We see tons of articles about the incredible health benefits which CBD delivers to a wide variety of patients. This leaves people thinking that THC is the “fun” molecule whose only purpose in life is to make people goofy.
While we will admit that THC gets you “high,” there is no need for goofy thinking about the health benefits of THC. They are many and far-reaching, and the research for THC health benefits has only begun!
Kudos to THC Health Benefits
Without taking anything away from the amazing, almost miraculous, benefits of CBD, this article will focus on the health benefits to be derived from THC. We feel it’s time for THC to get some kudos for doing more than pasting a grin upon our face and planting a dream in our minds (though we can never stop raving about those fun and wonderful effects as well!).
For people suffering from glaucoma, there are plenty of reasons for them to have a goofy smile from using THC, but we are not talking about the high. We are talking about people finally being able to see better, thanks to THC.
Glaucoma is a condition which affects the intraocular pressure (IOP) of the eyes. Those individuals suffering from high IOP are considered to have glaucoma, a type of ocular hypertension. Normal eye pressure typically ranges between 10 and 21 mm Hg; higher pressures indicate the possibility of glaucoma which, if not treated, often leads to blindness,
As far back as 1971, medical experts were getting clues that smoking marijuana appeared to lower IOP. Needless to say, marijuana legalization advocates were ecstatic (even before taking a puff!) about this news and were regularly promoting its health benefits to any eye specialist they could find. The real revolution began in earnest in 1974, thanks to Robert Randall, a 26-year-old with advance symptoms of glaucoma. Specifically, whenever he would smoke marijuana, he could see “halos” around lights, convincing him that the plant positively affected his eyesight.
So enthusiastic was Randall that he eventually faced criminal charges for growing the plant to ease his symptoms; Randall successfully convinced a federal judge that marijuana use, for him, was a medical necessity, forging the first landmark legal decision in favor of marijuana.
Thus began the first important step towards legitimizing marijuana as a natural product containing clear and important medical benefits. With special kudos to Robert Randall, medical marijuana pioneer and explorer!
Another health area where THC has made waves and produced positive effects is in dealing with muscle spasms. The American Academy of Neurology lists cannabis as one of the acceptable therapies for treating multiple sclerosis (MS). Specifically, they studied four types of medical marijuana treatments:
- Oral Cannabis Extract (OCE) – a cannabis pill
- Synthetic Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – a synthesized cannabis pill
- Oromucosal Cannabinoid Spray – an oral mouth spray, also called nabiximols (Sativex)
- Smoked Cannabis – the classic tried and true method used for centuries!
Using the above forms of medication, the effects of cannabis on the following symptoms were examined:
- Bladder Problems
Results of these studies indicated OCE showed strong evidence of lessened spasticity and reduced pain from those spasms, while Synthetic THC showed moderate evidence of helping these symptoms. There was insufficient evidence showing a reduction of bladder control or tremor symptoms for both OCE and Synthetic THC.
The oral spray produced moderate evidence of reduced frequency of urination, along with a reduction in spasms and the accompanying pain. Moderate evidence showed nabiximols did not treat incontinence and there was weak evidence that it doesn’t help relieve tremors. There was insufficient evidence to show it helped with other MS symptoms.
There was insufficient evidence which showed smoking marijuana effectively treats any MS symptoms but, hey, it was fun trying!
While it is not 100% proven, enough evidence exists showing THC can deliver positive health benefits to those suffering from MS.
Anyone who has nodded off after puffing a bit more than planned, or puffed a bit stronger strain then expected, needs no scientific data backing up the fact that THC can put one to sleep and keep them in that dreamy state for a full night.
Insomniacs suffer from four different symptoms:
- Difficulty Falling Asleep – tossing and turning instead of slipping into sleep is frustrating, which can then feed in anxiety
- Trouble Staying Asleep – sometimes even more frustrating than trying to get to sleep is suddenly waking up again
- Waking Too Early – who doesn’t love sleeping in, which makes involuntarily waking early in the morning so annoying
- Wakening Unrefreshed – getting up with your mind on when you can next sleep is the biggest clue you did not get a refreshing sleep
Based upon the above list of symptoms, it is likely that you are among the 35-50% of the adult population who experiences one or more of these symptoms each year.
However, if you are a regular cannabis user, the likelihood of you sleeping well increases significantly. In fact, most users admit that one of the primary reasons for using cannabis is to improve their sleep patterns and behavior. While THC itself has sedative effects, certain terpenes found in different marijuana strains also contribute to a relaxing state; terpenes to look for when seeking a calmer or sleepy state include:
Again, this symptom is dying for the cure which THC offers: the munchies! While regular users finally learn to modulate their “munch” meter over time, many first time users of pot are amazed at their sudden and voracious appetite. All of a sudden, everything looks delicious, and tastes equally delicious when munched.
So what is happening to make us happy munchers? In tests with some very lucky rats and some very clever scientists, the rodents were exposed to cannabis vapors meant to mimic how humans consume cannabis. They were surprised to learn these little critters got the munchies when dosed with the vapor, even right after a meal, causing them to prefer smaller meals at more frequent intervals. Further exploration revealed the THC appears to release a hormone called ghrelin, which is how the brain gets the signal it’s time to feed the body. Additional tests using another drug to block the ghrelin from reacting showed the THC no longer caused the munchies in the rodents, confirming that THC does kick ghrelin into action.
This is great news for any person suffering from low appetite, a common unwanted side effect from other drug treatments. Interestingly, studies also show you are not likely to be obese because of marijuana use. Wow, talk about a miracle drug!
On top of being a natural appetite stimulant, THC can also calm an upset stomach and even suppress vomiting after chemotherapy treatments. A paper published in the British Journal of Pharmacology back in 2011 presented evidence of the anti-emetic effect of THC cannabinoids. The paper further notes that CBD also has similar properties, but in a more limited dose range, making THC the clear winner when aiding those dealing with nausea from medications, treatments, or natural ailments.
Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Okay, are we really going broad brush, trying to claim THC is some miracle cure for just about anything? There is more research to be done, but one can always hope and believe!
In the short period of time since marijuana has enjoyed legality in the medical field, cannabis horticulture has made incredible strides in creating unusual strains of marijuana intended to emphasize specific health or physical benefits. In particular, there are now two broad species of cannabis: indica and sativa. In general, sativa is considered the “up” high, while indica delivers a “low” high. So if you are in the mood for a big house cleaning, want to party into the late hours, or otherwise be charged up, sativa is your species. If, on the other hand, you need to slow down, are looking for a quiet night, or just prefer a lowered energy state, indica is your go-to species.
But then, within these two broad categories lie unlimited strains and the equally broad middle ground choice of hybrid strains. Thanks to the amazing variety of effects and tastes from which you can choose, managing stress, anxiety, and depression through natural means may be easier than ever before.
So there you have it. While THC may always have the reputation of making us goofy, let’s not ignore the health side of the this incredible molecule. Maybe we need to retool our view of medication from being distasteful and somber, instead recognizing THC as the way to feel great while getting better!