THC-containing cannabis has been used therapeutically — in folk remedies — for thousands of years. Only in recent decades, though, has it come into the fold of modern science and medicine.
In this post, we explore several aspects of THC’s influence on health and wellness.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychotropic substance and predominant cannabinoid in marijuana. However, THC is also present in other cultivars of cannabis — like hemp — just in lesser amounts.
With the growing legality and cultural acceptance of this cannabinoid, it’s no surprise that people are interested in understanding how THC might be able to level-up their well-being.
THC works with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to produce various mental and physical responses and outcomes. The ECS is a system-wide network of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes that controls or helps regulate many of your body’s functions.
When you consume THC, it can affect both the CB1 and CB2 ECS receptors in the peripheral and central nervous systems. This is why THC’s able to influence mind and body wellness and may — in some ways — have a more intense influence than delta-8 and CBD.
With that said, let's take a good look at what you wellness boosts you might expect from THC….
Based on research, THC exhibits an analgesic effect that moderates pain in your body. THC is particularly noted as being helpful for neuropathic (nerve) pain.
You have asked yourself this question, “What does THC do to the brain?” Some small studies — bolstered by patient and anecdotal reports — may alleviate symptoms of Tourette Syndrome and Parkinson’s disease.(3)
THC has long been touted for its antiemetic properties. With vomiting and nausea being a frequent problem for cancer patients, many believe that THC may be an effective addition to conventional therapeutic approaches.
Recent research (mostly in animals) has been turning out data showing that THC can inhibit tumors. It does this in two ways: by killing off existing tumor cells and by slowing the progression of the tumor.(4)
This is a tricky one as THC may only help with sleep woes in certain cases. If you’re the type that finds THC sedative, it make facilitate better quality slumber. THC could also ease underlying issues — like chronic pain or stress — which then lets users get a more restful snooze.(5)
Based on research and consumer interviews, THC can improve appetite and ease cachexia (wasting). These are common issues for people with cancer, undergoing chemotherapy, or living with HIV/AIDS.
Studies show that THC may ease muscle stiffness and spasticity as well as reduce frequency of urination for those with multiple sclerosis.
There’s ample evidence that marijuana may help keep your peepers in fine function. THC seems to reduce intraocular pressure, which is a hallmark of glaucoma.
At lower doses, THC may decrease anxiety. This is probably why many people with social anxiety disorder report using it.(6)
THC is a tranquilizer that may provide a mild and uplifting calm. This sedative quality can quiet your “monkey mind” and energize your body.
In addition to the conditions and concerns above, experts are also looking into the possible therapeutic applications and outcomes of THC for:(7)
Everyone likes a good party, right? The more the merrier and all.
Cannabis can be like a good party, with plant constituents (like THC) being the partygoers and your body the ultimate venue.
When your THC is mixing and mingling with other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and any additional phytocompounds — you may get an entourage effect. This is when the combo of individual components is better than each one on its own.
The entourage effect could make your THC even more effective in your body. Which could make it even more helpful in reaching the wellness goals that prompted you to take THC in the first place.
Full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD also have at least some THC, plus other plant substances. This means there’s a reasonable chance of an entourage effect with products that aren’t THC dominant.
The consequences of THC's strong potency can result in intense side effects. And, if not used properly, THC may cause unintended consequences like:(1)
Remember, full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD also contain at least trace amounts of THC. So there’s a slight chance you may notice vague side effects of the THC. It comes down to: The more THC there is, the greater your chance of THC side effect potential.
If you have any current medical conditions or take medications or supplements, it’s best to check with your doctor before using THC. THC may be contraindicated for some people or might interfere with other things you’re taking.
It’s also important to consume THC-infused product responsibly, for your and other’s safety. Follow product instructions, begin with conservative doses, make sure in a safe environment for THC use, don’t drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence, etc.
Every consumption method has its own onset timing, duration, and effects. So, how you choose to take THC will likely impact its efficacy.
It may take a bit of experimentation to hit upon the administration approach that yields the best results for your personal needs and preferences.
Here are the major THC delivery methods. There are tons of available products for each way of consumption.
Basically, you’re eating, drinking, or directly swallowing the THC product. Think gummies, edibles, and infused beverages. Ingested THC needs to work its way through your digestive system before entering the bloodstream. Therefore, it can take a little more time for the THC to kick in but the results may last longer.
There are two kinds of inhalation methods – vaporizing and smoking. Inhaled THC is absorbed directly into your bloodstream through your lungs. Vaping and smoking provide a speedy onset with similar effects. Beware, though, that there are dangers associated with smoking/vaping, which may be especially contrary to your wellness goals.
Topical application involves putting the THC on your body externally. Topical THC won’t absorb into your bloodstream as extensively as with other consumption methods. You can find topical products in various forms — such as patches, lotions, creams, and balms. This delivery option is ideal for targeted relief of things like skin irritation, pain, and more.
Similar to topical administration, transdermal applications involve putting the THC on the outside of your body. Transdermal THC is design to release slowly and may enter your bloodstream more than topicals. Patches and gels appear to be the most common transdermal THC products on the market. This delivery option is ideal for targeted relief of things like prolonged or persistent back pain.
These delivery methods take advantage of the thin tissues in your mouth and nose. Sublingual (under the tongue) and nasal (in the nostrils) administration is fast-acting as the THC quickly passes through the membranes and right into the bloodstream..
THC offers numerous potential benefits — like relieving stress, improving sleep, reducing pain, and more. Current research continues to explore the efficacy of THC for many health and wellness conditions as well as discover new therapeutic applications.
However, THC must be use appropriately to minimize the risks of side effects — such as paranoia and anxiety — and adverse reactions. If you have any medical concerns or take meds or supplements, it’s advised to talk to your doctor about using THC before doing so.
THC’s readily available in various product formulations and with different delivery mechanisms. It may take some time and patience to home in on the THC products that work best for you.
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