8 Proven Health Benefits of THC
CBD is a veritable craze, with everyone and your mother advocating for its use to solve all manner of ills — arthritis pain, headaches, sleeping problems, anxiety and more. You can find CBD products in all shapes, sizes and colors, from oils to soaps to candies to vape pens, so you can easily incorporate the miracle treatment into your lifestyle.
However, even as cannabis becomes medicinally and recreationally legal around the country, few people are talking about the benefits of THC. The dominant cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is what creates marijuana’s famous high, but it can offer benefits just like its more popular, less psychoactive partner CBD. Though research on CBD is just beginning, some studies on THC have almost conclusively determined that THC can have positive effects on users’ health. Here are some popular health benefits of THC, some of which you might want to consider taking advantage of.
There are dozens of ongoing studies to better understand the relationship of various cannabinoids and pain relief, but a few early studies have shown that THC does reduce the intensity of pain. Specifically, low doses of vaporized THC oil seem to interrupt nervous pathways that send pain signals to and from the brain, so those who participate in THC treatment experience roughly 30 percent less pain than they would with no treatment whatsoever.
The body takes in cannabinoids through cannabinoid receptors sprinkled throughout the body. Plenty of receptors are located in the brain, but surprising to some, many receptors are clustered in the digestive system. As a result, THC can have incredibly effects on digestion, especially in reducing the feeling of nausea. In fact, an FDA-approved THC pill called Marinol has been available since the 1980s to cancer patients suffering from chemo-related nausea and vomiting.
A whole generation of Americans grew up believing that marijuana kills brain cells, when in fact it does the exact opposite. A 2014 study found that people with THC in their systems who experienced a traumatic head injury were 80 percent less likely to die — because, researchers posit, THC is a neuroprotective antioxidant that helps brain cells avoid damage.
One reason marijuana is a popular drug is that it helps people feel relaxed, like their muscles are loose and their bodies are comfortable. Believe it or not, the ability to decrease muscle tension is exceedingly valuable in medicine. In 30 countries, THC is already used in a prescription muscle relaxant called Sativex, which is given to sufferers of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, muscle spasms and other disorders.
Plenty of CBD products are marketed to improve sleep, but THC seems to have a hand in providing healthy sleep, too. Specifically, recent research indicates that THC improves breathing during sleep. This is good for sufferers of sleep apnea, who notoriously struggle to breathe while sleeping, but it might also benefit insomniacs who suffer from consistently interrupted sleep.
Potheads and stoners are often ridiculed for “getting the munchies” while high, but marijuana’s ability to stimulate appetite can be a useful tool. There are a number of disorders and diseases that interfere with an individual’s appetite, like anorexia, hepatitis and dementia. Cancer treatments can also leave people feeling disinterested in food. THC helps promote the appetite in the brain, by encouraging the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin, and in the digestive system, which kicks into high gear.
One of the reasons cannabis plants generate THC is to protect itself from disease-carrying bacteria — and THC could do the same thing for humans, too. In a rodent study, THC helped obese mice alter their gut biomes to look more like those of lean mice. Even more importantly, THC is one of the only substances that can successfully combat Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is a serious threat to modern health. Thus, taking in a bit of THC could be good for your gut and your cuts.
CBD is cannabis’s wunderkind, already in use in a life-saving epilepsy medication that reduces convulsions in those who suffer from frequent seizures. However, there is good evidence that THC is also an anticonvulsant and thus a potentially critical tool in managing neurological disorders. Early marijuana research in the ‘40s and ‘70s found that 40 percent of animals and children unresponsive to traditional epilepsy treatment benefitted from doses of THC, so perhaps research into THC as an anticonvulsant should resume.
THC is great for getting high, but that’s not all it’s great for. We definitely need more research into THC to better understand the full range of its medical applications, so we can use the drug to help those in need.