We’re learning a lot about cannabidiol (CBD) every day. It’s becoming a health supplement like omega-3 fish oils. But when it comes to cannabis’s other known component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), all we hear about is how THC gets you “high.” It’s gotten so bad that many people don’t think that THC has any medicinal value.
It’s time to set the record straight.
1. THC Protects Brain Cells
Reefer madness had people believe that cannabis destroyed brain cells. The reality is that THC is a neuro-protectant that it protects brain cells from damage.
In fact, when you put THC and CBD together, cannabis actually stimulates brain growth. Studies on mice that combined THC and CBD show promise for humans continue to find improvements in Alzheimer’s symptoms.
If that weren’t enough, researchers at the UCLA Medical Center in Torrance found in 2014 that people with THC in their systems were 80 percent less likely to survive from traumatic head injuries than those without. Of course, more needed to understand the reasons why, but studies like this are advancing our understanding of the science of how cannabis can help victims of brain injuries.
2. THC Provides Pain Relief
One of the top medical benefits of THC is pain relief. According to the 2007/2008 Canadian Community Health Survey, about 1 in 10 Canadians aged 12 to 44 experienced chronic pain – more women than men, an estimated 1.5 million people. It’s believed that more than 1.5 billion people worldwide live with chronic pain.
For many people, this pain comes from nerve-related problems. If you suffer from the daily grinds of chronic back pains, for example, cannabis appears to block those pain signals to your brain.
We know a positive correlation between THC and pain relief exists. Even though clinical research on cannabis continues to be stifled in the U.S. laws, a review of existing research confirms THC can provide mild to moderate pain relief.
3. THC Helps as a Sleep Aid
THC can also help with sleep. A 1973 study from the Napa State Hospital, Napa, California, found that THC helped insomniacs fall asleep faster. In another study, when dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC, was used, those with sleep apnea found their breathing improved during sleep.
4. THC Helps Treat PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a horrible experience and feeling. It’s estimated that PTSD affects 9 percent of Canadians.
It’s an experience that former Canadian soldier Cody Lindsay felt after returning from Afghanistan. It’s an experience the Seattle-based writer Caitlin Flynn felt recovering as a rape survivor. PTSD can come in many forms, yet for many people, it can cripple you with severe anxiety, depression, insomnia, nightmares, and flashbacks.
THC is proving to be an effective treatment option for PTSD. Researchers at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Israel found THC helped PTSD patients to regain a balance from the nightmares and flashbacks by improving the quality of sleep.
5. THC Helps to Counter Epilepsy
CBD is popular and given all the credit for reducing seizures for those with epilepsy. But wait, adding THC also helps.
Preliminary data from Colombia suggests that children with epilepsy may respond better with high THC and low CBD than with low-THC and high CBD. In similar findings, a 2018 survey by researchers in Australia found higher THC appeared to be more effective for treating epilepsy than those with higher amounts CBD.
Of course, we need to do more research. These finding might not work for all epilepsy patients. But it’s possible what we are learning is that it comes down to the ratio of THC to CBD for each person that makes the difference. It’s becoming clearer that even by adding a small amount of THC, CBD’s benefits multiply.
6. THC Increases Appetite
While cannabis’s notorious “munchies” gets a bad rap, there’s something more profound going on. For those affected by HIV, hepatitis, or recovering from the nausea of cancer who feel a loss of appetite as a real problem, THC’s hunger-inducing effects can help.
THC is known for increasing appetite by triggering the body’s release of hormone “ghrelin” to stimulate hunger. Interesting enough, scientists are also finding that cannabis makes food smell better, adding to the lure of hunger pangs that come with cannabis.
7. THC Helps with Asthma
Considering that most people smoke cannabis, lung health isn’t what most people think about when it comes to good health. But believe it or not, THC may help your lungs.
In 2014, researchers compared the lungs of healthy subjects and asthma patients after providing synthetic cannabis. The research found that THC expanded the lung’s bronchodilator airways to get air into the lungs. There’s evidence the terpene “pinene” might actually be what’s helping to enhance these bronchodilator effects.
8. THC is a Potential Anti-Tumor Agent
There’s promising evidence that suggests the psychoactive (among other cannabis compounds) has powerful anti-cancer effects. In
2006, scientists in Spain discovered THC blocks tumor cells from forming by cutting off their food and oxygen supply and seem to stop cancer cells from metastasizing. And in a study published in 2014, THC reduced the size of breast cancer tumors in mice by activating specific cannabinoid receptors within the body.
9. THC is a Muscle Relaxant
In 2014, the American Academy of Neurology said it supported the effectiveness of cannabis for treating certain symptoms of multiple sclerosis and pain. A systematic review in 2015 confirmed that cannabis was effective in treating spasticity and chronic pain.
10. THC Helps with Expanding the Mind
Let’s not forget to give credit to THC for its psychoactive effects. Used in the right dosage, THC can enhance creativity, eases social interactions and opens room for personal insights. For many people, THC’s psychoactive effect is needed for psychological relief.
So the next time you hear “CBD is for medical and THC is for getting you high,” step in to correct this misconception. Tell them that THC fights against cancer, chronic pain, appetite loss, asthma, and aids with sleep, PTSD, epilepsy, and brain cells.
With the right guidance, cannabis as a medicine is helping many to overcome a wide variety of medical problems. If you have any question, Coverleaf’s health professional are here to help with answers.