Extensive Cannabis Research by the National Institute of Health (NIH)
Updated: Jul 29
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that is responsible for its characteristic high. It has been the subject of extensive research by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and other institutions, as it has a wide range of potential therapeutic properties.
NIH Research on THC: Potential to Reduce Chronic Pain
The NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has funded several studies examining the effectiveness of THC in reducing pain in patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and cancer. These studies have generally found that THC can be effective in reducing chronic pain and improving quality of life for some patients.
NIH Research on THC: Potential to Treat Mental Health Conditions
The NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has funded several studies examining the effects of THC on anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8222769/
NIH Research on THC: Potential for Nausea Vomiting Muscle Spasms and Glaucoma
The NIH is also studying the potential of THC to treat a variety of other medical conditions, including nausea and vomiting, muscle spasms and spasticity, and glaucoma. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8848502/
To date, there are 2 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved clinically available synthetic cannabis-based medications for cancer patients—dronabinol and nabilone—for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Several factors have limited the use of these prescription medications, however, the climate has been changing regarding knowledge, perceptions, and legal access to cannabinoids, making this an exciting time for cannabis-based research for chemotoxicities.
What is the Medical Marijuana Research Bill?
On December 2, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act into law, paving the way for increased scientific study and potential medical uses of marijuana. This is a historic change in the treatment of medical cannabis after nearly 100 year as of research prohibitions.
THC Still Illegal Under Federal Law in the United State
It is important to note that the use of marijuana, which contains THC, is still illegal under federal law in the United States. However, a growing number of states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, and more are considering doing so.
Potential Health Benefits of THC and Future Research
As research on THC continues to advance, it is likely that we will learn more about the potential health benefits of this compound and how it can be used safely and effectively as a treatment for a variety of medical conditions. However, it is important to approach the use of THC with caution and to follow the recommendations of a healthcare provider.
Have Questions About Medical Cannabis Chronic Pain PTSD and THC?
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