Study Summary: THC for Brain Health

Updated: Sep 9

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the major cannabinoids produced by cannabis/marijuana (hemp is the variety of this plant species that contains almost no THC, giving it different legal status and regulatory oversight). It is known for its psychoactive effects and ability to increase appetite (whereas its cannabinoidal cousin, cannabidiol (CBD), conveys no psychoactivity outside of decreased anxiety).

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At normal doses and among experienced users, THC typically reduces anxiety, resulting in a "Netflix and chill" effect. In large doses and especially for novice consumers, THC has been known to increase anxiety and may even result in panic attacks.


THC has been shown to deliver pain relief and mood elevation and may be helpful in the treatment of ADHD, anxiety, arthritis, cancer, Crohn's disease, and depression, among others.

A range of peer-reviewed research studies indicate that THC is a potential therapeutic agent for a range of disease states, disorders, and conditions. It has been shown to deliver pain relief and mood elevation and may be helpful in the treatment of ADHD, anxiety, arthritis, cancer, Crohn's disease, depression, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, PTSD, migraine headaches, nausea, and sleep disorders (among others).


A 2021 study entitled "Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Promotes Functional Remyelination in the Mouse Brain" that was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology explored the potential ability of the cannabis-derived cannabinoid delta-9 THC to regrow the myelin sheath that surrounds nerves and protects and promotes efficient and healthy cellular signaling in the brain and central nervous system (CNS).

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Loss of myelin in the brain and CNS is a known cause or contributor to many major diseases and disorders, including multiple sclerosis, optic neuritis, and Guillain Barré-syndrome (among many others).


The study's authors noted that THC has been shown to provide "neuroprotection in animal models of demyelination."

The study's authors noted that THC has been shown to provide "neuroprotection in animal models of demyelination" but that its ability to repair myelin had never before been studied. This scientific investigation involved mice, not humans.


Such studies, referred to as "preclinical research" are necessary to gather data and determine generalized safety profiles. Rodents and a variety of mammals feature some bodily systems and mechanisms that are very similar to those of humans, allowing scientists to involve these creatures in preclinical research.

The THC molecule


The Results

The researchers reported that THC administration "enhanced oligodendrocyte regeneration, white matter remyelination, and motor function recovery." It revealed that THC promoted multiple mechanisms of remyelination in the brain and that they involved activation of the CB1 cellular receptors (part of the endocannabinoid system, or ECS).


The study revealed that THC promoted multiple mechanisms of remyelination in the brain and that they involved activation of the CB1 cellular receptors.

The study concluded that it "identifies THC administration as a promising pharmacological strategy aimed to promote functional CNS remyelination in demyelinating disorders,"


View the original study.


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