biphasic effects, which means it has opposite effects with different doses.
Also known as ‘cottonmouth’, THC can make your mouth very dry. Our saliva glands have cannabinoid receptors. THC copies a natural chemical known as anandamide, which attaches to these receptors to reduce the production of saliva. Given how THC has a high affinity towards these receptors, it escalates the effects even further. Consume a low dosage and make sure you have plenty of water nearby.
Dry, Red Eyes
Dry, red eyes are the classic giveaway that somebody has consumed THC. With the social stigma surrounding marijuana, this can make a bad impression. Regular cannabis users sometimes make eye drops a common companion. But what causes the redness? Eye redness may simply be aversion to cannabis smoke. Generally, THC lowers blood pressure and dilates the eyes’ blood vessels, which results in redness.
Even with the widely accepted THC benefits, laws currently prevent it from being a full-fledged treatment. Marijuana is still categorized as a Schedule 1 drug as per the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 at the federal level. According to the federal government, Schedule I narcotics have no acceptable medicinal use and have a high possibility for addiction. This makes possessing marijuana a federal crime even if it’s for medical reasons.
Federal law bars the official prescription of marijuana because it is still classified as a Schedule I drug. Due to the federal prescription prohibition of medical marijuana, ‘referrals’ or ‘recommendations’ are common. States with medical marijuana regulations in place have a patient registry that provides some form of safety from getting arrested for possession of marijuana up to a certain amount. Common policy questions about medical marijuana include how to police its recommendation, distribution, and registration of approved patients.
Marijuana Vs. Pharmaceutical Drugs
Medical marijuana has the potential for a myriad of health benefits to both the old and the young. Where traditional methods and pharmaceutical drugs can fail to alleviate or treat debilitating medical complications, medical marijuana may provide relief. Prescription drugs often come with a series of unpleasant effects, which is why more and more individuals are shifting to medical marijuana as a replacement option. So many choose THC-rich marijuana because it:
Replaces Harmful Opioids
Are you aware that prolonged usage of opioids can severely ravage your essential organs? Furthermore, it can lead to addiction as the body gets more tolerant of the drug or can result in overdose. Patients experiencing serious pain don’t have a lot of options. You risk possible organ damage, addiction, and tolerance by taking strong painkillers. Cannabis medicine acts as a viable substitute for opioids and is safe.
Has Less Dangerous Side Effects
Virtually all medications have potential side effects; some are more adverse than others. Pharmaceutical drugs can cause addiction or organ damage, which are all long-term conditions. Although medical marijuana has its own set of side effects, too, they are not long-term and usually go away upon adjusting your dosage.
Offers Multi-Symptom Relief
Regardless if you have one ailment or multiple, it can take several prescription drugs to fully address all your health issues. Multiple prescription medications can get expensive fast and require frequent trips to the pharmacy.
Easy to Adjust Doses
Doctors, your insurance, and your tolerance to particular side effects often dictate which medications you can use. There are times when the medication may not be working for you and there are no other alternatives. Additionally, when you switch or stop taking medication, you’ll have to ween yourself off before making the change. On the other hand, cannabis comes in various formulations and dosages that patients can try out without having to worry about withdrawal effects. If a medical marijuana patient goes through side effects like increased fatigue or paranoia, they can easily reduce the dosage.
Conclusion on THC Benefits
Even though the medical community at large can’t technically acknowledge THC benefits, patients are embracing its usage regardless. However, like any medication, it’s always best to consult with your physician before you consume cannabis. This way, you’ll know how it will interact with other medicines you are taking. Familiarizing yourself with the benefits and risks of consuming cannabis is the best way to make sure you have an enjoyable experience. Anecdotal evidence overwhelmingly shows that patients of all kinds of conditions find relief from cannabis and THC benefits.