What Does THC Do? The Benefits of Euphoria
THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is widely known as the part of the cannabis plant that gets you “high.” Unlike CBD, the other most notable natural compound found in cannabis, THC does produce intoxicating effects, but that’s not the only reason it’s worth exploring. Studies suggest that THC has been linked to pain relief, deeper sleep, and even better sex! Whether you’re a twenty-something competing in a triathlon or a senior trying to improve your sleep, THC has the potential to make a positive and lasting difference in your quality of life.
Let’s begin with the topic of THC’s euphoric effects. As it turns out, it’s doing much more than simply making us feel good. One of THC’s effects is that it increases dopamine levels in the brain, resulting in a pleasant sense of euphoria for most users.
But dopamine isn’t the only reason for this pleasure. The molecular makeup of THC resembles that of the body’s natural anti-depressant, a compound called anandamide. As a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in pleasure, memory, motivation, movement, pain, appetite and fertility, anandamide is typically referred to as the “bliss molecule,” and because THC has a similar structure, the brain processes it in the same way.
Our bodies tend to break down anandamide rather quickly, but it turns out that CBD, the other most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis, can inhibit this biological action, which in turn helps us to maintain pleasure longer. This is one reason why some cannabis users prefer strains that contain both CBD and THC.
One study conducted by Washington State University found that cannabis high in CBD and low in THC was optimal for reducing symptoms of depression, while cannabis high in both CBD and THC helped to reduce stress. Finding the right ratio is up each individual, but it shouldn’t always be assumed that more THC is best. The lead researcher on the study explained:
“A lot of consumers seem to be under the false assumption that more THC is always better. Our study shows that CBD is also a very important ingredient in cannabis and may augment some of the positive effects of THC.”