Synthetic THC Being Explored For Chest Pain Relief While Natural Version Remains Illegal
3 min

Synthetic THC Being Explored For Chest Pain Relief While Natural Version Remains Illegal

3 min
News Research

Pharmaceutical companies have been experimenting with synthetic THC in the treatment of chest pains. Individual cannabinoids have been shown to have greater efficacy when combined with other cannabinoids in what is known as the entourage effect.

Cannabis has long been thought of as having medicinal properties. The more we study this wonder plant, the more we have come to realize that it does in fact hold promise in treating a wide range of ailments. Everyone should know by now that one of the biggest players preventing legalization of cannabis everywhere is the lobbying machine of big pharma. Pharmaceutical companies are looking to gain a stronghold on the cannabinoid market. The recent US FDA rulings restricting CBD products demonstrates how far they are willing to go to seize the financial opportunity.


The pharmaceutical industry created a synthetic THC called Dronabinol. Dronabinol has been approved for use to treat the symptoms associated with anorexia as well as the nausea associated with chemotherapy cancer treatments. Researchers are finding that this synthetic THC may also be effective in treating non-cardiac chest pain. What the pharmaceutical companies don't seem to realize is that concentrating synthetic THC in a pill will not mimic the effects of cannabis. Cannabis' chemical makeup is complex. In order for many of the beneficial effects to be felt, your body must interact with a wide range of cannabinoids that complement the function of the THC. Turning to whole plant remedies is a safer and more effective method of cannabinoid ingestion when looking to treat physical ailments.


Dronabinol is a synthetic pharmaceutical compound that has the same chemical structure as THC. The carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen chain is identical to that of the real stuff, however it was made in a laboratory somewhere. While THC is considered a dangerous drug with no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse, Dronabinol is considered to be not overly addictive and has great potential for medicinal use. Obviously the double standard is meant to sway opinion in favor of the prescription form of the drug.

THC pills

Synthetic THC is not particularly safe when taken alone. Ingesting pure THC, synthetic or otherwise, has the potential to cause adverse reactions including hallucinations, paranoia and high anxiety. The warnings that accompany dronabinol include the following potential health hazards: Confusion, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, stupor, coma and cardiovascular effects.

The great thing about natural cannabis is that it contains more than just THC. It contains over one hundred different cannabinoids and a wide variety of terpenoids that have shown to limit, restrict and mitigate the overwhelming effects that pure THC can cause. Cannabinoids like cannabidiol, present in cannabis limit the duration of the psychoactive experience caused by THC. Other cannabinoids like THCV also work against THC and balance the overall effects. THCV is known to reduce heart rate and increase the feeling of well-being of those who consume it. Synthetic THC lacks these fundamental compounds that make cannabis the effective treatment that it is.

Another miserable fail of Dronabinol is its poor bioavailability once ingested. An US mandated study of the drug found that only 10-20% of the synthetic cannabinoid are actually absorbed by the body after consumption. After consuming orally, it takes between two and four hours for the effects to begin. When compared to natural THC through smoked cannabis consumption, THC levels in the blood peaked within fifteen minutes. When consumed orally, THC levels peaked between 60 and 90 minutes. The increased efficacy of natural cannabis can best be summed up by explaining the entourage effect.


The entourage effect describes the symbiosis that exists between THC and the spectrum of other cannabinoids that one finds in cannabis. After Dronabinol hit the market, doctors and scientists alike found that the pure synthetic THC was simply not as effective as whole plant cannabis treatments. Studies into the other cannabinoids and their relationship with THC in the healing process were explored. The more research that was done, the more scientists discovered that each hundred plus cannabinoids have their own properties that each contribute to the medicinal value of the plant in their own way. 

When you smoke marijuana, your brain is flooded with cannabinoids. Cannabinoids including THC, CBD, THCV, CBDL and a hundred more bind to your CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Some bind to these receptors more than others, which results in alternative means of cannabinoids entering bodily systems through secondary pathways.



Main cannabinoids

CBD enters the body through secondary pathways and has a profound effect on the body when balanced with adequate amounts of THC. CBD has been proven to be more effective in treating chronic pain, anxiety, depression, blood pressure and osteoporosis when introduced alongside THC.

Other cannabinoids are no different. Compounds such as cannabinol, which has been shown to increase testosterone in males and reduce seizures, requires THC for maximum efficiency. Cannabichromeme is the fourth major cannabinoid and works as an anti-inflammatory. Cannabigerol works as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent, while tetrahydrocannabivarin is extremely effective in treating cluster headaches. The one thing that each of these cannabinoids need to maximize their ability to perform in the body is THC. Synthetic THC treatments ignore the symbiosis that exists within the plant in its natural state. Consuming cannabis by smoking, eating or ingesting whole plant remedies ensures you get the wide spectrum of cannabinoids that will more effectively treat ailments that the pharmaceutical industry is trying to tackle in a lab.


Synthetic substitutes for readily available natural remedies are never the way to go. Synthetic THC has shown to not be nearly as effective as natural marijuana when it comes to treating a variety of ailments. This is due to the relationship between the various cannabinoids with THC and the unique manner in which they depend on each other, otherwise known as the entourage effect. Consuming cannabis by smoking is a more effective and safer method of introducing cannabinoids into the body than orally consuming synthetic THC. The most effective form of ingestion is to consume whole plant cannabis which ensures maximum functionality of the cannabinoids contained within.

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