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THC and Medical Cannabis

Tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly abbreviated as THC, is one of dozens of active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), THC acts much like the cannabinoid chemicals made naturally by the body.

It should be noted that the body of research on the benefits of THC on human subjects is still lacking.

The following are some proven, well-researched benefits found in THC:

THC-Extract Relieves Cancer Patients

THC can be extracted from marijuana, or synthesized, as is the case for the FDA-approved drug Dronabinol. Dronabinol works by affecting the area of the brain that controls nausea, vomiting, and appetite.

According To the US National Library of Medicine, Dronabinol is used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy in people who have already taken other medications to treat this type of nausea and vomiting without good results. Dronabinol is also used to treat loss of appetite and weight loss in people who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

THC Helps in Slowing the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease

A study conducted at the Scripps Research Institute showed that THC slows the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. These plaques are what kill brain cells and cause Alzheimer's.

THC eases the pain in MS Patients

A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal studied 30 multiple sclerosis patients with painful contractions in their muscles. After smoking marijuana for a few days (once daily for three days) the patients reported less pain and reduced symptoms.

According to the study, the THC in the cannabis binds to receptors in the nerves and muscles to relieve pain.

Chemicals in Cannabis Can Help Crohn's Patients

Researchers at University of Nottingham found that chemicals in marijuana, including THC and cannabidiol, can help patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

The chemicals in marijuana, the research found, interact with cells in the body that play an important role in gut function and immune responses.

THC Helps Prevent Epileptic Seizures

In a study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana was given to rats with epileptic seizures. It was found that THC helps control seizures by binding to the brain cells responsible for controlling excitability and regulating relaxation.

It is important to note, however, that studies with human subjects suffering from Epilepsy did not yield conclusive results. In 2014, the American Academy of Neurology published a review of 34 studies relating to the efficiency and safety of medical marijuana and marijuana-derived products in treating patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), epilepsy, and movement disorders. The study found that THC was "probably effective" in treating certain symptoms of MS, but could find no hard evidence for its efficiency in treating other neurological diseases or conditions.

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