Often, when people hear the terms “medicinal” or “recreational” regarding cannabis, they associate CBD with the former and THC with the latter. Since CBD lacks THC’s psychoactive properties, the medical sciences have focused primarily on learning CBD’s health benefits. Meanwhile, THC, the compound responsible for the high marijuana is known for, is regarded as strictly recreational.
As cannabis continues to grow in popularity, the plant, and its effects, are finally getting the attention it deserves. In the process, researchers have discovered that THC has its own growing list of medical benefits. It turns out that while high with THC and binging our favorite show, THC is busy providing relief from pain, loading us up with antioxidants, calming any internal inflammation, protecting our neurons, and even easing psychological stress.
Okay, so this one is actually decently well known, but it’s worth repeating, considering an estimated 50 million adults (20.5 percent) in the United States suffer from chronic pain. Living life with constant pain is exhausting, frustrating, and limits people from living their lives to the fullest. While there are several pharmaceutical options to dull pain, not everyone wants to rely on pills.
Thankfully, studies have shown that THC is an underrated, natural alternative. Research shows that the THC compound activates pathways within our central nervous system, blocking pain signals from being sent to the brain. Some studies even report a 30 percent decrease in pain even with low doses of THC compared to a placebo.
This cannabis benefit might be our favorite here at Greeley Gallery because of the level of irony involved. For decades marijuana consumers were stereotyped as lazy and unintelligent, some people still believe this myth. But science says something else entirely.
Rather than harm our brain cells, studies have found that marijuana, including THC, actually protects our brain cells. Most drugs, including alcohol, are known as neurotoxic because they harm our brain cells. But THC is a neural protectant that protects our brain cells from damage, including from aging.
One of the reasons for THC’s neural protectant effects is that cannabis is loaded with antioxidants – meaning both CBD and THC have them. This makes cannabis a fantastic tool to fight stress and even aging.
The reason for cannabis’ exorbitant antioxidant surplus is that the cannabis plant literally increases THC production to protect itself from the Sun’s UVB light – the same type of light that causes oxidative stress in us that contributes to skin diseases and aging. In addition to protecting our brain cells, antioxidants protect all of our cells from damage caused by oxidative stress all the way down to our DNA.
Helps Treat PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is finally getting the attention it deserves. While it’s difficult to pinpoint a number, it’s estimated that about 6 percent of the U.S. population (over 20 million people) will experience PTSD at any given time – and women are more likely to experience it than men. PTSD is also difficult to study due to its subjectivity and various symptoms.
Yet, amazingly, research has confirmed that THC helps ease many PTSD symptoms, including insomnia, agitation, nightmares, depression, and flashbacks. This means people with PTSD could find some much-needed relief and even a solid night’s sleep by consuming THC.
In a sense, inflammation is viewed as a negative, but the truth is inflammation is one of our body’s defense mechanisms after an injury or illness. When our body activates our immune system, one of the first things it does is send out inflammatory cells to attack invasive bacteria or heal damaged tissue – though to us, inflammation presents as soreness, redness, swelling, or bruising.
However, sometimes our body will send inflammatory cells when they aren’t needed or in reaction to chronic diseases such as lupus or arthritis. In such cases, anti-inflammatories help reduce inflammation. And it just so happens that THC decreases the production of chemokine and cytokine compounds known to trigger inflammation.
Research about cannabis will only increase as cannabis becomes more widely legalized and normalized. Already several misconceptions about marijuana have been debunked. Cannabis is far more than a pleasant pastime; it actively makes us healthier. While CBD gets most of the glory, we now know that THC shouldn’t be dismissed. As we learned today, THC processes many of the same benefits as CBD – benefits that protect our brains and bodies from harm. How many other recreational drugs can say the same thing?
The many health benefits cannabis provides are one reason we opened our cannabis dispensary, Greeley Gallery. We believe cannabis should be celebrated and respected for its remarkable properties, so you’ll only find the highest quality and locally produced cannabis products on our shelves. Stop by our north Portland cannabis dispensary near Arbor Lodge Park any day of the week between 7am and 10pm for your cannabis needs, we’d love to see you.
Written By: Katrina Paulson