What are The Therapeutic Benefits Of Medicating with Delta-8 THC?
It’s so disappointing that the federal government will spend $15 million to finance research into the efficiency of space golf equipment, but will not spend a dime on research into the possible health benefits of cannabis, and will actively ban it. Research on cannabis in the United States is and has always been, limited to proving the dangers of marijuana, not the medical benefits. And, despite the legalization of cannabis in various states across the nation, the federal government continues to enforce restrictive policies and regulations on research into the health or benefits of cannabis products.
Too much of the evidence we have is anecdotal when it comes to using cannabis as medicine. Ask around and you’ll hear a lot of stories about cancer patients using cannabis as an antiemetic and anti-nausea drug, or others using it for its anti-inflammatory properties, but how severely limited it has been will be seen by a cursory search into scientific studies on the subject.
The study of cannabis as a medication will be heavily limited in the United States as long as the plant is listed as a Schedule 1 substance. Fortunately, testing has been carried out in other countries, along with unintended results during other studies in the U.S., that have helped to demonstrate the potency of some cannabinoids in the plant, including delta-8 THC, the cannabinoid we enjoy so much.
The study led to the recognition by the National Cancer Institute Drug Dictionary that delta-8-THC has several beneficial effects, including analgesia, stimulation of appetite, and neuroprotective properties. We still have a long way to go and plenty of testing to do, but there are the basics.
Let’s take a look at delta-8 THC’s proven and potential benefits and what it could do for you as a patient.
Potential for treating pain and inflammation
Delta-8 can also, predictably, be a possible cure for pain and inflammation. Research by Thapa et al. in 2018 showed that topical delta-8 THC in an experimental mouse model reduced corneal pain and inflammation.
This cannabinoid could prove to be especially helpful for patients with GI issues, given that a 2004 review in the BJP (Hornby and Prouty), concluded that “the beneficial effects of CB1R activation in animal models include reduction of transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations, increased compliance of the proximal stomach, reduced acid secretion, reduction of GI transit, reduced intestinal fluid secretion in response to secretagogues and reduced large intestinal propulsive activity are all aspects that could be beneficial in functional bowel disorders such as IBS. However, administration of CB1R agonists to patients would be associated with CBS adverse effects due to the psychotropic actions.
Delta-8 may also have a role to play as an anti-anxiety drug. Medications that inhibit anxiety are referred to as anxiolytics, and delta-8 THC is categorized as an “analog of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties”—meaning that NIH considers this cannabinoid to have anti-anxiety properties (among others). Delta-8 is also much less likely to induce high-dose anxiety than its more widely known counterpart, delta-9 THC. Research has shown that delta-8 has less psychoactive power than its analog delta-9, and also appears to offer a more clear-minded experience with less anxiety.
Potential for improving cognitive function
Delta-8 may also have some promise when it comes to treating cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s disease. In the 2004 study referred to above, Avraham et al. also found “a tendency (of delta-8-THC) to improve cognitive function.”
A 1987 study using mouse models (HL Tripathi et al.) found that delta-8 THC increased acetylcholine levels in the cortex and hippocampus and decreased acetylcholine turnover in the hippocampus. This is important because Alzheimer’s disease is associated with declining levels of Ach in the brain.
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