When we talk about the recreational use of marijuanathen comes to mind the THC (tetrahydrocanabinol) — psychoactive substance found in most plants cannabis. In other words: it is the element responsible for the famous “breeze”, which brings disconnected thoughts, creative ideas, motor slowness, etc.
And it is precisely for providing these effects that THC ends up generating enormous controversy. Some say he is a great villain, capable of triggering intense emotional outbursts. Others claim that the substance is extremely beneficial to health, being helpful in combating conditions ranging from anxiety to chronic pain. So… what is the truth?
Is it possible to benefit from the substance in a recreational or medical context? Are there any contraindications? To answer these and other questions, Claudia interviewed the doctor Maria Teresa Jacob, specialist in cannabis treatments for chronic pain. Check:
What is THC?
Before commenting on its benefits and drawbacks, Maria Jacob points out that it is very important to understand what the substance is: “THC is just one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis. To date, we have identified over 125 cannabinoidsbut we talk more about CBD and THC because they were the first to be discovered.
However, the specialist reveals that, if we take into account terpenes and flavonoids – elements responsible for the odors and pigmentation of the plant – the number of active substances in marijuana increases to 500. Cannabis is therefore extremely complex.
THC: Why does it generate the “breeze” of marijuana?
According to Jacob, All cannabinoids are psychoactive, as they act on both the brain and the nervous system. However, THC has the differential of being psychodysleptic.“This means it will alter brain activity, causing auditory and visual hallucinations, which other substances in the same class do not,” he explains.
“Those looking for cannabis for recreational purposes turn to varieties with high concentrations of THC. Currently, some species exceed levels above 80%. And of course, this gives very intense ‘trips’, “says the doctor .
Maria repeats that, in the medical field, plants can even have high levels of mind-altering substance. However, such concentration is balanced by an equivalent amount of CBDwhich blocks mental effects.
“As much as the drug of cannabis contains high doses of THC, this amount is infinitely less than that present in marijuana for recreational use, because combustion potentiates the doses of the substance,” he explains.
But then… Does THC provide physical and psychological health benefits?
To the chagrin of some, the The “benefits” of THC from smoking are not much different from those found in drinking alcohol.“Recreationally, it brings this tranquility and feeling of relaxation. It’s like drinking wine or Whiskey to relax. But that’s really not the case. And then, let’s be real: any substance smoked, whether it’s marijuana or cigarettes, can cause lung cancermouth and other complications of this type, ”warns the doctor.
Moreover, Maria says that even if the brain is not formed – something that only happens after the age of 20 – THC may damage brain tissue by altering gray matter formation. “The earlier recreational use occurs, the greater the long-term commitments. This includes harmful behavioral changes and mental illness.
The doctor also advises against recreational use for people suffering from anxiety attacks, panic syndrome or cardiac arrhythmia, as consumption may trigger the paints to worsen.
“I don’t want to turn THC into a villain. It can be used to benefit health. But you have to know how to use it and in what situations,” he says.
THC and medicine
Unlike recreational use, THC provides many benefits when placed in a medicinal context. Maria Teresa listed some of the many positive properties of the substance:
- Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective action;
- Improves the quality of sleep;
- Useful for nausea and vomiting secondary to chemotherapy;
- Recommended in the treatment of glaucoma (increased intraocular pressure);
- Fights muscle spasms (very common in multiple sclerosis);
- Reduces chronic pain;
- Stimulates the appetite (something highly recommended for patients with AIDS, cachexia or in palliative care).
“The plant only acts in our body because we have the endocannabinoid system, responsible for the balance of the organism. It comes into action when an organ or region of the body is out of balance. Once the problem is resolved, the substances are metabolized. And it is precisely in this process that cannabis and its elements will help, ”he explains.
However, one must be careful in choosing a specialist in cannabis medicine, because the endocannabinoid system is the most individualized of our species: “There is a lot of variation from person to person. It is therefore necessary to find a doctor capable of prescribing drugs adapted to the patient’s profile and the pathology to be treated,” he advises.
Does THC present risks of medical treatment?
Marie-Thérèse recalls that, just like traditional medicines, cannabis is also metabolized by the liver. And there are the risks: “There are drug interactions and the specialist must really be aware of this problem. Cardiac arrhythmias also require greater attention when prescribing,” he warns.
Is it difficult to get a prescription?
Even slowly, obtaining cannabinoid medicines is facilitated in the country“Usually, products that contain a high THC content are imported. Today, the patient goes to the Anvisa website, asks for authorization and often gets the “green light” to import the medicine the same day. I also don’t need to do a huge report explaining why I choose this type of drug,” he says.
“We don’t have official legalization, but there is silent legalization. Of course, when we have more products in pharmacies, we will have more immediate access. This is essential when talking about cancer patients, who need rapid treatment, for example”.
Finally, the specialist reveals that, in the past, when you opened the procedure at the Anvisa, you had to send a complex report and wait two to three months to obtain the release. If the request were allowed, it would take almost a month for the person to receive the medicine at home. “Today we have delays due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. But even so, compared to what it was before, the progress is very significant,” he concludes.