I know we did a little tease a few weeks back with CBD and if it gets you high. Well, this time around we’ll be talking about THC, and yes, this one does get you high. 

I do want to point out that we won’t be talking about recreational use. It’s a personal choice, and we are not here to promote it nor talk against it. When it comes to this, we’re Switzerland. What we will be talking about is the medical uses of Marijuana and the research behind it. 

But first, let’s get sciency about it. What is THC anyway, where does it come from and how exactly does it work. 


(this is what THC molecule looks like)

A lot of people use the word marijuana interchangeably with the word cannabis, however, they are not the same. Cannabis refers to all the products that come from Cannabis plant. Marijuana, on the other hand, is derived from the Cannabis plant and possesses larger amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

CBD (click here to read a post on that) is another cannabinoid that we talked about, however that one doesn’t possess any psychoactive qualities that do make you “high” like TCH would. 

So, when we are talking about medical Marijuana, we are referring to using the whole plant or parts of it to treat medical issues. While FDA doesn’t recognize the entire plant as medicine, it did approve some cannabinoids. The research keeps being conducted on the matter and the usage of medical marijuana is monitored to make sure that the effects are beneficial for relieving symptoms that might be occurring. 

Cannabis Flower

(Cannabis Flower)

FDA currently has 3 synthetic cannabinoids and one plant derived cannabinoid. 

-Marinol (dronabinol), syndros (dronabinol) and cesamet (nabilone) are the synthetically produces THC that are created to treat Anorexia in adult patients with AIDS as well as nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. 

-Epidiolex is a plant derived cannabidiol that is used for treatment of seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex. 

So what THC is used for?


Medical Marijuana is often times used for the relief of chronic pain, post surgery pain, elderly pain. Research has shown positive results in a multitude of studies. 

2015 study on using marijuana and cannabinoids for chronic pain has reposted positive results. It even included potential ability to treat nerve pain.

In 2018 during a review of 47 studies that included 4743 participants using medical marijuana for chronic pain. 29% of people taking cannabinoids experienced a reduction in pain compared to 26% of people taking placebo. Unfortunately, these numbers are not significantly meaningful, and people who did use medical marijuana also reposted side effects more frequently than people using placebo. 

Anxiety and depression

The research for the treatments of anxiety and depression is still in the early stages. At the current stages, researchers share potentiality for helping achieve normal endocannabinoid function as well aid in mood stabilization. 

Researchers at University of Buffalo have been looking into the use of cannabinoids for depression that’s been caused by chronic stress, and been focusing on the endocannabinoids- natural chemicals in the brain that our body produces. These chemicals are responsible for emotions and behavior, as well as motor function control and cognition. They are also similar in their makeup to cannabis. While current research has been done on animals and not humans it has been discovered that chronic stress affects the production of endocannabinoids and can lead to depression, and by using cannabis these levels might be evened out and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. 


With cancer there might come a point when the drugs just don’t help and medical marijuana use for treatment of pain in cancer patients have been one of the most heard about uses for medical marijuana. 

In a study with 17000 people with cancer 70% of those people reported improvement in pain management. Studies also shown that people using medical marijuana need less pain medications. Recently, it’s also been found that certain cannabinoids can slow the spread of some forms of cancer. 

Relying solely on marijuana to treat cancer should not be an option, however it has been shown to be a great aid in managing symptoms. 


Epidiolex, which as CBD product, has been approved by the FDA for treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex has been tested in three different double blinded studies that totaled 516 patients who suffered either from Lennox-Gastaut or Dravet syndrome. It has been found that if taken alongside other medications for the conditions, Epidiolex has been shown to be effective in reducing frequency of seizures when compared to the placebo group.  

As far as side effects go, people reported sleepiness and fatigue, as well as insomnia and sleep disorder, rash, decreased appetite to name a few. 

There’s still a lot of research to be done, and while there are some promising results overall. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

Research on the matter of PTSD is new and the information varies from study to study.

The subject of PTSD is still pretty new when it comes to research of whether medical marijuana helps elevate the symptoms. And while there is still a lot of research to be done, some recent studies do show promising results. 

There are two studies that show the effect of cannabis on amygdala- that part of the brain that is responsible for fear response to threats. Cannabis has been found to lower the activity in this part of the brain, it has also been found to play a part in alleviating some traumatic memories. 

The study that was done by Wayne State University did have only 71 participants, with some receiving placebo and some getting medical marijuana treatment. People receiving cannabis, however, showed the change in amygdala activity and reposted less fear while using THC. 

Another study done by Brazil’s Federal University of Paraná focused on how cannabis can help remove the memories of trauma. They followed on the lead by the Yale professor- Andrew Sewell, who was proposing that cannabis can help overwrite those memories. 

Nausea and Vomiting due to cancer chemotherapy

Dronabinol (Marinol) is a drug that contains THC, designed to treat nausea and vomiting that’s caused by chemotherapy. 

In a 2015 review of 23 studies, that had 1326 participants, on cannabinoids being used to treat nausea and vomiting, it has been found that it is significantly more helpful than placebo, and is close in effectiveness to the other medications used for treatment. 

Eating Disorders 

Cannabis has been known to be an aid when it comes to treating anorexia or other disorders that cause weight loss or low appetite. One of the effects of cannabis is increased appetite, which can help people who are struggling with keeping the weight up, gain or maintain where they need to be.

Sleep Issues 

Throughout many studies, it has been shown that cannabis benefits sleep. Studies that have been done on other issues such as PTSD, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain have derived information about sleep as well. It’s been shown that cannabis helps people fall asleep faster, have better quality of sleep, and aids in having less disturbances during sleep. And while these results are for people with other medical conditions and there hasn’t been too much research done for sleep issues themselves, it can be unclear if the sleep improvements are due to the improvement of other symptoms or a direct effect of cannabis. 

Cannabis Strain Closeup

How can you consume medical marijuana?

While there are a few drugs on the market to treat cancer related pain and nausea as well as weight loss associated with AIDS, the majority of the cannabis comes in forms of:

-Dried leaves of the buds for smoking

-Edibles-cookies, brownies, gummies, beverages

-Oils, either for vaping or adding to the drinks

-Topical solutions like creams, patches

-Spray for the mouth

-Pill and capsule form

The truth is, while there is a lot of good data to support the positive effects of medical marijuana, there are also countless side effects that can arise.

Some of them are:

-Memory issues

-Difficulty concentrating



-Anxiety and paranoia

-Increased appetite

-Increased heart rate

-Dry mouth and eyes

Marijuana also does have psychoactive qualities that provide the “high” and can make you feel confused and unable to control your movement in the way you normally would.

Medical marijuana is prescribed by the doctor (that part that makes it medical), so it is important to communicate with the doctor about all the potential risks as well as be honest about how cannabis affects you and makes you feel.

It is critical to keep all the information in the back of your mind when it comes to having a conversation with the provider, both good and bad, and do your own research on a deeper level to make sure that it is something that can be beneficial for you.

By Co-Author (Primary): Karina Movsesova

Editor: Amanda (Meixner) Rocchio