In the today’s world of medical marijuana, we are making discoveries, and learning new things every day. While there is always more to discover and learn, it’s amazing what we have so far uncovered. It seems that the medicinal benefits of cannabis are never ceasing. The more we learn about cannabis, and the way it works, the complete picture we have of just why cannabis does what it does. One area we have learned a great deal about is just in fact how the “high” behind cannabis is created. What causes the many well-known effects of marijuana. We have learned of the existence of cannabinoids, specifically of THC and CBD, and we have discovered the important roles in which they play. We know the most, however, about THC, also known as tetrahydrocannabinol, and its effects on the mind and body. Today, we will be discussing the effects of THC on the physical body and leave those on the mind for another time. Many people have many misconceptions and false ideas on just exactly what THC does to an individual who consumes it one way or another, and today we hope to illuminate some of the truth behind THC. While we have a lot to cover, we have broken it up into a few useful categories to make the information as absorbable as possible. Sit back, relax and get ready for we have a lot to discuss!
Before we get too far into the ins and outs of what THC does, it is important to understand just what THC is, and why it has any effect on us at all! THC, is a chemical, one of many, that belongs to the family of chemicals known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids, are found all over the natural world and are not, in fact, unique to the cannabis plant, where they were first discovered. In fact, our bodies produce a form of cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, via the endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for a wide range of regulatory effects. Most importantly, the endocannabinoid system is involved in maintaining homeostasis, or balance within the body. THC is a unique cannabinoid, that reacts in special ways with the receptors in our endocannabinoid system, or ECS. It is the special way in which THC interacts with our bodies own natural systems that produce the “high” that we are all familiar with, and that which is responsible for all the effects THC causes, positive and negative. So all that THC is, is a unique chemical belonging to the cannabinoid family. Now, that we have a better understanding of what THC is, and why it affects us the way it does, what effects is THC responsible for? Well, let’s find out!
Now that we have learned what THC is, as well as why it creates the effects that it does, let’s go into detail about what these effects are, and what to look out for when it comes to a THC high! First and foremost, we will be discussing the positive effects of THC, now, of course, everything is not roses and happiness all the time, and there are negative effects which we will get to in a moment. For now, let’s move to happy land and discuss the positive effects of THC on the human body. THC possesses many positive health effects on the body, including but not limited to the following:
THC can help sufferers of various types of pain, both chronic and temporary, neuropathic and neurological as well, amongst other sorts of aches and pains.
Often cannabis, and THC, in particular, are used by patients suffering from cancer and going through radiation and chemotherapy, as often the THC can offset terrible nausea so often experienced by those in this group.
While this option will also be found on our list of negatives, it is all dependent on the situation. Again, harkening to patients going through ration and chemotherapy, often it is difficult to sustain an appetite, THC can help with that.
Some studies are showing that THC can help prevent, and decrease the growth of certain types of tumors.
THC is also known to be an anti-inflammatory, which of course is beneficial for a wide range of conditions from glaucoma to costochondritis.
THC is known to possess a positive effect upon those suffering from seizures, lessening their severity and occurrence rate.
While this is not a complete list, and there are other positive effects that THC exerts on the body, this does give a good idea of the benefits of THC consumption on the body. While various consumption methods might provide other benefits, this is a good general summary of what one can expect. However, it’s not all good news, and THC is known to possess many negative effects on the body as well, which we will explore next.
Since nothing in this world is singularly good or bad, there is, of course, a darker side to THC, and the following are some of the negative effects that one can experience when they consume THC, regardless of method.
Some studies show that in some individuals, one’s heart rate can double when they consume THC, and for some, this can be very dangerous and cause cardiac infarctions among other hearth problems. This is however rare, and typically only occurs with those with preexisting heart conditions, which is something important to keep in mind when consuming cannabis of any kind.
While far less serious than the previous side effect, this can cause bad breath and other irritating problems. But can be easily remedied by drinking some water.
Possible one of the most recognizable signs of cannabis consumption, the eyes become dry, and thus red when one consumes cannabis, which can be very irritating for some. Eye drops fixes this issue in moments, however.
Some preliminary studies have shown controversial results when it comes to pregnant women consuming cannabis; it seems that there is a higher rate of certain birth defects. However, none are life-threatening, and the studies are thus far inconclusive. But something to surely keep in mind.
While cannabis helps many with their nausea, for some it can do the opposite, causing terrible dizziness and vomiting. This is often one of the many reasons people stay away from THC.
As we mentioned earlier, depending on the situation, this can be a positive effect, but in some cases, when overeating is caused, it can obviously be a problem. Those who consume THC often will notice they may gain a few pounds, as the munchies are a powerful force.
Preliminary research shows that THC consumption can have an adverse effect on one’s immune system, lowering their bodies natural defenses and making them more susceptible to things like the common cold and the flu.
If the THC is consumed via inhaling, which it often is, one can over time with chronic use, experience certain lung problems such as chronic bronchitis, phlegmy cough, and in severe cases even lung cancer. However, most of these are in extreme cases of use and are quite rare.
And there you have it! While again, this is not a complete list of all the negative side effects associated with THC, it should give a good idea of what to expect when one consumes cannabis or even just pure THC.
THC is truly an amazing chemical. It is capable of doing so much but positive and negative to our bodies. By interacting with our endocannabinoid system, THC can change the way we see the world, and how we feel. THC, while not all good news, has potential to become great medicine to help those suffering from a variety of ailments, and to help ease their many pains. While it’s not all good news, and THC does possess some negative side effects, as we have seen they can be easily negated, and refuted by being careful, and know what you are doing. Taking the proper precautions when consuming THC can only the help the user, and it is important to keep some of the more dangerous health risks in mind, as well as how to avoid them. Only the future holds what is in store for THC next, but if we have learned anything, it is that it is a very versatile, and useful chemical.
DrugFacts: Marijuana | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Marijuana: How Does It Affect You?
The Effects of Marijuana on Your Body
The Science of the Endocannabinoid System: How THC Affects the Brain and the Body | Scholastic: Nida