We’re all about education here at Emerald Medical Group. We believe that you must have all of the information you need about medical marijuana so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not cannabis would be a good choice to treat whatever conditions you suffer from.
Because cannabis has been, and remains, on the DEA’s Schedule 1 drug list, many people still see a dark cloud around the idea of using medical marijuana. That, combined with the negative image that flows around like a fog around the heads of heavy recreational users, can give cannabis a bad name and create a lot of myths and concerns that aren’t true, especially when it comes to THC. But, of course, every medication, particularly ones that still need more medical research, comes with questions and risks.
What’s Up With THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant. THC is the cannabinoid that creates psychotropic effects. In terms you probably relate to marijuana: THC is what gets you high. So is THC medicine or not? Here’s where it gets interesting. When used appropriately, many of the “side effects” of THC are beneficial for certain conditions.
You can call them “desired side effects.” That’s not a term you hear often, is it? When you think of side effects, you may think of a long list of horrible things rambled off by the narrator in double-speed on prescription drug commercials. Many of these lists even end with “death” as the final side effect. It makes you think, doesn’t it?
The Desired Side Effects of THC
In most healthcare posts, you’ll see this section titled: “the benefits of THC.” And, in this case, they are the same thing. This article focuses on the short-term side effects of THC consumption because there is little research on many factors that influence the long-term impact. In a 2008 paper, Canadian researchers studied 41 adults to determine why they use cannabis. The participants were recreational users who described the reasons that they use cannabis.
Here are three:
- Marijuana makes them feel relaxed.
- Using marijuana makes them feel carefree.
- Marijuana use increases their libido, providing more energy and interest in life.
Why is this important? People have used cannabis for centuries because it consistently produces these side effects. Looking at this in medical terms gives us significant information as to why medical marijuana is perfect for specific uses.
For example, here in Florida, it is legal to prescribe medical marijuana for:
It is only legal to prescribe it for these specific conditions because there is enough medical proof to support its use for them. If you compare the experience of recreational users to the approved uses, you can see patterns.
Medical marijuana that contains THC has been approved to treat:
- Chronic pain
Of course, it has! If marijuana use makes users feel relaxed, carefree, and energized, then its positive side effects could be:
- Relieving anxiety
- Alleviating depression
- Relieving pain
Now let’s take a look at one of the most commonly known side effects of using cannabis: The marijuana munchies (sudden hunger). This side effect is so strongly associated with marijuana use that jokes about it have found their way into popular mainstream movies. Unfortunately, it’s often viewed in a negative light. But let’s flip that perspective upside down.
Who would benefit from something that makes you hungry? People who struggle with certain food-related issues, wasting diseases, and cancer, that’s who. Why cancer? Not only does THC-based marijuana make you hungry, but it also relieves nausea. That’s a win-win for someone undergoing chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. People with HIV who struggle with no appetite and wasting also benefit from the marijuana munchie side effect.
How about these side effects: Consuming marijuana also makes you drowsy and sometimes sleepy. If you have insomnia, you’ve probably already figured out how this side effect can be positive. People who battle anxiety can also reap the benefits of this often poo-pooed side effect of using THC.
The Other Side Effects
As we stated earlier, we want to give you the complete picture so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not medical marijuana use, particularly that containing THC, would be a good fit for you.
Adverse side effects of THC can include:
- Trouble Concentrating
- Dry mouth
- Impaired perception and motor skills
Before you get too concerned, let’s take a moment to look at why some of these adverse effects happen and what can be done to prevent or diminish them. Proper dosing can prevent harmful side effects. You don’t want to overload your endocannabinoid system (ECS). A 2017 study determined that higher doses of THC were associated with worse outcomes while lower doses proved to be stress-relieving.
Research is also beginning to show that CBD alongside THC can decrease the negative adverse side effects that some people experience when using THC. This means that you do have some control over how THC affects your system.
But How Do You Figure It All Out?
If you want to get the most benefit out of using cannabis to treat medical conditions, getting your medical marijuana card, consulting with a physician who is knowledgeable in medical marijuana, and using a reputable dispensary is your best bet.
If you’ve been using cannabis to treat yourself undercover or on your own, there’s no reason to do that anymore. But, on the other hand, if you have been afraid to investigate or add medical marijuana to your treatment plan, we hope that your fears are starting to disseminate as you gain clarity about what marijuana is and how it can support you in living your best life. Contact us today if you have more questions, need help applying for your card, or are ready for a consultation!