1. THC was discovered in 1964. THC was first isolated and synthesized from the cannabis plant by a scientist in Israel named Dr. Raphael Mechoulam.
2. THC is one of more than 80 known active ingredients in cannabis referred to as cannabinoids. Despite being the most recognized ingredient in medical marijuana, it is just one of many compounds in the plant with known medical uses. THC and CBD are the two cannabinoids usually found in the highest concentrations.
3. It can protect brain cells and stimulate their growth. Whereas most recreational drugs are neurotoxic, THC is considered a “neuroprotectant,” meaning it can protect brain cells from damage caused by inflammation and oxidative stress. THC can promote the growth of new brain cells through a process known as neurogenesis.
4. Similar chemicals are made by the body. In 1992, Dr. Mechoulam and his team made another breakthrough when they discovered a molecule called anandamide. Both anandamide and THC act on pathways in the body called cannabinoid receptors. In the brain, anandamide works to regulate mood, sleep, memory and appetite.
5. THC has been used in medicine to treat the nausea, pain, appetite and apathy that many cancer patients experience after chemotherapy. It has also been used to prevent convulsions and to lower the fluid pressure inside the eye in treating glaucoma.
6. CBD and THC both contain antioxidants which are found in fruits and vegetables and are necessary to the body for good health and to lower risk of diseases such as cancer, stroke, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Search our Treatment Guidelines for more information on these conditions.
7. Endocannabinoids are the body’s natural THC. In fact, endocannabinoids got their name from cannabis. Plant cannabinoids were actually discovered first. "Endo" means within and cannabinoid refers to a compound that fits into cannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the name for a series of cell receptors that respond to certain kinds of agonists. Two primary cell receptors make up the ECS, Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) and Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2). The keys for these receptors are called endocannabinoids.
THC has shown tremendous potential as a natural medicine. Research on this compound opened the floodgates to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, a finding with tremendous therapeutic potential. As science continues to advance, the value that THC provides to public health seems boundless. Of course, other marijuana compounds offer tremendous medicinal benefit too, such as CBD Oil.