Medical Marijuana 101

CBD vs THC: What You Need to Know

Cannabis contains up to 100 cannabinoids, but there are two that lead the pack: CBD stands for cannabidiol and THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. If you are curious to learn more about these two components, you just found the right cannabinoids guide.

CBD and THC are active components of cannabis. Studies of these most popular cannabinoids medicinal use have led to conclude that they work differently on the human body because they affect different receptors in the brain: while CBD is known for its therapeutic properties, THC is mostly known for its psychoactive effects. Although when used individually they have very distinct (sometimes opposing) effects, when used together they balance each other out. Wanna know more CBD and THC facts and myths? Read on!

What are Cannabinoids?

First things first: what are cannabinoids? Cannabinoids are chemical components found in the cannabis plant that can interact with the human body’s endocannabinoid system. By connecting to the body’s cannabinoid receptors, these two marijuana components can have physical and mental effects over the human body.

THC and CBD are the cannabinoids with highest production in the cannabis plant; they are also responsible for marijuana’s medicinal benefits. They interact in different ways with the human body, and although CBD is more well known as the therapeutic component, for certain pathologies THC might be a more suitable component for the course of treatment.

THC is known to produce mental effects such as heightened sensory perception (tactile hypersensitivity, brighter colors), euphoria and altered perception of time – to name just a few. CBD’s effects are more physical: in addition to helping achieve deep states of relaxation it is known for being an effective therapeutic for pain management and against inflammation. THC and CBD are marijuana’s most popular cannabinoids and its most studied components to this date.

What is CBD and What are the Medicinal Benefits?

As previously stated, CBD stands for cannabidiol. This component is one of marijuanas’ most popular cannabinoids given its beneficial medicinal effects over the human body. As a matter of fact, it is responsible for having transformed the negative perception cannabis used to have, as its many therapeutic uses for different pathologies shine a positive light over marijuana as a valuable medicinal alternative. 

As opposed to other cannabinoids, CBD has no psychoactive effects and it’s not addictive, meaning it has no negative impact on the human brain function. In addition to that, it has the ability to counter the psychoactive effects caused by THC, which is one of the reasons why these two are often used together. 

How does CBD work in your body? CBD’s claim to fame is due to its anticonvulsant properties as it has been proven to effectively help treat seizures. But its medicinal uses go far beyond its benefits as a course of treatment for epilepsy; CBD is also commonly used to treat insomnia, inflammation, anxiety and chronic pain. While THC use is still prohibited in several countries, CBD use is widely accepted and legal around the world.

What is THC and What are the Medicinal Benefits?

THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol and it’s one of medicinal marijuana’s key cannabinoids. Although it has largely been eclipsed by CBD, some might say THC is marijuana’s biggest star. As a psychoactive substance, THC binds with receptors in the human brain responsible for mood and other feelings and it’s directly responsible for the so-called “high”. It’s precisely because of this effect that cannabis is considered illegal in many countries around the world.

But THC’s influence goes beyond its mental effects, as is the case with other components of the wonderful cannabis plant. THC’s narcotic properties have proven to be very effective at treating physical ailments. Most notably, this cannabinoid is used to provide relief to chemotherapy patients as it curbs nausea and increases appetite. Also, it is believed to help with chronic pain management, which is very useful in the course of treatment against nerve pain, multiple sclerosis pain and Parkinson’s disease tremors among other conditions.

CBD, THC and the Human Body

Given their ability to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, both CBD and THC have effects over the human body, but such effects can differ dramatically.  While CBD has no negative impact over the brain function, THC can. This is the main factor that differentiates these cannabinoids’ effect on the human body.  

Despite being a psychoactive substance, THC can offer medicinal benefits as well due to its narcotic and anti-inflammatory properties. CBD on the other hand is widely used as a therapeutic to facilitate muscle relaxation and to curb seizures and anxiety, among many other ailments. 

Given the vast array of uses that each of these components can have, it is important to work together with a medicinal marijuana doctor not only to accurately diagnose the medical condition but also to determine the adequate ratios for each of the components to achieve maximum benefit with the course of treatment since not all marijuana is created equal. Which leads us to our next question: are these cannabinoids better used alone or together?

CBD and THC are Better Together

CBD and THC are better together due to the entourage effect. You might wonder: what is the entourage effect in cannabis? The entourage effect refers to the theory that all the components of the cannabis plant work much better together as they interact to enhance their beneficial effects as an aggregate compound. The positive synergy that results from combining the individual beneficial properties of the different cannabinoids and terpenes of the plant is superior to the benefits of any one component alone.

Therefore, by combining CBD with other cannabinoids doctors can effectively enhance marijuana’s medicinal benefits over the human body. For example, it is possible to treat patients by administering a compound with equal parts of CBD and THC. This combination is effective as THC can provide relief to specific symptoms but its psychoactive effects can be circumvented as those are countered by CBD. This is a clear illustration of how by combining cannabinoids, patients can enhance their benefits and enjoy the best of both worlds.

Having said that, it’s important to note that the ability to enhance the effects of cannabis components in the combination that is most suitable to each individual patient is not possible via self medication and consumption of regular weed. Instead, it is the result of a process involving a professional diagnosis followed by the balancing of a tailored cannabis compound with carefully selected components and in particular ratios to guarantee its quality and the enhanced benefits that the patient needs. Not all marijuana is created equal, nor are the benefits the same.

Now that you are more familiar with medical marijuanas benefit, what cannabis’ main components are and the differences that set them apart, you are better prepared to understand the use and advantages of medical marijuana products. 

Wondering if medical marijuana is an option for you or a loved one? Check out here a list of qualifying conditions and symptoms that are treatable with this alternative in Texas.