The news these days is filled with references to THC and CBD in a variety of contexts. However, most people don’t understand the differences or benefits that each possesses. Both have the ability to heal different conditions independently, but together, they can work even better in some cases. So let’s dive into cannabinoids for a moment and take a look at each of these amazing molecules.
THC has always been the most famous of the cannabinoids. Its effects are what most people associate with cannabis, the buzz. But THC does far more than simply producing a buzz. It also relieves nausea, appetite loss, insomnia, PTSD and a host of other ailments. THC also has the ability to work with other components of the cannabis plant to alter the experience and effects of THC. Terpenes like beta-myrcene slow you way down and leave you on the couch. Others, like Pinene, provide an energetic experience that tends to be more clear headed. And then the ultimate combo- THC and CBD.
CBD and its relative levels compared to THC in a plant can have a profound influence on the “heady” effects of THC. Plants generally come in 3 basic profiles:
High THC, low CBD (e.g.,10-30% THC, trace amounts of CBD)
Balanced CBD/THC (e.g., 5-15% THC and CBD)
High CBD, low THC (e.g., 5-20% CBD, THC under 5%)
High-CBD strains tend to deliver very clear-headed, functional effects without the high associated with high-THC strains. They’re usually preferred by consumers who are sensitive to the side effects of THC (e.g., paranoia, anxiety, dizziness). A high-CBD strain could also be a great choice for someone needing to medicate throughout the day to control pain, inflammation, anxiety, or other chronic conditions.
Any of the above strains can be consumed just like you would any kind of cannabis. Smoking, vaporizing, tinctures, and edibles are all viable options for consumers. One thing to be mindful of is the source of your CBD. Hemp can provide CBD but it is typically not as effective as that which comes from the diversity of cannabinoids found in pure cannabis. The medical effects of CBD can be profound and have opened the door to a whole new field of research in medicine – the medical potential of the cannabis plant.
Currently, the FDA just cleared the drug Epidiolex for use in epilepsy. This is the first drug the FDA has ever approved that actually comes from the cannabis plant – others like Marinol were a synthetic THC. This also effectively quashes the guideline for it to be a Schedule 1 drug as well- no approved medical uses. This is now no longer true of cannabis, per the FDA. The heart of this new drug is CBD, probably the most medically useful compound of many found in the cannabis plant.
CBD has demonstrated medical benefits for the following conditions –
Epilepsy and seizure disorders
Pain and inflammation
PTSD and anxiety
CBD has recently become a hot topic after the documented case of a child named Charlotte. She had a condition named Dravet’s Syndrome. A devastating condition that resulted in over 1200 seizures a month. Dravet’s is notorious for being difficult to treat. However, a cannabis grower familiar with her condition developed a special strain of high CBD content cannabis which he named Charlotte’s Web. After just a couple of months of treatment with this special cannabis Charlotte’s seizure count had lowered from over 1200 seizures a month to just 3. Nothing short of a medical miracle by any standards. Especially for a non-toxic medication that is not addictive and does not interfere with other medications.
Probably the most amazing thing about CBD is we are only just beginning to understand the amazing promise it holds for medicine. It already addresses a wide collection of ailments and the list keeps growing. It leaves this writer wondering what that list will look like in 10 years after more serious research has been able to be performed. One thing is for certain, cannabis is not the evil, dangerous drug it has been portrayed to be for years. Quite the opposite, in fact, cannabis is one of the most versatile and effective medications that has been studied in the past century.