Medical Benefits of THC in CANNABIS?
Medical Benefits of Cannabis Explained
The argument for whether or not cannabis should be legalised in Britain has raged on for many years. However, until recently, that argument has been based more on the fact that the drug is perceived as relatively harmless in relation to its criminal implications, that taking cannabis is a ‘lifestyle choice’ and not through addictive needs.
More recently, the argument for the legalisation of cannabis has found an ally, and that is the medical community. It has been known for a long time that sufferers of MS and cancer have taken cannabis as a means to alleviate the pain caused by such debilitating illnesses.
So, we know it works, and for some, medical marijuana has been a godsend, but there are still those who have to fight the law to benefit from its medicinal properties, such as the recent case where special dispensation had to be given for a six-year-old boy to be allowed to use cannabis oil to control multiple daily seizures.
So, what is it about cannabis that provides medical benefits?
Research has revealed that it is the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis that ‘does the trick’, that is the chemical responsible for the majority of marijuana’s psychological effects.
It is the ‘brain altering’ capability of THC that makes it so effective in the treatment of so many diseases. However, don’t confuse the word ‘treatment’ with the word ‘cure’.
THC derived from the cannabis plant cannot cure diseases, it can only treat the symptoms of a disease, which it does in the same way as many other medicines.
Take painkillers for example. They don’t fix what is causing the pain, they simply block or alter messages sent by neurotransmitters from reaching the brain, and the brain recognising those messages as pain itself.
If you break your leg, taking morphine doesn’t fix the leg, it just stops the brain from registering the fact that your leg isn’t quite as it is supposed to be!
THC specifically interacts with brain proteins called cannabinoid receptors. It has been shown that a greater density of these proteins exists in brain areas that are critically related to learning, memory and, importantly, pain perception.
Though this may sound like a contradiction in terms, pain is good for you. Well it is at the beginning, but maybe not so good for you once it has performed its primary function. Pain is there to tell you that something is wrong with your body, and that it needs fixing, or it is there to get you to stop doing something because it will ultimately damage your body. The pain associated with jamming your hand in a car door is nature’s way of telling you not to be so stupid next time!
However, once pain has delivered its message and we’ve got that message loud and clear, we don’t need it to keep delivering the same message 24 hours a day. We get it, we know something is wrong and, unfortunately, when what is wrong can’t be fixed, as in certain cancers, multiple sclerosis, etc. being reminded on a daily painful way that we’re seriously ill doesn’t make for a tolerable existence. In these cases, we need to be able to trick the brain into thinking all is well, and that’s where the THC in cannabis comes to the rescue.
Of course, the use of cannabis in medicine is no restricted to treating patients suffering from MS and cancer, there is more than sufficient evidence to show that it can also greatly benefit those suffering from epileptic seizures, fibromyalgia, glaucoma and depression.
So, if it is so beneficial from a medical point of view, why is it illegal to use cannabis? Because, prior to many discoveries being made about its beneficial properties, it was deemed an illegal drug owing to its ability to alter the state of the mind, as per heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, etc. and our government seems incapable of weighing up the benefits against the disadvantages and then using common sense into the bargain!
If you use cannabis for medical reasons, tell us how it helps you over on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet.
Guess Who by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)