Choosing between CBD and THC? Not so fast
CBD and THC are the two main chemical compounds in cannabis but have very different effects. CBD is known for its ability to relieve inflammation, anxiety, and pain among many other things. THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis and is widely used recreationally to get “high” but also has medicinal effects.
What are the properties of THC?
When most people think of consuming Cannabis, the first thing that comes to mind is the feeling of being “high” caused by THC. The effects are caused by THC flooding the cannabinoid (CB1 and CB2) receptors across the brain which explains why consuming THC changes so many body functions. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for communication between cells in the brain and the natural chemical balance is disturbed by THC. These neurotransmitters affect processing speed, appetite, mood, and pain sensation centers.
How about CBD?
Want the medicinal benefits of THC without altering your consciousness? CBD is a common solution. While some of the benefits don’t overlap, CBD use is not associated without any of the negative side effects that come with THC. CBD is used to help with pain, inflammation, and anxiety among others. CBD unlike THC, does not bind to cannabinoid receptors to make you feel “high” and the two actually compete for open receptors – more on this below. Moreover CBD can be given to children, older people, and pets without intoxication.
What can THC help with?
There’s a reason why a spectrum of people – from cancer patients to army vets with PTSD – are not satisfied with just using CBD to treat their ailments. While THC is used recreationally it also has a bunch of medical benefits.
THC is often used to treat:
- Chronic pain
- Muscle spasms
- Loss of appetite
Are there consequences to using THC?
Yes. THC is not entirely safe as it can impair thinking, movement, and memory. Long-term use can uncover underlying mental disorders and permanently decrease cognitive ability. Yet, many people struggling with pain correctly believe that these symptoms pale in comparison to the consequences of opioid use.
Many advocates suggest that legal cannabis could be used to shorten the amount of time people spend taking opioids and sometimes replace them altogether. While THC is not a strong enough painkiller for some of the most severe surgeries and traumas, it’s been proven especially useful for chronic pain.
How are CBD and THC used together?
There’s an important intersection of the so called “recreational” THC and “medical” CBD which is important to understand. While CBD will never be used recreationally, there are a couple key reasons to incorporate CBD into any THC pain or anxiety treatment program.
- THC and CBD have complementary properties – the “entourage effect”
- CBD as a “dimmer switch”
Combining CBD and THC for improved pain relief
THC and CBD don’t provide relief for the same issues. Scientists claim there is an “entourage effect” from consuming CBD with THC. In fact the medical literature points to high CBD low THC products being the most effective Cannabis based painkillers.
It’s also important to note that Cannabis has a ton of medicinal compounds that extend beyond these two famous ones. The “entourage effect”, in the bigger picture, is the interaction between cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids which collectively created a broad array of therapeutic effects.
CBD for THC Paranoia
As mentioned earlier, CBD can block THC from binding with Cannabinoid receptors and therefore getting you high. By reducing the amount of THC that binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD has a buffering effect. This is often compared to a “dimmer switch” because CBD help regulate cannabinoid activity. A THC “high” can make people feel paranoid, especially for inexperienced users and people with certain brain chemistries.
A combined future
As cannabis legalization spread around the country the availability of both THC and CBD is increasing. There has been an enormous amount of progress and it’s hard not to be envisioning the United States with federally legal cannabis. We at Potion strongly believe that our CBD products will continue to thrive even when people have full access to THC and cannabis flower. CBD is still being held back by outdated policies and every state that legalized cannabis is another win for our cause. CBD and THC can work well together and separately and policy is moving in the right direction for both compounds.