THC has been proven completely safe to consume with decades of research revealing the impossibility of overdose. According to the United States (US) National Cancer Institute, “Because cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the brain-stem areas controlling respiration, lethal overdoses from Cannabis and cannabinoids do not occur”. Lethal doses are simply not possible due to the lack of cannabinoid receptors in the brain stem, responsible for respiration and heart function, unlike drugs such as cocaine and heroin, which can easily result in overdose. In 2008, researchers in universities in both Montreal and Vancouver, Canada, reviewed 23 clinical investigations of cannabinoid drugs (typically oral THC or liquid pharmaceutical Cannabis extracts) and eight observational studies conducted between 1966 and 2007. Investigators "did not find a higher incidence rate of serious adverse events associated with medical cannabinoid use" compared to non-using controls over these four decades.
Regulation of THC by other cannabinoids like CBG also affect potency and overall effect, providing another buffer. A 2009 study revealed that using only 10 times the “effective” dose of alcohol can be fatal, whereas 1,000 times the effective amount would be necessary to achieve a fatal dose of Cannabis, a quantity impossible to consume! More research has indicated additional reasons why humans don’t die from Cannabis poisoning. In 2014, the journal Science published results from a French study, Pregnenolone Can Protect the Brain from Cannabis Intoxication, which documented the discovery and presence of a natural hormone that reverses Cannabis intoxication - in rats, at least. According to the researchers: “When the [rat] brain is stimulated by high doses of THC, it produces pregnenolone - a 3,000% increase - that inhibits the effects of THC”.
Therapeutic and medicinal values include (but are certainly not limited to):
♋ HIV/AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) – The American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM) stated in 2007, "When appropriately prescribed and monitored, Cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients". Also in 2007, Dr Donald Abrams, Professor of Clinical Medicine (University of California, San Francisco) wrote an article; Cannabis in Painful HIV-Associated Sensory Neuropathy: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial, in the journal Neurology: "Objective: To determine the effect of smoked Cannabis on the neuropathic pain of HIV-associated sensory neuropathy, and an experimental pain model ... Patients were randomly assigned to smoke either cannabis (3.56% THC) or identical placebo cigarettes with the cannabinoids extracted three times daily for 5 days ... Conclusion: Smoked Cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated sensory neuropathy. The findings are comparable to oral drugs used for chronic neuropathic pain". A group of researchers from Louisiana State University (US) published a study in 2014 in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses which suggests Cannabis can help stop the progression of HIV/AIDS and its associated symptoms of chronic pain, nausea, fatigue and more. The specific compound that halts the spread of HIV compounds into other healthy cells is none other than THC.
This is Part 4a of a series covering the major branches of cannabinoids. Parts 1 to 3 covered the other major branches; Part 1 - CBG-a, The Precursor, and CBG. Part 2 covered Cannabidiols (CBD's) including Cannabidiolic acid (CBD-a). Part 3 covered Cannabichromenes (CBC's), including Cannabichromenic acid (CBC-a). Parts 4b and 4c will cover Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-a) along with Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabinolic-acid (CBN-a) and Cannabinol (CBN).