THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary ingredient in medical cannabis, cannabis oil, responsible for the high. THC also has a wide range of medical benefits, and is reported to relieve pain, nausea, and depression, among many other things.
7 Facts about THC
THC was discovered in 1964. THC was first isolated and synthesized from the cannabis plant by a scientist in Israel named Dr. Raphael Mechoulam.
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, THC 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.
THC 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.
Chemicals similar to THC are found in 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.
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.
CBD and THC both contains 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.
Endocannabinoids are like the body’s natural THC. In fact, endocannabinoids got their name from cannabis. Plant cannabinoids were discovered first. Endo means within, and cannabinoid referring 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 THC opened the floodgates to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, a finding with tremendous therapeutic potential. The value that THC provides to public health seems boundless.
Written by Zara Martin, May 2017
Disclaimer: Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary aims to be a hub of information about medicinal cannabis, healthy living and the latest scientific research. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of MCD. Always consult your doctor before starting a new treatment.