THC and mental health are something that cannabis users must consider first. Which side of the barricade will you choose? Here’s a look at what recent research says about THC effects.
Tetrahydrocannabinol And Mental Health: Pros And Cons Of Regular THC Intake
Mental health is a vital part of our lives, but it can be tough to maintain. While marijuana is often associated with recreation, it has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Thus, for instance, THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana, has been shown to have some benefits for mental health. However, there are also various (even many) risks associated with regular THC intake. This article will explore the pros and cons of using THC for mental health purposes.
What Is Tetrahydrocannabinol? Full Explanation
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the core cannabis compounds. THC interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates various functions, including pain, appetite, memory, and fertility. It is responsible for the plant’s well-known effects on mood and perception. THC also has medical uses. For example, it can be used to relieve pain and inflammation, as well as to control nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy.
However, THC can have negative side effects, such as anxiety and paranoia. For this reason, tetrahydrocannabinol is only available by prescription in most countries. It comes in different formats, including hemp-derived HHC, oils, and edibles. The key issue with its intake is associated with limited research. Not only are current findings limited, but they are contradictory, too. In this article, we will unravel and unveil both sides of the dispute. But, before, let us say a few words about how THC works.
How Does THC Work?
THC’s work is binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These receptors involve various cognitive and physiological processes, including memory, pain perception, and appetite. When THC binds, it alters the receptor’s function and can produce several effects on the body. In high doses, THC can cause euphoria and sensory distortions. It can also impair coordination and judgment, leading to accidents and injuries. That is why the use of THC is associated with increased risks of abuse and addiction.
THC And Mental Health: Research Findings
THC is the #1 psychoactive compound in cannabis, and it’s this compound that is responsible for the plant’s well-known mind-altering effects. THC “messes” with cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain, causing various potential mental health effects. As to the effects as such, research shows contradictory results.
Assumed positive effects of THC on mental health
On the one hand, some research suggests that THC may improve cognitive performance and brain function. Thus, for instance, THC appears to increase blood flow to the brain, which could improve brain function. It also binds to receptors in the brain involved in memory and learning. That means that THC could help to improve these cognitive functions, but this interrelation has not been verified yet. THC may also benefit mental health by impacting one’s emotional and psychological domains. For example, some studies imply that THC could help to reduce anxiety and depression and also increase feelings of pleasure and relaxation.
Assumed negative effects of THC on mental health
On the other hand, there are likewise studies that link THC use to increased risk of psychosis and other mental health problems. More specifically, some studies show THC can cause paranoia and anxiety as well as worsen symptoms of depression. A body of findings reveals that THC can also impair memory and cognitive function. It can also trigger psychotic episodes in people predisposed to mental illness. A particularly alarming finding is that THC can interact with other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, making those conditions worse.
As follows from the existing research, THC is a powerful compound, and patients should use it with caution. People who undergo mental health issues should avoid using THC daily without supervision. The limited research on the topic makes it difficult to draw any firm conclusions about the effect of THC on mental health. However, as more states legalize cannabis, researchers will likely gain a better understanding of how THC affects the brain and what role it plays in mental health.
Pros And Cons Of Using THC
As was previously mentioned, the effects of THC use are insufficiently researched, and existing findings show contradictory results. In this section, we will summarize THC’s positive and negative effects on mental health as follows from current studies.
Thus, existing research shows that the use of THC can be associated with some medical benefits, such as
- helping with chronic pain caused by both mental and physical challenges;
- boosting focus (mitigating some ADHD and ADD problems);
- alleviating depression for a long period;
- minimizing anxiety inconveniences;
- helping people with eating challenges and problems.
As can be seen, these effects are not directly related to mental health effects. In the meantime, other studies point to the fact that THC intake can also imply risks such as:
- THC can worsen depression;
- those who use THC on an ongoing basis may also experience paranoia or anxiety;
- THC can impair memory and cognition;
- it can stimulate existing mental diseases to progress;
- it is associated with high risks of abuse.
The negative effects of THC are, thus, closely related to mental health. Based on this, specialists can assume that the limited research at our disposal today implies that THC cannot improve mental health. On the contrary, it seems likely to pose a person’s mental health risk.
THC Use For Mental Health: Key Takeaways
To sum up, it’s important to remember that THC can positively and negatively affect our health. That’s why it’s crucial to always talk with your doctor before using THC, especially if you have a history of mental illness.
Still, THC shows that is can be practical and mostly useful in some medical cases. Still, if your doctor prohibits purchasing such means of treatment, do not go against this rule.