Those of us who regularly use, smoke, or eat cannabis do so for a variety of reasons. For some of us, it helps with simple medical things like headaches, digestive problems, and stress relief. For others, it helps us manage daily depression, anxiety or allows us to relax and unwind with our loved ones.
By Nicole Flanigan, Muncheez Editorial Staff
Those of us who smoke regularly tend to have our preferred strains for physical and emotional ailments thanks to a lot of trial and error and time.
However, there are still a number of people who don’t know where to begin with marijuana. Some of us have had bad experiences trying to figure out our feelgoods and some of us are simply overwhelmed but so many choices.
For that reason, we want to share a quick refresher on the difference between the two main chemical compounds found in marijuana known as THC and CBD. Both compounds are responsible for a number of benefits for our minds and bodies, but sometimes determining when to reach for each can be a challenge.
THC and CBD - Know The Difference
THC, also known as Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It is responsible for the ‘high’ you get from smoking marijuana. While THC is synonymous with being high, its ALSO responsible for a number of other health benefits to your body as a whole.
CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana. Like THC, it is one of the more prevalent chemical compounds found in the plant, and it comes with its own list of health benefits for the mind and body.
Human beings (and most other mammals) have what is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS runs throughout your entire body and is full of receptors that can bind the cannabinoids (THC/CBD) you introduce to your body to your bloodstream when you consume cannabis. The ECS is the biological matrix where your brain meets your body. Since THC and CBD (and all the other 80+ cannabinoids found in cannabis) are so similar to the chemicals our own bodies produce naturally, they are received and used more efficiently than other synthetic drugs.
THC is kind to our brains. The compound is very versatile and useful to the brain, as it helps with a number of brain processes from our own cognition to its physical health. The key is finding the right dosage. Too much THC or too little THC can actually make symptoms of anxiety or depression worse in some cases.
THC has been accepted as a great treatment option for addiction to alcohol, nicotine, or opiates, as it can actually help your brain overcome its chemical dependency. There are studies linking THC to the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease because THC has neuroprotective properties. In some people, THC is said to also boost creativity, sex drive, and mood, though further study is needed to solidify scientific findings.
THC is good for more than mental health, too. It does a number of things for your body, such as acting as an antioxidant in the bloodstream. It treats muscle spasms and tends to make spasmodic episodes shorter and less frequent. Its anti-inflammatory properties allow it to be used as good medicine for chronic pain management. Additionally, THC is an antiemetic and will help you with nausea or vomiting, digestive troubles like Crohn's Disease, and help with your appetite. For this reason, many people undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment often turn to THC to help them manage their pain, continue to eat, feel better physically, and stay mentally positive.
Lastly, THC has actually shown that the compound can destroy certain types of cancer cells without harming the human body cells that are functioning normally. The US Government has known for years that cannabis has been an effective treatment against certain types of cancers. It is able to shrink cancer cells and tumors by physically absorbing and “eating” them, or by tricking cancerous cells into killing themselves. Worldwide studies are conducted every day to discover more information about THC and its effect on cancer cells.
For the mind, CBD acts as a neuroprotective and has shown effectiveness in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Like THC, it also helps with anxiety and depression and may make a better therapy for people that experience worsened symptoms by using THC as a treatment option because the high tends to throw people off. CBD helps with mood disorders like depressive bipolar disorder and it offers tranquilizing effects that help the mind relax. CBD is the most effective treatment for people with epilepsy or MS as CBD is known to stop convulsions and spasms in seconds.
On the physical side, CBD has shown to help with almost every part of the body. It can provide quick pain relief or reduce inflammation. It can help you with your appetite or stop you from being nauseous or vomiting. In some cases, it can treat certain skin conditions topically, like psoriasis or acne. It keeps your heart and metabolism moving and can prevent artery blockages. It repairs bones, stimulates the appetite, and can kill certain types of cancers. It really does so much good for the body that many people take CBD as a daily supplement to keep the body healthy without having to be high.
Things to Know Before You Go
The percentage of THC and CBD in any strain will let you know how you’ll feel on the strain and what kind of relief you will get. There are numerous benefits for each compound so it’s of the utmost importance that you keep them both in mind while shopping at a dispensary. An experienced budtender will help you choose a good strain and THC: CBD ratio to help you with your individual needs.
When you should choose a strain high in THC:
A strain is often higher in THC than CBD. Any strain with anything over 20% THC is going to give you the benefits you’re looking for. Reach for a cannabis strain high in THC if you want to experience:
- Mental relief
- Euphoric, happy, or high state of mind
- Pain relief
- Reduced anger or aggression
- Increased sex drive
- Stomach or headache relief
- Preventative health measures
When to choose CBD:
Some people just don’t like getting high. If you suffer from anxiety or can’t consume THC for personal or professional reasons, a high-CBD low-THC strain will work well. If you're new to cannabis completely or if you’re revisiting marijuana after a negative experience, you have nothing to be afraid of with CBD. CBD is also available in pure oils, capsules, topicals, and gummies. Reach for CBD when you want to experience
- Physical relief
- Anxiety relief
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced pain
- Reduced symptoms of PMS
- Reduced symptoms of depression
- Fewer convulsions or muscle spasms
- Feeling sober
- Feeling relaxed
- Feeling hungry
- Acne or psoriasis relief
- Preventative health measures