What's So Scary About THC? 3

What’s so scary about THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)? If we listen to the “experts,” we’re led to believe that potent THC cannabis will lead to anxiety, depression, “cannabis use disorder,” and even psychosis like schizophrenia.

Studies funded by special interests love finding “associations” between cannabis and anything negative.

Is this the last vestige of reefer madness? Critics used to say cannabis made you dumb, destroyed your motivation, and contributed to memory loss. They also said smoking cannabis will lead to “harder” drugs like heroin.

No one but the radically misinformed believes that propaganda anymore.

Still, “cannabis-induced psychosis” looms over the industry, like lung cancer rates for tobacco companies. The idea is that modern, high-potency THC is leading consumers to disconnect from reality.

According to data from the Canadian government, before legalization, from 2006 to 2015, the rate of cannabis-related hospitalizations doubled. Almost half of these (48%) were “mental and behavioural disorders due to use of cannabinoids, psychotic disorder.”

So what’s going on? Is cannabis-induced psychosis disorder (CIPD) real or just reefer madness? After all, THC is structurally similar to an endocannabinoid called anandamide.

What’s so scary about THC?

What’s So Scary About THC?

What's So Scary About THC

High-potency THC can lead to cannabis-induced psychosis disorder (CIPD), according to the “experts.” Symptoms of CIPD include:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Disorganized speech
  • Grandiosity
  • Memory loss
  • Uncooperativeness
  • Unusual excitement
  • Unusual thoughts

According to the “experts,” you are diagnosed with CIPD if these symptoms continue days or even weeks after you last consume cannabis. Or if these symptoms cause distress and interfere with your work or social life.

You can’t get diagnosed with CIPD if you already have schizophrenia or some other psychosis condition. The idea is that cannabis causes psychosis. So all data that doesn’t fit needs to be thrown out to make the definition work.

Are you starting to see how they make THC look so scary?

What About Too Much THC?

What About Too Much THC

Anyone who’s eaten too much of an edible or had too big of a dab knows what too much THC feels like. You might hallucinate or even experience mild delusions. In large enough doses, cannabis becomes a psychedelic.

So do we all suffer from CIPD when getting uncomfortably high? CIPD differs, according to the “experts,” because the consumer can’t tell what’s real and fake.

As mentioned, the studies supporting this view are observational. They “suggest a link” between cannabis use (especially in youth) and the onset of psychosis.

But as we’ve covered before, it’s a chicken and egg problem. 

Are young people with psychosis more likely to find relief from cannabis? Or is cannabis causing psychosis? Maybe cannabis is triggering an early onset of something that will happen anyway? 

Many “experts” believe that high-potency cannabis can cause psychosis, so they find THC scary. At least one study states this faux connection outright. 

Another study claims it’s our genes. People with a particular variant of the AKT1 gene are seven times more likely to develop psychosis from cannabis. 

Suppose this is all true – what’s the problem? Just as some people can’t drink or smoke, others cannot consume cannabis.

Evidence suggests cessation reverses CIPD. There are even antipsychotic medications for medical cannabis patients who can’t (or shouldn’t) avoid cannabis consumption.

But overall, we still haven’t answered the question: What’s so scary about THC?

What’s So Scary About Anandamide?

What's So Scary About Anandamide?

THC is a compound that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. It is similar to a natural (or endogenous) cannabinoid in our body: anandamide.

Anandamide regulates our physiological processes, including pain, mood, appetite, and memory. It is a neurotransmitter that binds to our cannabinoid receptors.

Anandamide and THC share many structural similarities. The “runner’s high” people feel after intense exercise is associated with the release of anandamide. That’s why its nickname is the “bliss molecule.”

THC binds to the same receptors as anandamide. It mimics the molecule, except where anandamide has a short shelf-life, THC hangs around for a while. (This is because enzymes break down anandamide quicker than THC).

Interestingly, CBD inhibits the enzymes used to break anandamide down. 

So what’s the difference between THC and anandamide? Aside from the latter occurring naturally in the body, cannabis is a natural herb.

But what’s so scary about THC if they’re molecularly similar?

Cannabis: Fact vs Myth

Cannabis: Fact vs Myth

What’s so scary about THC?

Whether through lack of study or interest, no “expert” has a satisfactory answer. They may say that THC cannabis alters perceptions and changes mood. But so does anandamide.

Cannabis can “impair motor coordination,” “alter thinking,” create “time distortion,” and other effects not associated with anandamide or the “runner’s high.”

But does cannabis do anything of these things? You could make the case of impaired motor coordination. But all drugs, medicines, and even certain foods do this.

Fast-food, for example, impairs motor functions and alters the mesolimbic pathway. Just like cocaine.

But “altered thinking” and “time distortion?” 

How much of that are the real, objective properties of the cannabis high versus expectation? How much of the cannabis experience is due to THC’s actual effects on the brain and body versus our interpretations of these effects?

Cannabis (or any drug or medicine) cannot change the content of your thoughts. Your perception of time is always subjective, whether you’ve got THC in your system or not. 

“Altered thinking,” as an effect of cannabis, is an example of an active placebo. This brings the “unusual thoughts” and “difficultly expressing emotion” symptoms of CIPD into question.

We still don’t know what’s so scary about THC. 

What’s So Scary About THC?

What's So Scary About THC?

There is nothing scary about THC. It is essentially a natural cannabinoid (anandamide) put on steroids. To slice through this propaganda, perhaps we’re best to quote Dr. Andrew Wiel:

To my mind, the best term for marijuana is active placebo – that is, a substance whose apparent effects on the mind are actually placebo effects in response to minimal physiological action.

Calling cannabis an “active placebo” doesn’t deny its pharmacological effects, whether you’re a cancer patient that needs it for appetite or an average Joe who eats a little gummy for insomnia.

But what about the idea that cannabis can make you creative? It’s a socially accepted effect, but there’s nothing concrete about it.

For, if cannabis could change your thoughts and make you more creative, then it should be able to do the opposite. Cannabis should be able to make you think dark, delusional things, and then you hurt yourself or others.

But that’s not how drugs work. Whether it’s cannabis, heroin, or your morning coffee.

There is nothing scary about THC. It binds to your cannabinoid receptors and produces a high similar to the one you receive after an intense workout.

Everything else is set and setting. Whether positive (cannabis makes me more agreeable) or negative (cannabis makes me paranoid).

The only thing cannabis has done is stimulate your endocannabinoid system. The rest is up to you.