Pain management is a complex and complicated process, and medical marijuana is becoming a more and more popular and effective choice for many people looking for natural ways to ease their pain. But how exactly does it work and what should you be buying?
Basically, there are three strains of marijuana, sativa, indica and hybrids. The different strains have different effects on the body; indica has a more mellowing effect, while sativa is a more energetic strain that is known to boost creativity. When you buy your marijuana from a reputable dispensary, your budtender will be able to give you more information about the different strains.
The average person who walks into a dispensary may notice that the pot is labelled with the different percentages of THC and CBD. But most don’t know what this means. Basically, both THC and CBD are cannabinoids. The difference is that THC is psychoactive and is responsible for giving you a high, while CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn’t give you a buzz.
In the past most people believed that only CBD helped relieve pain but what budtenders are beginning to realize is that pain management isn’t about THC vs CBD but rather THC and CBD. The two cannabinoids actually work together to effectively reduce pain and cannabis cultivators are now able to extract individual cannabinoids and grow specialized strains of marijuana for medical patients.
What is THC and how does it work?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly referred to as THC, is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. Without getting too technical, when you feel pain, your nerve cells communicate with your brain cells to tell you where the pain is coming from. We all have CB1 receptors in our brain and central nervous system. THC reacts on these CB1 receptors and alters the communication between the brain and the nerve cells, thereby reducing pain levels. The intense high that you experience when you smoke high-THC marijuana strains, like indica, is also as a result of the THC’s reaction with your CB1 receptors.
What is CBD and how does it work?
Cannabinol, or CBD, has no psychoactive effects and is therefore popular within the medical marijuana community. Cannabis cultivators are able to grow plants with high-CBD and low-THC. Alternatively, they can isolate CBD within the plant cells and extract it with no other cannabinoids, giving you pain relief without the high. Like THC, CBD also alters the lines of communication between the brain cells and the nerve cells. But unlike THC, CBD doesn’t just mask pain, it can also decrease it over time. One dose of CBD can remain in your system for three to four days and you will continue to feel the benefits for the entire time.
THC and CBD work to together to provide the most effect pain relief
For many years the debate has been whether THC or CBD works better for pain management, but opinions are changing. The new thinking is that since THC and CBD interact differently with the bodies’ receptors, they will reduce pain most effectively when used together, providing not only short term but also long-term relief.
Today medical marijuana is becoming more and more popular as a natural form of pain management. And it’s not just an excuse to get high, it really does work and has given many people quality of life that they have not been able to achieve using more traditional painkillers and medication. Before using marijuana to treat pain it is important to consult your doctor and ask your budtender for advice on which strain will work best for you.
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