A new study has found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is more important for the medicinal effects in cannabis than originally believed. THC is the main psychoactive chemical ingredient in weed and is more associated with the recreational value of marijuana.
Researchers at the University of New Mexico are said to have solved a major gap in scientific literature by utilizing a mobile software technology to measure the real-time effects of cannabis-based products used every day by millions of people.
THC better than CBD at relieving symptoms???
The researchers have found that, contrary to popular belief, THC showed the strongest correlation with the therapeutic relief of the drug, even stronger than cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is non-psychoactive and does not create a high, so it is considered more socially acceptable. And because of this, CBD is more associated with the medicinal value of cannabis than THC.
The study was entitled “The Association between Cannabis Product Characteristics and Symptom Relief” and was published in the journal Scientific Reports. It was conducted by Jacob Miguel Vigil, Psychology Associate Professor at the UNM, and Sarah See Stith, Economics Assistant Professor at the UNM.
The researchers found that THC and CBD contents were the most important factors for optimizing the relief of symptoms in various health conditions. However, it was the THC content that came out as the main factor. Dr. Vigil explained that their findings were based on observing real-time measurements of the effects on cannabis on what he describes as “the largest database of its kind” in the United States.
According to Dr. Vigil, despite the conventional wisdom in the scientific community and popular press that states that only CBD has medical benefits while THC merely creates the high, their study suggests that “THC may be more important than CBD in generating therapeutic benefits.”
These real-time data were collected through a mobile application called ReleafApp. Using the app, patients reported the effects and results of their actual cannabis consumption and the researchers compiled and processed these data.
Franco Brockelman, CEO of ReleafApp noted that “This study helps validate the medical importance of THC along with CBD, and the need for more conclusive research to be done, which we look forward to contributing to.”
Aim of the study
The study’s aim was to address questions on how the fundamental characteristics of frequently used cannabis products — which characteristics often influence customer choices — affect the intensity levels of patients’ symptoms. The average patient, across 27 measured symptom categories including depression and seizure activity, and around 20,000 measured user sessions, showed an immediate 3.5-point improvement in symptoms on a scale of 0-10.
It was found that dried flower was the most commonly used cannabis product and was generally associated with greater improvement of symptoms than other cannabis product types.
Bridging the gap
Dr. Vigil said that their study will be able to fill the most significant gap in a previous medical literature, understanding the dose, efficacy, side effects, and routes of administration of commercially available and commonly used cannabis products in the U.S.
By studying cannabis products with both THC and CBD, the researchers were able to analyze the relative importance of THC and CBD for side effect prevalence and symptom relief, advancing previous research that examined either cannabinoid in the absence of the other. One of the most striking patterns in the study’s results was that THC was generally associated by users patients with a more intense experience, as measured by the prevalence of both positive and negative side effects and by symptom relief.