THC has more benefits than just getting you high

People love THC for fun – but if you look beyond that, there are other benefits

Marijuana is becoming increasingly popular and over 85% believe it should be legal in some form. Unlike alcohol, cannabis has proven medical benefits. Mentally, people see it as a way to help with post-traumatic stress disorder, pain, chemotherapy, and more, but in general, people see it as a way to relax and have fun. And it becomes an equal opportunity since women consume almost as much as men. Yet stereotypes and entertainment continue to propagate that it's a lazy stoner's treat. But THC has more benefits than just getting you high… and it's important that more research is done to help millions.

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Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a terpenoid found in cannabis. It is the main psychoactive component of cannabis and one of at least 113 total cannabinoids identified in the plant. THC generally refers to Delta-9 THC and gets you high. Many people are afraid to use it to an advantage because they think they will get stoned and it won't help. Science says otherwise.

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Cannabinoids, including THC, are the active chemicals in medical marijuana and are similar to the chemicals produced by the body that are involved in appetite, memory, movement and pain. While research progresses slowly, patients are being helped every day.

Studies have shown that cannabis is associated with a reduction in overall PTSD symptoms. In most studies, cannabis was well tolerated, although a small proportion of patients experienced worsening of PTSD symptoms. This can be attributed to both dosing issues and drug interactions.

Another important issue that affects millions of people is pain relief, especially chronic pain. More than half of survey participants said their medical cannabis use had led to a decrease in prescription opioid use, prescription non-opioid use, and over-the-counter medication use. This is a short and long term benefit as it prevents opioid addiction.

In addition, medications containing cannabinoids are helpful in treating certain rare forms of epilepsy, nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, and loss of appetite and weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS. Even the traditional American Medical Association recognized the benefits of cannabis.

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Some current challenges are that it is not reimbursed by insurance, dosing is not as reliable as traditional medicine, and some doctors will not prescribe medications until they are either redefined or federally legalized.

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