Medical cannabis may scare those who want to use this plant. Furthermore, with all these emerging scientific studies and news around, there are so many different products available. How can someone choose the best one? Here you will find a condense review about the history of this plant, as well as a comparison of CBD and THC products and a short guide for their use.
THC and CBD: a synergistic relationship
Although cannabis is being used for almost two centuries, it was only in the few past decades that science has started taking important steps towards the understanding of the properties of one of the oldest medicinal plants used by humans. While investigating the different varieties of the cannabis plant, specialists were able to find almost 500 compounds in it, with around 113 of these belonging to a family called cannabinoids.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are the two most known and studied of this group of compounds and they present certain therapeutic properties which must be emphasized so that, not only the investigators and patients but also the regulators and investors could better understand their therapeutic effects.
THC is the responsible Cannabinoid for the psychoactive ‘trip” that a user experiences while using cannabis casually and therefore is also the cause for the most conflicts around the plant’s medical use. On the other hand, its buddy CBD is the second in abundance substance of the cannabis chemical composition but, in contrast to THC, it shows very low psychoactive properties, thus not being considered as a narcotic. Due to its calming and uplifting properties, this cannabinoid has the power to fight pain and inflammation while neutralizing THC’s psychoactive effects just above zero. Indeed, we can claim that CBD and THC naturally balance one another: the more CBD you have in your body, the less THC effects you will experience.
In a nutshell, the biggest question from a cannabinoid scope is “which is the best to relieve pain: THC or CBD?
The best answer to this question is … both. It is common to hear that both high-THC and high-CBD strains successfully ease away pain but the best pain management might come from strains with large amounts of both of these two cannabinoids.
This contradiction between the two cannabinoids has emerged as the most significant difference – and constitutes also the biggest argument! While THC is a generally uplifting substance, CBD has a calming effect on patients, suggesting that both are highly valuable for medicine.
Below you will find a guide about the benefits of both THC and CBD.
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A short guide through CBD and THC components
Many of us have in mind the following question: is CBD used more than THC for medical purposes? The answer is yes. As THC has substantial instant and long term cognitive side effects, this component is classified as an illegal drug in many countries. Some of the most characteristic effects are: impaired thinking and reasoning; reduced ability to plan and organize; altered decision-making and reduced control over impulses.
Despite the fact that THC has been considered the ugly duck in this relationship, several medical studies have started pointing out some very important benefits of this compound that should also be taken into account. Here you are some of them:
- Pain Relief: This is one of the most common reasons that medical cannabis is used and as it turns out, THC is the responsible cannabinoid for this effect.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): New studies confirm that oral doses of THC can help relieve some PTSD symptoms including flashbacks, agitation and nightmares. Interestingly, the psychoactive properties are also associated with temporary impairments of memory.
- Nausea and Vomiting: Since the 1980s THC has been available in the form of pills for treating nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. In fact, the first THC-based medication approved by the FDA for this purpose was a pill that contains a synthetic THC called Marinol.
- Appetite Stimulant: Together with its potential to reduce nausea, THC can also work as a potent appetite stimulant both in healthy and sick individuals. Some researches show that THC can also stimulate weight gain in patients diagnosed with anorexia.
- Asthma: A scientific study dated back into the 70s confirmed THC’s ability to improve breathing in asthmatics.
- Glaucoma: Another recognized benefit of THC is related to its potential to reduce eye pressure in patients with glaucoma. Indeed scientists tried to develop a way to administer THC in eye drops but this idea was quickly rejected due to the fact that THC is not soluble in water. However, the American Glaucoma Society maintains the position that the effects of cannabis plant are too short (only 3-4 hours) which makes the option of this treatment not worth-following.
- Sleep Aid: Some people are aware about the sleep-inducing effect of cannabis and the experiments show that THC is mostly responsible for that. It has been noticed that it can contribute to the reduction of sleep interruptions in those who suffer from a common sleep disorder, known as apnea.
Overall, consuming THC could be useful not only to treat pain, nausea, sleep apnea and stress disorders but also to combat the symptoms or the side effects of chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, AIDS, or spinal injuries. Of course, it would be wiser to use it carefully, in controlled doses or even better after consulting our physician, so as to avoid the unpleasant side-effects.
On the other hand, CBD’s action is making strong CBD strains a common choice for the patients who have cancer, epilepsy, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, migraines and arthritis. Plus, this component is also considered:
- Anti-inflammatory: Commonly used against inflammation and pain.
- Anticonvulsant: Suppresses seizure activity.
- Antiemetic: Reduces nausea and vomiting.
- Antipsychotic: Helps in several forms of psychosis.
- 5. Anti-oxidant: Protects against neurodegenerative diseases.
- Anti-depressant: Helps in fighting anxiety and depression.
- Anti-tumoral: Combats tumor and cancer cells.
- Neuro-protective: May protect neurons in the brain
Some of most common THC and CBD products
As you may have noticed, there are plenty certified cannabinoid products that are not associated with the black market. Cannabis producers and many companies are trying to create unique products that correspond to the needs of either patients or common users. Below you can get an insight about some of the cannabis best-sellers:
- Medical Cannabis Oil: This is probably one of the most therapeutic cannabis products in the market and basically it is the essential oil of the cannabis plant. The medicinal components of the herb are concentrated in resin glands on the outside of the plant. Medical cannabis oil is produced by using some type of solvent in order to extract the oils from the plant material creating a highly concentrated product. There are several types of medical cannabis oils available:
- Full-extract oils made from high content THC plants: These oils will produce a psychoactive effect and are often used by patients with severe medical conditions like cancer, fibromyalgia or Parkinson’s disease.
- Full-extract oils made from high-content CBD plants: They are considered non-psychoactive and an excellent product for daytime pain or even stress management. Full extract CBD oils can be used by a wide variety of patients with depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease or head trauma.
- One-to-one extracts: These extracts are made from strains with a fairly equal ratio of THC:CBD and they are a good choice for some diseases like: multiple sclerosis gastrointestinal disorder, migraines, cramps and spasms.
- Raw cannabis oil: Raw cannabis oil is extracted without using heat and is not considered psychoactive. Rather, the active compounds of the herb exist in their acidic form. This product is used for those who want to get some of the anti-inflammatory benefits of the herb without getting high.
- Patches: They come in a variety of cannabinoid profiles and concentrations, including CBD and THC, and allow patients to feel the cannabinoid effect for up to 12 hours. The users must be aware of the fact that these patches enhance an already existing situation. For example, if they are very active they will get even more active. This is due to the fact that these patches are topical products which contain carrier agents that help beneficial cannabinoids pass through the blood brain barrier easier. People tend to like patches because they feel a continuous high accompanied by a mild sense of euphoria.
- Lotions: Lotions, balms and oils are a simple way to administer topical cannabis. They are quickly absorbed through the skin, thus relieving pain, soreness, and inflammation. These products are not considered psychoactive, which make them one choice for the patients who want the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the cerebral euphoria associated with these substances.
- Bath Salts: These products are especially used for relaxation or for treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Normally they are infused with extracted THC strains, thus they are also used to relieve muscle pain and tension.
- Acne Treatment: Acne is one of the most common skin conditions over the world. Research has shown that THC can increase the oil levels in the skin therefore, contributing to acne treatment in certain individuals. On the other hand CBD has a different effect, reducing the size of skin imperfections while improving skin elasticity. High-quality CBD oil can also help patients balance their immune system, reduce quelling redness, and alleviate skin irritation.
- Vapor oil pens: Vapor pens are very popular within medical cannabis’ patients or other users, because they are easily portable and convenient. Furthermore, according to studies vape oil pens cause less respiratory problems comparing to marijuana joints. However, for those with some serious diseases, a vapor pen might not give as much relief as full extract cannabis oil.
- Lubricants: THC-infused lubricants can easily penetrate the vulva due to their sensibility. Thanks to that, female users can expect to feel a warm, relaxed sensation in the area.
- Toothpaste: A New York-based company, AXIM Biotechnologies, has developed a line of cannabis-infused toothpaste and mouthwash. This is really promising for those who suffer from chronic tooth pain or other dental problems because of CBD’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. CBD is also a bone stimulant which means that it could potentially help restore damage caused by cavities.