It is staggering to know that more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain which includes arthritis, muscles and joints pain, post-surgical pain. Cannabis has emerged as the most preferred alternative to relieve physical pain. More than 90% of the users in Colorado consume one or the other cannabis-infused products to cure chronic pain.
THC and CBD, both of which are natural cannabis compounds, have proven beneficial in such treatments. If you are wondering which one of these is the safest choice for you, this article attempts to get some clarity of the same.
The basics of CBD and THC
Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most studied and impactful active ingredients derived from cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. Although both have the same chemical structure, what makes them unique is the way atoms are arranged in them. As a result, they both interact differently in the human body.
THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana which can make you feel ‘high’. CBD does not deliver such euphoric effects in users but is instrumental in creating a balance in our body. Marijuana is rich in THC, whereas hemp is the primary source of CBD. They activate different cannabinoid receptors in our body, causing different healing effects.
CBD for pain relief
A study conducted in 2017 concluded that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it can effectively relieve pain which is caused by inflammation. Thus it is the best choice if you are trying to treat osteoarthritis and pain caused by nerve damage.
CBD has strong antioxidant properties as well that boost our immune system. Studies also strongly suggest that CBD is highly effective in relieving incision pain which could be the result of an accident, injury, surgery, multiple sclerosis, for example.
CBD molecules get attached to CB2 receptors triggering neurotransmitters in different parts of the body. It not only helps relieve pain but combats the related anxiety as well.
THC for pain relief
THC is predominantly used for recreational purposes as it alters your state of perception along with mood enhancement. But surprisingly, THC’s capacity to alter the state of mind also helps in relieving severe pain and suffering.
Studies have shown that THC has strong anti-analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is helpful in relaxing the nervous system, relieving pain caused by arthritis, multiple sclerosis and even the pain patients experience while undergoing chemotherapy.
Side effects of CBD and THC
Several independent studies have proven that CBD and THC interact very differently with our body when combined together compared to when used independently. During a study, patients experienced up to 30% less pain when they consumed a combination of CBD and THC, and this is known as the ‘encouragement effect’.
While we are discussing the benefits, we should also consider the side effects of these cannabis extracts. THC, because of the euphoric effect it creates, is not suitable for everyone. Regular intake of THC infused products causes increased hunger, sleepiness, mood swings, dry mouth, memory loss and anxiety. THC is recognized as drug and people may easily get addicted to it, which trying to treat pain.
Although CBD does not have any noticeable side effects, it may increase or decrease the effectiveness of certain medicines your doctor might have prescribed to treat other medical conditions.
CBD and THC – Legal Concerns
The federal government has different restrictions for CBD and THC. Because THC causes psychoactive effects, it is classified as an illegal drug, the same as LSD or heroin. CBD, on the other hand, is legalized by several state governments and you can easily buy CBD products in stores as well as online. For it to be considered legal, CBD must be derived from hemp plants and must not contain more than 0.3% THC.
Both CBD and THC have their strong points and drawbacks when it comes to relieving pain. Considering the side effects and the legal concerns about THC, CBD is a more effective, safer and legally approved option for users. If you are new to CBD, you might have to try a few different CBD products before finding the one which is most effective in relieving your pain.