CBD and THC are two of the cannabis plants’ main cannabinoids, and are probably the two cannabinoids in the plant that you’re most likely to have heard of before. But what’s the distinction between these two cannabinoids, and how can they be useful as medical treatment? Read on to find out more.
With the explosion of the CBD market in the past few years, with CBD seemingly being added to wellness products of all kinds and touted as a miracle product across the board, it’s not shocking that many people remain confused about what CBD actually is and what it does.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. It is also the most common non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning its use won’t result in a high as seen with THC use.
CBD primarily works by binding to the endocannabinoid system and activating other neurotransmitter systems like the adenosine, serotonin and vanilloid receptors.
In terms of the substance’s effects, CBD is most well-known for its anticonvulsant qualities. For instance, GW Pharma’s Epidiolex, a product licensed in the US for the treatment of childhood-resistant epilepsy, is constituted of 99.9% pure CBD.
CBD has also had its supposed anti-anxiety effects highly publicised by the media in our ever-anxious modern world, with multiple news outlets widely recommending use of the substance to combat mental health issues.
Aside from the substance’s popularised anti-anxiety effects, CBD is also believed to have potent analgesic and neuroprotective properties.
Another interesting characteristic of CBD is that it tends to counteract the psychoactive effects often associated with THC. This may come as a comfort to many seeking to alleviate their symptoms without the use of high-inducing THC, as it’s now generally understood amongst medical professionals that a relatively small amount of THC can be cancelled out with a comparatively large amount of CBD.
However, despite this promising balancing effect, in each case of prescription, the THC/CBD ratio of the medicines being recommended should be clearly understood, particularly as manufacturers tend to produce several CBD/THC varieties.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive cannabinoid that is highly prevalent in the cannabis plant. In general, it tends to constitute between 12 and 20 percent of the dried content in some strains of cannabis and can constitute up to 25 to 30 percent of the cannabis plant’s content in more potent varieties.
The high typically associated with recreational cannabis use can be attributed to this cannabinoid due to its psychoactive qualities that occur when THC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors. The known psychoactive side effects of THC include disorientation,euphoria, paranoia and hallucinations.
However, while many may be concerned about these side effects, it should be noted that few medical conditions require THC use over and above the use of CBD, so often, patients will start on a CBD-rich or balanced product rather than a high THC one. Typically, medical professionals recommend that patients using a product containing THC should ‘start-low and go slow’ with dosing, as this reduces the risk of any of the adverse side effects stated above.
A high is not all THC is known for though. THC is also known to have many useful medicinal properties. Specifically, we know THC has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, is a muscle relaxant and has anti-nausea effects.
At The Medical Cannabis Clinics, our GMC registered specialists will identify the appropriate cannabis medicine care plan and products for patients following a comprehensive assessment which includes an in-depth evaluation of the main symptoms being targeted, current medications, pattern of symptoms and lifestyle factors such as safety-sensitive occupations. They will also monitor and adjust the medication on a regular basis to ensure the best effect with fewest side effects. There is also a carefully designed process in place to monitor patients’ wellbeing, with follow-up appointments after a week and then every month, for three months after receiving a prescription.
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