In Part 1 of this piece, we examined the entheogenic properties of cannabis and in particular it's tetrahydrocanabinol (THC) compound (i.e. “the stuff that gets you high”).
In so doing, we learned of the profound impacts that THC can have on a persons overall well-being; their emotional, spiritual and “mental” health. In part 2, we will examine the physical benefits of the compound, as opposed to those of its sister compound cannabidiol (CBD).
Perhaps it should be said at the start that the very fact there is a part 2 to this thing says a lot about the plant in question. Here we have an organism that so closely fits our own bodies as to provide benefits across the board, with none of the nasty issues that tend to go along with the derivative chemicals we more often use as medicine in Western culture.
In the ven diagram of CBD and THC health benefits, there's quite a lot of overlap. Both can help with pain management, sleep issues (although many THC users may feel otherwise on that note; perhaps their strains are a bit to sativa-ish), anxiety (again, heavy on the indica with this one, please), eating disorders, etc. But there is a definite THC side of the chart, where some ailments can't be effectively managed with CBD alone.
This is interesting, because as the United States and indeed the Western world continues down the road toward legalization at least of medicinal cannabis, it will be these ailments that give legislators the final push. CBD is currently legal in all 50 states, but THC, its black-sheep sister compound, is very much illegal in most, and of course remains quite illegal on a federal level.
Here, then, are the areas in which THC helps, but CBD falls short.
Muscle Spasciticy is one of the many difficulties that come along with managing Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Basically, it's just what it sounds like it is; spasms or feelings of stiffness and pain in the muscles. This is caused when MS damages the nerves that control the muscles.
It is most common in the legs and can be so intense as to draw sufferers into a painful fetal-positioned full-body cramp. It also causes spasms in the lower back. Main stream treatments include Klonopin, Valium, and Botox.
The first two are well-known as highly addictive, while the third is just a friendly-sounding nickname for Botulinum toxin, which you may recognize as one of literally the deadliest toxins known to mankind, having been originally developed as a chemical weapon during the First World War (no, really).
Recent studies indicate that THC works well to control spasticity, because of it's tendency to
bind with the body's canabinoid receptors an regulate neural transmission.
Glaucoma is a serious condition of the eyes that leads to permanent loss of vision. One of the main concerns in patients with glaucoma is intraocular pressure, or IOP. This is essentially the “blood pressure” of your eyes.
As with most tension disorders, IOP reacts very well to THC. Patients who smoke cannabis or otherwise ingest THC report a lessening of the “halos” they see around lights which are a main indicator of high IOP. While a lowered IOP level is not a cure for glaucoma, it can lessen the progression of the disease and prevent or delay loss of vision.
While this may sound fairly innocuous, a chronically low or absent appetite can lead to a host of very serious conditions including malnutrition, hypoglycemia, kidney dysfunction, weakened immune system, menstrual issues and more.
Low appetite can stem from a variety of causes ranging from prolonged illness, eating disorders and other causes. Cannabis and, in particular, THC, stimulate appetite in a variety of ways. Essentially, hunger is regulated by the endocannabinoid system and as such, is widely effected by THC.
Interestingly enough, THC can help with both Anorexia and Obesity, as it tends to balance and normalize hunger signals in the brain.
These are only a few of the major health benefits of THC. Obviously, getting high can have its drawbacks, especially if you have to go to work every day, or live in a state where cannabis is still illegal for even medicinal uses.
Certainly nobody should spark a joint and then drive a car soon afterwards. But responsible use of THC has been shown, and will continue to be shown, to have dramatic health effects that can't all be derived from CBD alone, and can't be gotten from harsher pharmaceuticals at all without dealing with serious side effects, dependency or huge costs.
Be healthy, everyone!