THC stands for TetraHydroCannabinol a common cannabinoid from the cannabis plant. While this chemical compound can be harvested from various types of the cannabis plant i.e. plants types which provide more THC than a normal plant it can also be accessed in a non natural synthetic way.
THC has been artificially created in a lab for the purpose of clinical and medical testing but some people who wanted to use it (synthetic THC) as a “legal high” used this creation process as a loophole to sell it as it was not from the cannabis plant (which is illegal), technically. Luckily however it has since been made illegal as it become a highly dangerous version of the cannabinoid due to its artificial nature.
When we talk about THC as a cannabinoid, cannabinoids are the natural chemical compounds found within the cannabis plant of which there are over a hundred different types like CBD (Cannabidiol) and CBN (Cannabinol) to name two of the other most popular ones. While the cannabis plant it self has these cannabinoid each of them do not necessarily act in similar ways which many studies have discovered including the one we reference here.
For example THC is the cannabinoid that gives you a feeling of getting high when you consume it, it has an effect on our brains. Others cannabinoids are said to do this as well (CBN) but it is yet to be discovered to provide a high. This widely understood psychoactive influence on our brains is what has lead many researchers to study cannabis and THC as alternative forms of treatment for brain related conditions. Depression being one of them.
Now it is easy to say that getting someone “high” will definitely make them feel less depressed but it is not a valid form of treatment. This is why further research into THC and the other many cannabinoids from the cannabis plant are being researched. It isn’t being carried out to provide us with an excuse to use cannabis after all.
In relation to “How it works” it is understood that THC binds with receptors in our brains which can provide an equilibrium to our brains. This means THC could halt the consumption of proteins, molecules and activated receptors in our bodies which are making us depressed i.e. the CRF1 protein receptor.
Some examples of cannabis being beneficial in regards to brain related issues are within treatments of ADHD and epilepsy. However it should also be pointed out that these potential benefits are usually obtain via legitimate cannabis based medications, not by smoking some “dope” on the street. Furthermore, it is understood that although THC can be good for you it will have negative developmental side effects on the brains of young children if they use it. This is basically due to the fact that their brains are still developing and any interference with this process is bad and can lead to schizophrenia.
If you would like to download the research study in full you can do so here.
It is said that the first anti-depressants where created in America in the 1950’s for the obvious sole purpose of helping people with symptoms of depression. Most anti-depressants are a form of opioid which means they made using different types of chemical compounds and usually fit the description of a normal stereotypical pill. As a medication it can be used to help with mental illnesses (OCD/PTSD) but also depressive symptoms experienced from other chronic issues such as arthritis, cancer or strokes.
Since anti-depressants where created before research into cannabis based anti-depressants the latter will always be compared to the original. This is how we understand that cannabis can act like an anti-depressant since it shows signs of blocking receptors which are responsible for generating depressive symptoms by giving off different hormones. However with that being said and with so many different medications being released it is still not fully understood how anti-depressants actually work.
Side Effects of Anti-Depressants
Like any medication their are a number of different potential side effects which can be experienced. Some of these side effects are listed below:
In regards to cannabis, few side effects similar to the ones mentioned above have been found except for a dryness of the mouth, tiredness and weight gain but it is thought that as more research is carried out these side effects could be bypassed. Although like many medications results as well as side effects all depends on the patient.
The study discovered what many had already theorized based on the numerous amounts of anecdotal cases and evidence provided by patients who self medicate using cannabis, that it does indeed provide anti-depressant like actions. This study found these results in rat models (testing on rats) while using 2.5mg per kg of weight. The study also wanted to see if such a dose also provided the “high” side effect we no so much about and it reported that it did not impair the rats in any way or cause their core temperatures to increase.
The study went on to look at how other cannabinoids and versions of cannabinoids acted and they found varying results such as “Δ8-THC” not being as good as normal THC (Δ9-THC) but also that CBD (Cannabidiol) had a dosage dependent effect on the body while THC was being administered i.e. when increased dosages of THC where being used CBD stopped the “high” psychoactive effects from taking over. This shows more evidence that cannabis based cannabinoids as a whole could provide further uses for human medical treatment.
Can THC Be Used as an Anti-Depressant?
As far as this study shows yes THC as well as CBD (Cannabidiol) and CBC (Cannabichromene) can be used as anti-depressants because they do show anti-depressant effects. However for someone to use it responsibly they should wait until further research is carried out before they try to use it for any mental condition as not all human based side effects have been properly documented yet.
If you are someone who wishes to use cannabis (THC) as an alternative form of medication for your depressive symptoms we highly advise that you seek professional medical advice before doing so from your doctor or a registered medical professional.