THC and the psychoactive effect ‘high’

Cannabis 101: CBD vs THC

A column by Dr. Pierre Milot, PhD.

In a previous article, I talked about the cannabinoid CBD, what it is and what it can do.
Now, in this article, I’m going to describe the other most important cannabinoid contained in cannabis.  As I said before, there are hundreds of cannabinoids, but CBD and THC are the most prevalent and the most useful as far as medicine is concerned.  But the reason why cannabis (or marijuana, as it used to be called), was so popular over the years is for its THC content and the ability to get people “high’ or ‘stoned’.

What is THC?

THC is the most common and well-known cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant.  Often associated with psychoactive properties, THC, aside from its use for recreational activities, can be very helpful in different medicinal applications.  THC’s pain-relieving properties make it effective for patients managing their chronic pain.

What heath conditions can cannabis help?

Besides chronic pain, THC can also:

Ease stomach discomfort through the reduction of nausea and vomiting;
Stimulate appetite in older patients and those experiencing chemotherapy for cancer treatment;
Help those who suffer from chronic stomach issues such as Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome;
Help reduce muscle spasm and control excessive muscle movements, thus helping patients with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

What role do other marijuana cannabinoids play?

Cannabis is much more effective as a whole plant as opposed to when one cannabinoid is used in isolation.  It’s the interactions taking place among the various cannabinoids called ‘entourage effect’ that helps drive positive effects in the human body.

THC and CBD work in harmony on the endocannabinoid system inside the body.  For example, having a balance of THC and CBD in a strain (we call them ‘chemovar’ now) of cannabis can allow for the highly successful pain-relieving aspects of THC with less of the psychoactive effect, because the non-psychoactive CBD counteracts the psychoactive effect of THC.  In fact, taking a full dropper of 15 to 25 mg of CBD will reduce in half an unwanted ‘high’ due to an accidental intake of THC.

Though THC ad CBD are the most prominent compounds, other main cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), canabichromene (CBC), CBG, CBN can provide a range of multiple benefits.  We are finding out more and more about these other cannabinoids as research progresses.  For example, recent studies have found THCS to have anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-emetic (anti vomiting) and antiproliferative properties (retard the spread of malignant cells into surrounding tissues), while CBC appears to be an effective antimicrobial, anti-viral, anti-depressant and analgesic compound.

What are cannabis terpenes and how can they help?

Terpenes are compounds in the cannabis plant that lend the different plant chemovars their fragrance and flavor and also have medicinal properties.  They number well over 100 and interact perfectly with the endocannabinoid (ECS).  They work in synergy (increase the effect of CBD) with cannabinoids in a range of activities from promoting sleep to elevating mood and providing stress relief.

In my next article, I will expand a bit more on the genetics of Cannabis, THC content and cultivation of cannabis.

Once again, I encourage you to email me any questions you might have on cannabis, request more explanations or share a success story with other readers at:

Talk to you soon

Dr. Pierre Milot, PhD., is a Certified Medical Cannabis Counsellor
 and resident of Winchester, Ontario.

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