What is THC? Why Is It Important? Hyhr Staff December 28, 2022

What is THC? Why Is It Important?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive element contained in cannabis. It produces a high feeling. But contrary to popular opinions of the media and researchers about THC and its side effects, it also has some health benefits. THC has proven to be useful for therapeutic relief.

Most people are familiar with THC as an element in cannabis that gets one high. But THC is more complex than that. So what is THC? And why is it important?.

What is THC?

THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, a chemical compound that is mostly responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana. It has features of cannabinoid chemicals that are made naturally by the body.

THC is a cannabinoid chemical that interacts with the endocannabinoid system of the body. It interacts by attaching to the cannabinoid receptors that are located in specific areas of the brain. THC then activates these receptors and affects a person’s thinking, memory, combination, movements, sensory, and pleasure.

THC is one out of 120+ compounds found in the trichomes hidden by glands in the marijuana plant. These glands are found more in the reproductive organs of the marijuana plant than in any other area. Other distinct compounds found in the marijuana plant are called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are also present in the trichomes. 

How Does THC Work?

THC works in the body by attaching itself to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system. THC is one compound that can be detected much longer in the body. But its psychoactive effect lasts for just 2-3 hours. THC is conserved in the body organs and fat for 3-4 weeks.

What Are The Benefits of THC?

THC is used legally as a medicinal drug to relieve some specific health symptoms. But its benefits and research are limited because cannabis is illegal federally in the United States. But over half of the States in the U.S have legalized the medicinal use of cannabis.

According to research, the benefits of THC include:

  • Pain relief: most people seek THC because of its ability to relieve chronic pain. Studies have shown that over the years, THC has significantly improved pain among its users. Further research is still ongoing to know the combination of cannabinoids and their doses is very effective for patients with chronic pain.
  • Nausea reduction during chemotherapy: for over 35 years, THC has been used for the treatment of nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy. Two main drugs that contain THC used for this treatment are dronabinol and nabilone. This treatment was proven during a study of chemo patients who took drugs containing THC. And these patients have stronger protection against vomiting and nausea, than others who only received standard treatment.
  • Reduction of muscle spasms in paraplegics: THC-related products are effective in reducing muscle spasms. Which is a popular symptom among people with paraplegia and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). When THC is combined with other cannabinoids, it is more effective in improving self-reported muscle spasms than a placebo. Though there aren’t many differences between both.
  • Improves sleep: sleep can be difficult for people who live with health conditions such as chronic pain and Multiple Sclerosis. THC has the potency to reduce disturbed sleep, reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep, and improve sleep issues short term.

Other benefits of THC include:

  • Improves memory when consumed in small doses.
  • It helps alleviate overactive bladder and spasticity
  • It helps to combat seizures.
  • It causes positive appetite change in people with an eating disorder
  • THC helps with neurodegenerative disease.
  • THC helps patients with Glaucoma
  • It treats Migraines
  • It’s effective in treating opioid use disorder
  • It helps with symptoms attached to HIV/Aids.
  • THC also assists patients with depression, anxiety, and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

THC Effects On The Human Body

THC stimulates the cells in the brain to release dopamine, thereby creating a euphoric effect. It alters the processing of information in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain where new memories are being formed.

THC can change your thinking, cause delusions, and prompt hallucinations. Mostly, THC effects last for about 2 hours and after ingestion, it hits between 10 – 30 minutes. After the psychoactive effect has ended, a psychomotor impairment may persist.

However, in most reported cases, the side effects of THC include:

  • Sedation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Altered perception of time
  • Short term memory loss
  • Elation
  • Mild anxiety

THC (attached under the substance, cannabis) has been legalized for medicinal purposes in 34 States. And marijuana is legal in 9 states and Washington D.C for recreational drug use.

However, legalization among other states is feasible, as the positive impact of a regulated THC outweighs the potential risk. THC is gradually gaining popularity for legalization discussion in the States.

What Is THC Used For?

THC has a variety of uses that can be recreational and medicinal. THC can be used in substances like edibles, syrups, medicines, drops, and oil that is used for tinctures. It can also be used for anti-inflammation through the application of balms and lotions.

Apart from being beneficial to the human body, THC is also useful for animals like dogs to relieve pain and reduce anxiety. The FDA has also approved a THC medication called Dronabinol, which is the only existing medication for now.

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