CBD or THC: Which is better for pain relief?
Today, THC no longer hogs the limelight in the cannabis industry. For several decades, the community was so focused on THC because breeders were growing cannabis plants that could contain as much THC as possible, because all people wanted was to get high. The discovery of the medical benefits of CBD has helped legalization progress, because it doesn’t get you high. On the contrary, a plant’s CBD content could help negate and reduce the high that comes with THC. We also know that CBD-rich strains and products are extremely beneficial in treating numerous illnesses particularly pain, which plagues over 25 million Americans in the country.
The problem of pain is so serious that it’s driving people to desperation in order to find medicine that will eliminate pain and enable them to live a normal life once again. Pain is also the condition behind the opioid epidemic that is crippling America; with nationwide prescriptions of opioid pain relievers increasing to 207 million in 2013 from 76 million back in 1991. Every single day, an estimated 46 people die from prescription painkiller overdoses in the United States alone. However, states that have legalized cannabis have seen an 11% drop in opioid prescriptions, a number that continues to increase as legalization becomes more widespread.
Why The Debate?
But how do you know what kind of strain or product will work for you? Some pain patients find relief from using THC-heavy strains, while others prefer to use CBD-dominant strains. The reason why there’s a lot of debate among these two cannabinoids is that THC can treat pain but it comes with psychoactive effects; and while recreational users love that, not all medical cannabis patients can handle being high.
Despite this, the analgesic (pain-killing) benefits of THC has been scientifically proven, especially because of its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. THC-rich marijuana strains are widely used by patients because of its efficacy in treating certain types of pain, such as fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, cancer pain, and many more. On the other hand, some patients prefer high CBD strains to ease migraines, nerve pain, and more.
But what we know about THC and its ability to treat pain is still in its infancy due to the fact that medical researchers and policy makers still haven’t conducted enough research on the power of this cannabinoid since it gets you high. Additionally, due to its biphasic effect, THC taken in doses far too high can actually make certain kinds of pain worse and for this reason microdosing for pain may be the solution.
For the rest out there who aren’t sure about which path to take, research shows that whole plant medicine is ideal for pain management.
Whole Plant Medicine
Both THC and CBD work to fight pain in their own unique ways within the human body. If you need to choose between these two cannabinoids for treating pain, the answer lies in using whole plant medicine; ideally in a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD.
Taking whole plant medicine enables not just THC and CBD but all the other valuable cannabinoids in the plant to work synergistically to fight pain. Whole plant medicine shows to have the most promise in treating numerous medical conditions including chronic pain. Additionally, it prevents patients from getting too high due to the balanced content of CBD. Whole plant medicine with an equal ratio (or close to it) helps to treat pain while delivering a calm, tranquil, and mildly euphoric buzz that in many cases is barely noticeable.
No matter what the science says, pain patients using medical cannabis will have their own preferred strains or cannabinoids that help them alleviate pain the most. This is because cannabis affects people differently. There are different factors that affects how beneficial a cannabinoid or strain is for you; including gender, biochemistry, tolerance, genetics, health, and consumption method.
If you aren’t sure about what strains to use to treat your pain, experiment with CBD-rich strains, THC-rich strains, as well as those that offer a balanced mix of both cannabinoids. It’s also recommended to experiment with various methods of consumption; if you prefer not to smoke there are also oils, tinctures, edibles, and sprays to choose from. Start with a low dose, then gradually increase your way up until you find that sweet spot that knocks pain right out of the park.