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Among the most abundant phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant, THC is known for delivering the high that’s associated with marijuana. But research has revealed that it can also be a potent tool for healing.

“THC has amazing medicinal properties, and with proper and responsible use, many different symptoms can be managed,” Bonni Goldstein, MD, medical director of Canna-Centers Wellness & Education in California and author of Cannabis Is Medicine writes in her book.

“THC has amazing medicinal properties, and with proper and responsible use, many different symptoms can be managed.”

A key difference between therapeutic and recreational use of THC involves targeting your minimal effective dose, or the lowest dose that provides positive results without side effects, such as intoxication, a racing heart, or paranoia. This amount varies from person to person.

“I don’t judge the actual milligram dose,” Goldstein says. “You may take 10 mg and get the same medical benefits as your sister with the same condition, who’s taking 50 mg. ­Different people have different absorption, different metabolism, and different underlying endocannabinoid tone.” (See “The Endocannabinoid System” above.)

Some conditions that respond well to THC-rich medical cannabis include Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and nausea from cancer treatment.

“I’ve seen people tolerate cannabis products extremely well when they’re used with guidance such as you’d get at a medical cannabis dispensary,” says ­integrative psychiatrist Henry Emmons, MD. He adds that people with a family history of psychotic illnesses, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, are at higher risk for psychiatric problems from THC; they should proceed with caution.

Learn More

For more on the health benefits of cannabis, see “Meet the New Phytocannabinoids,” from which this article was excerpted.

Mo Perry

Mo Perry is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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