Updated: Jul 15
With the demand for cannabis as a natural pain relief medication is increasing day by day, more people are now interested in learning about the herb. Marijuana contains more than 100 chemical compounds. The two most talked-about ones are—THC and CBD. Both have their own medicinal properties and offer different effects.
Now, the question is—which is better for pain management? CBD or THC? Read on to learn about the compounds, how do they exactly work for relieving pain, and legality in the United States.
What is CBD?
CBD, Cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound, which doesn’t cause strong effects on the brain’s cognitive activity. In other words, it won’t get you high associated with marijuana use.
CBD is obtained in both hemp and cannabis. However, hemp plants contain large amounts of CBD content. Cannabidiol obtained from hemp contains less than 0.3 percent THC, which is legal in many US states.
CBD is available in various forms such as oils, gummies, extracts, supplements, etc.
What is THC?
THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is a major psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It’s responsible for causing high effects. You can deliver THC into the body through various methods—by smoking marijuana or taking oils, tinctures, and edibles.
Tetrahydrocannabinol has a similar chemical structure as anandamide, a brain chemical that controls various processes such as memory, motivation, etc.
THC can help patients with various medical conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, glaucoma, nausea, and pain.
CBD Vs THC For Pain Management?
Both THC and CBD have similar chemical structures as endocannabinoids produced by the body. They interact with the cannabinoid receptors, thus releasing certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
When THC is delivered into the body by any method, it binds to the endocannabinoid receptors, thus activating the brain’s reward system. This, in turn, accelerates the production of more chemicals such as dopamine.
CBD is proven helpful in managing chronic pain, inflammation, and discomfort related to various medical conditions. The compound can be used as a natural alternative to pain medications, such as opioids, which can lead to dependence and various side-effects.
In June 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, a form of CBD, for the treatment of seizures related to Lennox, Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (DS), the two specific forms of epilepsy.
In addition to managing chronic pain, CBD is effective in relieving various other types of pain such as arthritis pain, migraine pain, pain chemotherapy-induced pain, etc.
There’s a wide range of medical studies that show CBD for pain management is effective. Let’s see what researchers have found?
A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine reported that CBD use can help in reducing pain and inflammation. Researchers confirmed that the participants were less likely to experience tolerance issues, thus there was no need to increase the dose.
A study published in the European Journal of Pain concluded that CBD could help in treating arthritis pain. Researchers used CBD-infused topical gel on the rats for four days. They noticed a significant drop in pain and inflammation without any risks.
Which is Better?
Well, it’s hard to answer this question as each compound has its own health benefits. Also, everyone has a different condition, and the compounds don’t provide the same effect for all patients.
Medical experts believe that a combination of CBD and THC can deliver promising effects. Do complete research on different cannabis products, and get what suits your condition the best. Before buying any product, make sure you check the label carefully. It’s good to seek professional help to choose the right THC or CBD products for pain relief.
As per US federal regulations, cannabis is listed among the Schedule I drugs. In other words, marijuana in any form is illegal. Still, the medical use of cannabis is legal in more than 30 states currently. Different states have different regulations for medical patients to use cannabis products.
In many states, marijuana products with high levels of THC are legal. You may require a licensed MMJ doctor’s recommendation to access state-licensed dispensaries.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp, thus removing it from the list of Schedule I drugs. Still, there are some regulations for consumers and CBD companies such as only hemp-derived CBD products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC are legal.
Thus, before you go for buying THC or CBD products, make sure you check the local state laws. If you use marijuana products in the state where it’s illegal or you don’t have a doctor’s recommendation in a medical cannabis legalized state, you may face problems.
CBD and THC are important cannabinoids of marijuana. Both have their own health benefits and work by interacting with the cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system.
CBD products can help people with chronic pain without causing any intoxication or dependence issues. THC helps relieve pain and manage symptoms of muscle spasticity, glaucoma, insomnia, anxiety, and various other conditions along with delivering high effects.
Before choosing THC or CBD for pain management, make sure you analyze your condition and see what’s right for managing the symptoms effectively.
Moreover, you should check your state regulations for THC or CBD use to avoid any legal problems.
Have you ever used THC or CBD products for pain relief? What’s your experience using them? Which is better? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.