Thanks to old propaganda like “Reefer Madness” and the precarious legal status of cannabis until recently, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol, aka the part of the plant with a reputation for getting you “high”) has been less easily accepted than CBD (Cannabidiol). It is, however, part of the cannabinoid family and works with your body’s endocannabinoid system to balance and heal it, whether in conjunction with CBD or on its own.
A 2019 Healthline article explains the Entourage Effect as “the theory that all the compounds in cannabis work together, and when taken together, they produce a better effect than when taken alone.” Studies have shown that full spectrum CBD products, which contain trace amounts of THC, appear to work better than those with CBD only.
There are four main types of THC, each with its own set of benefits:
THCA. Found in all parts of the plant (stems, flowers, and leaves), THCA is the source of the other three types but, ironically, does not have mind-altering effects itself due to not being able to fit into the body’s CB1 receptors. Best used in its raw form for the best result and no high, THCA can help alleviate symptoms of epilepsy, chronic pain, arthritis, diabetes, MS and ALS. It is also known to reduce nausea.
Delta-9 THC. Extracted from THCA with heat, Delta-9 THC is the type commonly referred to when we talk about THC. It’s the one that alters the mind once decarboxylation occurs. Its benefits are numerous: it’s an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, appetite enhancer, nausea and pain reducer, muscle relaxer, and seizure stopper. Delta-9 also helps with sleep disorders and anxiety and shows promise as a tumor reducer.
Delta-8 THC. With time, Delta-9 THC is exposed to oxygen, which breaks it down to a more stable, but less potent, form known as Delta-8 THC. One may experience an energetic and more clear-headed high, and when used with CBD, could enjoy relief from nausea, anxiety, pain, and loss of appetite, without intense psychoactive effects.
THCV. A small amount of this form of THC won't get you high, but combining THCV with Delta-9 THC or using a higher dose can result in a nice, stimulating experience. THCV is also an appetite suppressant, unlike its counterparts, so it can be a weight loss tool while also offering relief from symptoms of Parkinson’s, ALS, diabetes, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and anxiety. It also shows promise as a bone growth stimulant.