If you are struggling with chronic pain or arthritis, or any other musculoskeletal pain, you may want to try some cannabis products for some relief. These products can also help you cope with symptoms like insomnia and fatigue.
THC and CBD are both naturally found in cannabis plants, but they are entirely different compounds. Here is everything you need to know about THC vs CBD the next time you visit the dispensary.
What Is THC?
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the chemical you find in marijuana that is responsible for stimulating its psychological effects. When you smoke or consume any marijuana products, THC is the reason you feel “high” and suddenly want to eat a lot of snacks around the house.
THC acts just like any cannabinoid chemicals that are naturally produced in your body. Cannabinoid receptors are present in different parts of the brain that affect pleasure, thinking, memory, perception of time, and coordination.
THC enters your body and activates these receptors, which is why you get high. When you are high, the THC will affect these receptors by attaching to them. THC can be found in the resin secreted by a marijuana plant’s glands. These are also found in the reproductive organs of the plant.
If you want to use cannabis products without getting the munchies or zoning out, you may want to try CBD instead. CBD is a natural compound that is non-psychoactive and blocks the high, so you will not feel much when consuming any products for pain.
What Is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. This is a chemical compound you can find from a Sativa marijuana plant. This is a natural substance that is used in products like edibles or oils to help you feel relaxed and calm.
What makes CBD so fantastic is that it blocks any psychological effects that you would normally get from consuming THC. Although they are both major active ingredients derived from marijuana, you will not feel a high from CBD.
CBD is the safer choice if you have a busy day and want to take an edible without ending up having a Netflix binge with a bucket of popcorn. You will not feel any euphoria from it, so you can go to work without it sedating or altering the receptors in your brain the way THC does.
Some people do report feeling slightly high from CBD, but this is usually a tiny side effect. You could experience the same just by taking Tylenol as well. The first time you consume any cannabis products, you should test a small amount to see how your body will react.
This is because you are taking a new supplement for the first time, so you are unfamiliar with how it makes you feel. Ask a friend or family member to remain close to you so that you are under supervision until you find the right dose.
Pain Management Without the High
CBD will always triumph over THC if you are not excited about feeling any euphoric effects. Either way, always start with low doses. Gradually increase your dose to see what works best because there is no single type of CBD or THC products that everyone magically heals from since our bodies are different.
Alternatively, you can also try Delta-8, which is more widespread than cannabis and is legal across the country. Although this is also a natural type of THC found in cannabis plants, the effects are less psychoactive.
You will find delta-8 less intoxicating, even though it does have a high potency to help with pain management. Here is more information about Delta-8 to find out if it is right for you.
CBD vs THC for Pain
Many studies have shown that CBD products are the most effective when it comes to reducing anxiety and pain. They are extremely popular because people have reported that these products have improved their quality of life. CBD is natural and plant-based.
Therefore, it is one of the best non-dependency compounds. CBD has the tendency to provide relief to millions of people around the world without any serious side effects.
The medical world is buzzing with energy boasting the success stories related to CBD products that have made people feel much better about their medical conditions.
How CBD Relieves Pain
Although studies are still being done to understand how CBD relieves pain and anxiety, scientists noticed its powerful interaction with people’s bodies at a molecular level in numerous ways.
CBD activates your serotonin receptors, especially the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. This is related to pain, anxiety, and other neurological processes. It also binds itself closely to the TRPV1 receptors that affect how you perceive pain.
By doing so, it can lower pain without the need for any other drugs or chemicals because the chemicals in your brain are fighting discomfort naturally.
CBD also advances levels of adenosine in your brain. This strengthens your muscles by improving cardiovascular functions. You will also notice healthier blood flow, which gets rid of anxiety.
To alleviate anxiety even further, CBD attaches itself to the GABA-A receptor to calm you down. The presence of CBD within this receptor can make you feel a little sedated, but you will feel composed, and it will help you sleep a lot better.
Does THC Relieve Pain?
Some clinical studies have discovered that THC can have the opposite effect to CBD when it comes to managing pain. In experiments, the volunteers who were exposed to painful heat and shocks stated that THC increased their sensitivity to pain.
However, this does not mean that having THC is useless for relieving pain and anxiety compared to CBD. The difference is that THC makes you feel high, and CBD does not. You feel less vulnerable on CBD, and this makes it easier to withstand more pain.
Being high on THC can make you more sensitive because it affects the way you usually think and feel. If you are not used to the effects of marijuana, the high can be quite overwhelming.
For chronic pain, it is always best to go for CBD products because they do not provide any psychoactive effects and target the pain more effectively. CBD is also legal in more states where THC could still be banned if you are not living in California, Colorado, or Massachusetts.
Which Types of Pain Do They Target?
THC can help ease nerve pain, tremors from Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma, nausea, and multiple sclerosis. CBD is more effective for arthritis, diabetes, anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, and Crohn’s disease. The FDA has approved a single CBD-based drug called Epidiolex, which is used for treating rare childhood epilepsy.
CBD vs THC for Cancer
THC is effective at controlling nausea, lowering pain, and increasing a person’s appetite if they are undergoing cancer treatment. There is also a low chance of physical and psychological dependence while consuming cannabis products to cope with the pain.
However, since THC can have a strong high associated with it, there may be some side effects. Some patients struggle to concentrate or think clearly when they are feeling buzzed. Smoking THC can also cause chronic bronchitis after a while.
Therefore, CBD might be the ideal choice for dealing with cancer-related pain. It also helps people manage symptoms, and it is not psychoactive, even if some traces of it can contain a little THC as well.
A 2019 review of in vitro and in vivo studies showed that cannabinoids helped slow tumor growth and reduced tumor cell death when focusing on patients with pancreatic cancer. Another study showed that CBD can provide cell death, making glioblastoma cells more sensitive to radiation without adversely affecting healthy cells.
However, neither THC nor CBD is classed as an alternative cure to cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. Since these harsh treatments cause side effects such as nausea and a lack of appetite, cannabis products help alleviate the pain when undergoing treatment.
You should also note that even though THC can increase your appetite, CBD might suppress it. Only one CBD product, Epidiolex, has been approved by the FDA to ease cancer side effects, while two synthetic THC drugs were given the green light to treat vomiting and nausea, which results from chemotherapy.
Whether you are interested in THC or CBD, any medical marijuana products should be used under supervision only after getting advice from your doctor.
Most Effective CBD vs THC Products for Pain
THC and CBD come in several forms as cannabis products are being legalized and sold in many states. You can find them in vapes, sprays, oils, edibles, coffee, energy drinks, chocolate bars, and so much more.
Vaping or smoking THC is usually the quickest way to consume the plant and feel the effects within minutes. However, your doctor may go against this method because smoking is not the best habit to pick up for patients going through cancer treatments.
Tinctures need to be put under your tongue and can get absorbed quickly without taking too much longer than smoking. CBD or THC edibles can take up to an hour for the effects to work.
They take the longest to work because you consume them in the form of food like chocolates or candies, so your body needs to digest these. They are also best for insomnia or breakthrough pain, so you should take them an hour before going to bed to have a good night’s sleep.
It takes some practice with trial and error to determine which doses, delivery methods, and strains work best for you. Go slowly at first, especially if you are vaping.
Choose a flower with low THC and take a single puff instead of a powerful hit to see how you feel. Having a massive drag can make you cough a lot, so you need to be careful vaping or smoking for the first time if you are not used to it.
Edibles should not have a strong THC component if you have never ingested them before. However, if you do not feel any significant relief within the first 24 hours, you should up your dose slowly.
THC vs CBD Side Effects
Although both THC and CBD are generally safe, there are a few side effects that you should be aware of. These may be diarrhea, weight changes, and tiredness.
CBD can also affect hormones, which you need to be careful if you are combining it with any other medication. Some CBD products can interfere with metabolizing your other medicines, especially if they come with a grapefruit warning.
These are antidepressants, anti-seizure medicines, blood thinners, muscle relaxers or sedatives, and antibiotics. If you experience any ill effects or symptoms, you should stop using any cannabis products immediately and consult your doctor.
Since THC can get you high, there is always a risk of becoming too dependent on the substance. Many people start abusing high THC strains of marijuana and up their doses to keep getting higher levels of euphoric effects.
The more cannabis products you consume, the higher your tolerance gets, which makes ingesting too much THC dangerous. The top physical symptoms to watch out for are dry mouth, increased appetite, bloodshot eyes, lethargy, impaired motor functions, delayed reactions, and coordination problems.
The cognitive symptoms are memory problems, poor judgment, and lack of focus or concentration. Psychosocial symptoms of too much THC can be agitation, paranoia, mood swings, irritability, and withdrawal.
THC vs CBD: Which Is the Better Choice?
There are several benefits when it comes to THC vs CBD. The one you pick should be a personal choice depending on how it helps you cope with pain. To be safe, you should always turn to your doctor and see which one they recommend.
Always go slow when you consume medical marijuana products for the first time and wait several minutes to see how you feel before upping the dose. Discuss these products with your oncology team, especially if they have nurses, pharmacists, and doctors knowledgeable about cannabis.
Do your research before stepping into a dispensary. The most reputable ones will have expert staff members familiar with cannabis for cancer patients to help you find the right products. If you enjoyed reading this post, check out our website for more health advice.