THC Is Good for More than the High
Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, has suffered from an image problem since its discovery in 1964. Famous for the high it causes, the public has a hard time looking beyond its psychotropic effects.
Novices to cannabis therapeutics are often astonished to find that THC has more than recreational value. In fact, it is responsible for helping an overwhelming majority of medical cannabis users with a wide range of conditions, in addition to having contributed to a wealth of medical knowledge for the past several decades.
By the last count, THC is one of over 100 identified cannabinoids, special chemical compounds, in the cannabis plant. However, it is the most active, matched so far in medical and research significance only by CBD, the other well-known cannabinoid. Although CBD is currently the compound of choice for seekers of medical cannabis treatment, THC remains the powerhouse of medicinal cannabis.
Some Medical Benefits
The website, MedicalJane.com, has reported on the following promising medical benefits of THC in recent research:
- An Israeli study finds that THC can cause remission of Crohn’s disease.
- THC is instrumental in treating symptoms of PTSD.
- THC is showing success in exposure-based phobia treatment.
- A study from the Netherlands shows that THC may help relieve depression.
- A study shows how THC can aid in treating eating disorders.
- THC can help in fighting obesity and preventing diabetes.
- THC can help prevent heart attacks.
- THC can help encourage neuroplasticity, the way the brain develops over time and regenerates itself.
- THC may help treat Parkinson’s disease.
- Low doses of THC may protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
- THC may inhibit the progression of AIDS.
- A Spanish study suggests that THC may delay retinal degeneration and vision loss.
More reports of current research from the website, NORML.org:
- THC reduces the symptoms of sleep apnea.
- THC is shown to possess gastroprotective qualities and may reduce incidences of hospitalization due to gastric inflammation induced by NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen).
Although CBD is currently the compound of choice for seekers of medical cannabis treatment, THC remains the powerhouse of medicinal cannabis.
Therapeutic Properties of THC
THC is particularly well suited for:
- relieving pain, especially chronic and nerve-related pain
- alleviating nausea and vomiting
- stimulating appetite
- fighting inflammation
- aiding in sleep
- fighting tumors
It should be noted though that THC, or CBD for that matter, is not often at its best acting alone. Research has found that CBD relates to THC in a synergistic way by boosting THC’s function and mitigating its psychotropic effects. Moreover, cannabinoids are equally enhanced by other components in the cannabis plant, such as terpenes – a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.
THC in Pharmaceuticals
Ironically, while the prohibition on cannabis has essentially been due to THC and the historical fears of its physical and social harms, pharmaceutical companies have quietly been reaping its pharmacological benefits with government approval.
Synthetic versions of THC have been available in prescription drugs, such as Marinol, since 1985. Marinol was first used for treating nausea and vomiting in cancer patients and then for appetite stimulation in AIDS patients. It is also used as an analgesic to ease neuropathic pain in Multiple Sclerosis patients.
Sativex, an oral spray launched in the UK in 2010, is currently on the “fast track” for approval with the Food and Drug Administration as pain treatment for cancer patients. When it does become available, it will be the first cannabis-based prescription medication in the world, containing both THC and CBD.
 Close to 6500 research articles appear on PubMed.gov, the website of the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, with the keyword “delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol.” Over 13,000 articles appear with the keyword, “cannabis.”