What is THC and How is it Healthy?
The use of legal cannabis is a topic that is on everyone’s lips at the moment. You can barely move without seeing headlines, news features, and debates about the use of medical marijuana. If you've paid any attention, you've probably heard two acronyms used over and over: THC and CBD. In this article, we're going to tackle many of the questions surrounding THC. If you have questions about CBD, don't worry - we'll post a companion article later this month talking about that.
Without further ado, here's everything you need to know about THC.
What is THC?
Before we tackle the subject of whether or not THC is healthy, let's first talk about what exactly THC is. When we read and talk about legal cannabis, we tend to focus on the two main compounds that are found in the cannabis plant. These compounds are cannabinoids known as THC and CBD.
THC (or if you're scientifically inclined, tetrahydrocannabinol) is a natural compound found in plants that belong to the cannabis genus. Both THC and CBD can be extracted from hemp and marijuana plants. CBD is generally taken from hemp plants, and as such have a lower concentration of THC.
THC is the element of the plant that produces psychoactive effects, which are often described by users as a ‘high.’ The same sensation is not achieved by CBD. While both compounds can be consumed and ingested in several ways - smoking, using oils and tinctures, and edibles - THC will give you the psychoactive effect of being "high", while CBD will not.
THC and CBD have exactly the same chemical structure, comprising 21 carbon atoms, 2 oxygen atoms, and 30 hydrogen atoms. The difference in the position of the elements contributes to the different effects on the body. In terms of their chemical makeup, CBD and THC are similar to the body’s natural endocannabinoids, and this facilitates reactions between the compounds and the body’s cannabinoid receptors. When there is a reaction, neurotransmitters, which send signals to the brain, are released, and this is why you experience the effects of using smoking weed.
In other words, the reason that THC gives users the feeling of being high is because the THC has the ability to bind with certain receptors in your brain.
How is THC healthy?
As more and more states legalize both medical and recreational marijuana, more and more people are discovering the benefits of THC.
There is a ton of research documenting the positive effects that THC and CBD have on the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, medical marijuana has been used to treat ailments and illnesses for thousands of years, but in today’s society, the legal use of cannabis for medical purposes is a relatively new concept.
If you’re thinking about starting to use legal cannabis, or if you have questions about how healthy THC is, here’s an extensive list of the health benefits that can be enjoyed as a result of consuming THC:
Pain management and relief
The most common use of THC is to alleviate and manage chronic pain. Many people across the United States suffer from ongoing pain and discomfort as a result of an injury, accident, or underlying health condition. Living with pain can be incredibly difficult, and it can restrict all aspects of a person's life. If a person is in constant pain, or if you have episodes that come and go without warning, it can severely limit the way he or she lives their day to day life and it can disrupt social and work activities.
For centuries, THC has been used to treat pain. This is supported by a bunch of research conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine showing that THC can be an effective remedy for the 25 million Americans suffering from chronic pain.
THC is similar to the cannabinoids that are found naturally within the body, so when you inhale or consume THC, it triggers a reaction that helps ease pain and promote comfort. While THC may not be a suitable remedy for severe, acute pain - say, breaking a bone - it can certainly make a positive impact on those living with long-term discomfort.
One pressing issue that is appearing in the media spotlight on an increasingly regular basis is addiction to painkillers, most notably opioids. Many people view legal cannabis as a far safer alternative to opioids, due to its natural composition and a much lower risk of becoming dependent.
Chronic pain can be associated with several different types of illness, and studies have suggested that THC can offer benefits for those suffering from:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nerve pain
While THC is not recommended for some psychological conditions - of instance, bipolar disorder and psychosis - it can be beneficial for those who suffer from generalized anxiety and mild cases of social anxiety. THC has been found to offer short-term benefits for those who feel anxious and on edge.
Researchers at Washington State University discovered that cannabis use contributed to significantly lower levels of self-reported anxiety, stress, and depression in the short-term. Long-term use was not found to have significant benefits.
Many people are prone to anxiety, and often, it can be difficult to find remedies and techniques that are effective. THC might not work for everyone, but studies suggest that low doses can provide short-term relief for those who struggle to relax.
According to the National Cancer Institute, cannabis has been used as a medical remedy for over 3,000 years. Although not an FDA-approved cancer treatment, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that using medical marijuana can provide benefits for those undergoing cancer treatment.
The National Cancer Institute suggests that THC can offer the following benefits for cancer patients:
- Reducing nausea and sickness caused by chemotherapy treatment
- Stimulating appetite and increasing hunger in those who experience a loss of appetite during treatment
- Improved sleep quality
- Pain relief
The vast majority of health experts that recommend cannabis use during cancer treatment do so as a means of managing and reducing the severity of symptoms caused by the disease and therapies employed to treat it.
Although cancer treatments have become more advanced over the years, treatments often cause unpleasant side-effects. Chemotherapy can be particularly challenging, as it often results in severe nausea and sickness. THC can help to reduce and prevent nausea due to its relationship with the body's cannabinoid receptors. When THC binds with receptors, it disrupts signals to the brain. While THC might not address the root cause of nausea, it can help those unpleasant waves of feeling unwell to subside.
Many cancer patients struggle to keep food down, or report having no appetite. This can obviously affect nutrition and make it difficult to retain and boost immunity levels. One helpful side effect oc cannabis - the "munchies" - can help increase your appetite levels and help you stomach food more easily. This can help prevent the rapid weight loss and vitamin/mineral deficiencies often associated with cancer and cancer treatment.
In addition, cancer often causes widespread pain. This type of pain can make even the most basic tasks very challenging, and it can also affect sleep patterns and quality of sleep. THC has been found to be an effective form of pain relief that can help patients undergoing cancer treatment to feel more comfortable and to get more sleep.
Multiple sclerosis is a lifelong condition that affects the brain and the spinal cord and can resulting in a diverse range of symptoms. The most common symptoms include:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Unsteadiness on your feet
- Blurred and disturbed vision
- Numbness and tingling sensations
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle stiffness
- Lack of balance and coordination
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition, which means that it occurs when the body mistakes healthy tissue in the brain or spinal cord for an intruder or threat. As a result, the body starts to effectively attack itself. In this case the myelin sheath, which is a protective layer that surrounds the nerves, comes under fire. Once the sheath is damaged, worn or scarred, nerves signals slow down and messages can become disrupted.
One of the most significant benefits of THC for multiple sclerosis is preventing and reducing the severity of muscle spasms. THC can also ease short-term pain and stiffness for those diagnosed with MS.
Stress is one of the most common ailments in our modern society. While most of us can deal with the occasional bout of mild stress, severe stress can pose serious risks to both mental and physical health. Often, recognizing triggers and dealing with stress is the best way to prevent complications.
There are a number of reasons why people experience stress. In some cases, stress can actually be positive. There are a lot of people who thrive under pressure. However, there are some serious negatives, and stress can often make us feel like we’re just spinning our wheels or swimming against the tide. In this case, it’s wise to try and combat stress levels before it gets the better of you.
Cannabis has been identified as a solution for stress, and low levels of THC were found to lower stress levels. Researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago reported that small doses of THC successfully reduced stress in their tests. On the flip side, they also discovered that high levels could exacerbate symptoms.
Stress is part and parcel of life, but if it’s not managed properly, it can contribute to anxiety, depression, sleep troubles, compromised immunity, irritation, and increased susceptibility to illness. If you suffer from stress and have tried unsuccessfully to find a solution to deal with it, THC could be beneficial to you.
Studies show that 1 in 4 Americans suffer from insomnia. Most of us experience sleepless nights once in a while - usually due to pets, kids, or the prospect of an important meeting or an interview in the morning. While one bad night's sleep won’t harm you, if you struggle to get enough sleep on a regular basis, it can seriously impact your mood, your health, and your mental wellbeing.
When you’re exhausted, your energy levels will be low, you’ll find it difficult to focus and concentrate, and you might be more prone to making mistakes. Your health may also suffer, and you might feel irritable and moody. There are multiple self-help techniques you can try to improve sleep patterns, including establishing a bedtime routine, making your bedroom more peaceful and tranquil, and avoiding caffeine late at night. Exercise is also a great natural remedy for insomnia. However, if you’ve tried all these with limited success, studies show that THC can help to alleviate sleep problems.
Statistics from the National Center for PTSD suggests that up to 8% of Americans will experience symptoms of PTSD at some point in their lives. This equates to around 24 million people or a group the size of the population of Texas. PTSD is a condition that is attracting more attention, and people are becoming more aware of the symptoms and potential risk factors. There are several possible causes of PTSD, but in many cases people develop this condition after experiencing a traumatic life event. Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Nightmares and flashbacks
- Social anxiety and isolation
Since PTSD is poorly understood by most, it can be a very difficult subject to talk about and manage. While THC might not be able to treat the root cause of PTSD, it can nullify some of the symptoms - most notably, anxiety and insomnia.
There’s often an (incorrect) assumption that cannabis damages brain cells, which stems from the stereotype of a recreational drug user. In fact, THC can actually serve to protect the brain due to its relationship with CB1 receptors in the brain. This reaction stimulates a process called long-term potentiation, which actually promotes learning. There is also evidence to suggest that THC can facilitate growth of cells in the hippocampus region of the brain. This is part of the limbic system, and it plays an important role in the creation of new memories and with learning and emotional responses.
We often come across articles that extol the benefits of antioxidants, usually when reading about superfoods and new dietary trends. Antioxidants can slow the aging process down, and they also protect the body from stress. THC is a very powerful antioxidant, and it can help shield the body from external sources of stress that could elevate the risk of potentially serious health complications. Cannabis plants increase the production of THC in response to UVB light rays, providing a natural defense mechanism, and this reaction provides an insight into the benefit of THC for human health.
Is THC really healthy?
If you took a moment to search for the benefits of using cannabis online, you would be greeted with pages and pages of results, with links to all kinds of articles, guides, and studies. With so much information out there, it can be tough to separate genuine, credible data from information that follows a rhetoric.
The advice for people who are looking for answers about the health benefits of THC is to focus on reputable sources, to look at articles that are based on scientific research and evidence and to read features that offer a balanced approach. THC has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, and it does offer benefits for patients with some health conditions and symptoms.
Studies suggest that THC can be beneficial for treating and relieving pain and nausea, for boosting appetite and for reducing anxiety and stress, but it’s not a miracle cure that can make anyone feel better in a matter of minutes. There are limitations, and some people will respond much more positively to THC than others.
One of the questions people ask most frequently when exploring the idea of trying THC for the first time is ‘is THC safe?’ The answer is that low doses of THC are likely to be considered safe for almost anyone, but the best course of action is to seek professional advice if you have any concerns or reservations. THC can be hugely beneficial, but it should always be used properly and dosages should be carefully controlled.
Tips for new cannabis users
There is so much attention on legal cannabis at the moment, and everyone seems to be talking about medical marijuana and the healing powers of THC and CBD. If you’re tempted to try THC for the first time, it’s useful to do some research, to look at different types of products, and to discuss the benefits of THC with your doctor so that you can explore the potential advantages related to your own health. If you struggle with chronic pain, for example, you may be advised to try THC as an alternative to pain relief medication.
There are various ways of consuming or ingesting or inhaling THC, and you might find that you need to go through a period of trial and error to determine which methods or products work best for you.
If you haven't used cannabis before, check out our guide to using marijuana for the first time.
One matter that is important to consider when you approach the idea of buying THC for the first time is state legislation. Although cannabis is now legal in many states, it’s not legal across the US, and you’ll need to check regulations where you live. The situation is very fluid, and the number of states where marijuana is legal for medicinal use is increasing all the time.
Healthy smoking: does it really exist?
When you hear the word smoking, it’s natural for most people to form a negative association. Smoking is usually associated with cigarettes, which contain a mixture of harmful chemicals, including nicotine and tar.
If you’re thinking of trying THC, you might be wondering if there is such a thing as healthy smoking. If you’re keen to enjoy the health benefits of THC without putting your lungs at risk, there are solutions and products you can buy.
Our company was founded to help cannabis users smoke healthier. Weedgets mouthpieces, which are placed over a smoking device, act as filters that remove hazardous materials and chemicals, preventing them from getting into the user’s mouth and lungs. This innovative product helps to protect the lung tissue, reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses and prevent throat irritation.
Another option is to choose ingestion methods that don’t involve smoking such as edibles, drops, or capsules.
THC is a compound that is attracting more and more attention. Despite the fact that THC and CBD have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, they are a relatively new treatment option for patients living in the 21st century. People often think of cannabis as a recreational drug, but it has been legalized for medicinal use across a number of states, and this is based on a growing body of evidence that supports the benefits of using these cannabis compounds.
THC has been proven to provide health benefits for patients who experience a range of symptoms as a result of different illnesses and conditions. Pain relief is the most common reason people seek information or advice about medical marijuana. It is estimated that 25 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and THC is a natural alternative to medications that cause side-effects and become addictive. THC has also been linked to effective symptom management in patients who are undergoing cancer treatment, and it can help to ease anxiety and stress.
While THC may not be a new miracle cure that can magic every symptom known to man away, there is substantial evidence to support its benefits for people who suffer from specific illnesses and disorders. When exploring the option of trying TLC, it’s wise to speak with your doctor, to find out more about dosages and consumption methods, and to check the current legislation in the state where you live.