Cannabis has been used by different cultures throughout history for various purposes, including for medical needs. One of the most common therapeutic uses of cannabis is for pain and inflammation, among many others.
Today, we are seeing a similar trend, with cannabis regaining recognition for being a medically beneficial plant. The United States has 37 states that made medical marijuana legal, including Washington, D.C. The plant is being used for a wide variety of medical conditions and symptoms, including pain management.
Aside from using the plant itself, patients are also exploring the benefits of individual cannabinoids for this purpose. Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC) have proven track records for pain.
A pretty novel cannabinoid, delta-8 THC, is gaining popularity in the cannabis community, but does it have potentials for pain management? Find out here.
THCs and Analgesic Effects
The thing about delta-8 THC is that it is just becoming prominent in the market, which means that research about it is pretty few and far in between. What we do know about it is that it is a THC isomer.
Isomers are defined as molecules that have an identical set of atoms, which are arranged or oriented in different manners. This means that delta-9, -8, -10, -11, and -6, all have the same number of the same types of atoms, but they have essential differences in terms of organization.
Because of this, THC isomers tend to offer similar effects, but the difference lies in the intensity and potency. In the case of delta-8, it can give a similar set of effects as delta-9, but at a milder level.
Why does this matter, you ask? It is important to know this when attempting understanding delta-8’s potential in pain management because delta-9 will serve as the basis of the answer.
Can Delta-8 THC Help with Pain?
According to the National Cancer Institute, delta-8 THC has the potential for its analgesic or pain-relieving effects. To answer this more completely, let us look at the effects of delta-9 THC, one of the two primary cannabinoids in cannabis.
Delta-9 THC has been found to have analgesic effects as it binds to endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. It is a partial agonist of these receptors, which are located in different organ systems like the central and peripheral nervous systems, immune, digestive, and circulatory systems, just to name a few.
To provide its analgesic effects, THC binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors regulate the release of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, and hinder synaptic transmission. By activating its effects, THC helps minimize the feeling of pain.
Meanwhile, its interaction with CB2 is important for the relief of inflammation-induced pain. CB2 is abundant in the immune system, which deals with inflammation. These rectors are in charge of releasing cytokine or chemokine, as well as the migration of neutrophils and macrophages. Essentially, they help slow down inflammatory processes, while also regulating chronic pain. THC activates these functions, making it a great choice for pain management.
THC is found to be effective in treating pains and the Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a medication for symptomatic relief for multiple sclerosis patients. This medication, called Sativex, is composed of a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD.
Because delta-9 and delta-8 share similar effects, but at different intensities, delta-8 can potentially help in pain management, just like delta-9.
Delta-8 THC has a lot of potentials when it comes to treating and managing pain. With availability is widely spread throughout the United States, you might want to try it upon your doctor’s prescription. Other cannabinoids that offer analgesic effects aside from THC isomers include CBD, CBC, CBG, and THCV.
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