Beginner’s guide to CBD & THC

CBD & THC. You’ve probably heard of them before. But you’ve probably heard about them in very different ways.

In recent years CBD has been heralded as a miracle product that can treat a range of conditions, improve your well-being, give you beautiful skin and even help your pets to stay calm. On the other hand THC is generally regarded as a cannabinoid to be avoided at all costs, as a substance that will give unsuspecting users psychosis and increase their chances of getting schizophrenia. In both cases, we can see media and marketing gone wild, with both spouting unsubstantiated claims to get those on the fence to make up their mind about whether cannabis based products are something they should use or not. 

While there’s a myriad of competing accounts and research studies on the properties and effectiveness of CBD and THC that we could mention and look into, at The Medical Cannabis Clinics we think it’s most necessary to understand some of the basics about CBD and THC so you can determine as much as possible whether the countless articles on this topic are actually legitimate or bending the truth. Read on for a brief beginner’s guide to CBD and THC.

CBD or Cannabidiol 

CBD is the cannabis plant’s second most common cannabinoid, which works primarily by binding to the endocannabinoid system, with its mode of action being through the activation of other neurotransmitter systems within the body. 

In terms of medical effect, CBD is most well known for its anticonvulsant properties. Indeed, CBD is the primary constituent of Epidyolex, a medicine used to treat seizures from certain epileptic conditions that was approved by NICE for use by the NHS last year. 

CBD is also thought to have neuroprotective and analgesic properties. 

One of the main reasons why CBD is being mentioned so frequently in the media is because it’s believed to help people with anxiety and insomnia – two hugely common conditions in our modern world. This is theorised to be because the endocannabinoid system interacts with the neurotransmitter systems affected by anxiety, where it plays a role in minimising the fear response experienced by sufferers.

Research is currently ongoing about CBD’s efficacy in treating various types of chronic pain and inflammation. 

THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol

THC is the most prevalent phytocannabinoid in the cannabis plant as it’s thought to constitute between 12 and 20% of the dried content in some strains and up to 25 to 30 per cent in more potent varieties. 

The high that is associated with the recreational use of cannabis comes from THC as tetrahydrocannabinol is psychoactive. It works primarily through binding to the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, where it is considered a partial agonist of them. 

THC also interacts with other neurotransmitter systems within the body including, for example, the opioid systems. Therefore, THC’s effect on the body is not just through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. 

THC has a number of well-researched medicinal properties. For instance it is believed to be a muscle relaxant and is thought to exhibit anti-nausea, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.

The fact that THC is also present in a number of cannabis-based medicines indicates the cannabinoid’s potential usefulness for treating a number of medical conditions.

One medicine that contains THC is Sativex, a product that contains equal amounts of THC and CBD, which was approved for use on the NHS by NICE back in November 2019. This medicine was specifically recommended by the institute for people suffering from spasticity related to multiple sclerosis.

Another medicine that contains THC is Dronabinol, which may also be referred to as Marinol. Dronabinol is recommended for use by those suffering from nausea and vomiting linked to chemotherapy. It’s also used to treat a loss of appetite and encourage weight gain in those who have developed AIDS.

We only recommend taking cannabis-based products following a consultation with a medical professional, and do not advise patients on the recreational use of any cannabis-based products. 

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 the 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.

To register for treatment with our specialists click here

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