With both the widespread legalization of marijuana, and the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill which makes CBD legal in all 50 states, some consumers may be confused about the pain relieving benefits of CBD versus THC. And many new users want to know: Does CBD for pain actually work? Find out the benefits of both THC and CBD for pain to determine which one would be best for you.
Some experts believe that natural plant compounds, like the types found in the cannabis plant, are better suited for the body than synthetic, lab-created pharmaceuticals.
That’s because our bodies can process and metabolize natural chemicals better than synthetic ones, in the same way that we can digest whole foods better than the boxed and packaged alternative.
Synthetic drugs targeting one specific ailment come with a host of side effects, and they leave behind harmful toxins in the body which causes a strain on the liver and kidneys.
On the other hand, cannabis has natural anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pain-suppressing qualities, and it can treat a multitude of conditions including anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia.
Both studies and anecdotal reports support the pain-relieving properties of cannabis, but it’s important to understand which strain of the plant is best suited to treat different types of pain.
With the information below, you as a consumer can make an informed decision about whether it’s better to use a high-THC strain, which can only be found in medical marijuana, or a high-CBD strain, which comes from the recently legalized hemp plant.
Overview of THC and CBD
Cannabinoids are the chemically active compounds found in the cannabis plant, and these chemicals are the ones that are responsible for the plant’s healing effects.
Over 70 cannabinoids have been identified to date, but some experts estimate that cannabis may contain over 120 active components.
The richness of these compounds in a single species is one of the reasons cannabis is so useful for treating several different conditions at once. The two most studied cannabinoids ones are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC and CBD, which are found in medical marijuana, have been shown to have positive healing effects. However, THC comes with strong psychoactive properties, which is the main appeal of the plant for users that want to get “high.” CBD has zero psychoactive properties, which is the reason why the federal government allowed for its legalization in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Effects of High-THC (Medical Marijuana) Strains
High-THC strains of cannabis are responsible for altered states of perception and mood, which is what recreational users of the drug seek it out for. However, it also contains strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents, which is why studies have shown that it can be helpful in conditions that cause painful inflammation, such as cancer and arthritis.
THC can also relax the nervous system and help with pain caused by spasms, as with multiple sclerosis. In the case of severe pain, the THC “high” can contribute to pain relief, much in the same way that opiates are used to treat pain.
Effects of High-CBD (Hemp) Strains
CBD has been lauded for its anti-carcinogenic, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory qualities. Clinical studies have also linked it to the suppression of pain, which makes it an ideal alternative to THC since it doesn’t produced an altered mental state. CBD can also help with depression and anxiety, which are sometimes side effects of living with a chronic pain.
A 2017 report concluded that there was sufficient evidence that high-CBD products are effective for treating chronic pain. Another clinical study, published by the Journal of Experimental Medicine in 2012, suggest that using CBD for pain can lesson both discomfort and inflammation in the body.
Cannabidiol Oil and Supplements
CBD oil and supplements come in a variety of formats. There are capsules, sprays, oils, tinctures, gummies, and topical creams. Companies like Fab CBD have a popular topical cream, Bliss Herbal has a Max Potency 50mg capsule, and countless other offer natural and flavored tinctures for every need.
Consumers should know that synthetic pharmaceuticals can mimic the effect of cannabis, but they are not natural. Supplemental forms of THC and CBD are the only ones that contain all the beneficial plant compounds that are found in the hemp plant.
Doctors prefer patients use CBD over THC for pain relief, primarily due to CBD’s lack of psychoactive properties. Although experts conclude that combining both THC and CBC is the most effective way to treat pain, doctors prefer that patients use CBD primarily due to the lack of side effects and legal status.
Countless first-hand accounts boasting CBD’s healing powers have also made it a natural first choice for users seeking safe and effective alternatives to prescription meds.