Page Updated on Nov 28, 2019 by Dr. Reyfman (Pain Management Specialist) of Pain Physicians NY

When it comes to deciding whether to use CBD vs. THC, the best method is to rely on the judgement and experience of your pain doctor at Pain Physicians NY. They’ve been treating chronic pain and many other disorders with THC since it’s been legalized for medical purposes in New York. CBD has many uses, and it’s now commonly prescribed as well. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of the different chemical compounds produced by marijuana plants. Both chemicals react with the CB2 receptors in your brain. Your CB2 receptors are linked directly to the cells of your immune system to produce medically beneficial effects.

But that’s about as far as the similarities go. When comparing CBD vs. THC, they produce significantly different effects. For this reason, CBD, in the form of oil, is currently more widely used than THC for medical conditions. Your pain doctors at Pain Physicians NY offer both options.

Your NYC Doctor Knows Best

The primary difference between the two is that THC is psychoactive and CBD is non-psychoactive. This medical terminology means that THC produces the euphoria commonly referred to as being “high” and CBD does not.

These sensations are the result of THC binding with the CB1 receptors of your brain and central nervous system. Since CBD isn’t capable of binding to your CB1 receptors, it’s completely incapable of making you feel high regardless of how much you consume. Furthermore, CBD can suppress chemical compounds like THC from interacting with these receptors.

Two Sides of the Same Thing

CBD vs. THC isn’t as confusing as it may sound. THC is the chemical that dominates marijuana, whereas CBD is the chemical that dominates hemp. Both compounds are found in the flowers, seeds and stalks of both plants — and yes, they are actually different plants.

The primary chemical in marijuana is THC. Marijuana plants have been cultivated for the specific purpose of maximizing THC content. The primary purpose of such selective growing, cloning and creating hybrid strands is to develop plants with higher potency that yield much more intoxicating effects.

The primary chemical in hemp is CBD. The THC content of hemp is 0.3% or less. This is almost 10 times less than even the absolute weakest strains of marijuana. The naturally occurring low rate of THC makes hemp the most ideal source of harvesting the CBD compound.

CBD vs. THC and Their Medical Applications

THC works by mimicking anandamide. This is a chemical that occurs naturally in your body. It’s also the chemical triggered by running or exercise to produce an effect called a “runner’s high.” CBD and THC have the exact same chemical formula, but they have a completely different atomic structure.

While both cannabinoids can be used to treat some of the same conditions, such as pain and inflammation. There are certain conditions that tend to respond better to one over the other. Conditions that respond best to CBD vs. THC include:

Conditions that respond best to THC vs. CBD include:

  • Muscle spasticity
  • Insomnia
  • Poor appetite
  • Glaucoma

Legality of the Matter

One key reason that CBD is more widely used in the United States has to do with the fact that it’s currently legal in more states than THC. Marijuana and its primary chemical THC are currently classified as controlled substances by the United States government. The use of medical marijuana is only approved in 29 states, including New York, and Washington, DC.

Since CBD is not primarily derived from marijuana plants, it’s legal in all 50 states. CBD extracted from hemp is considered a dietary supplement. But even if it’s derived from marijuana plants, it’s still legal in 17 more states than marijuana.

CBD vs. THC Pros and Cons

While a great number of people prefer the high of THC, there are some side effects of this chemical that are not shared by CBD. Most of these negative side effects are temporary, such as:

  • Memory impairment
  • Coordination problems
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Red eyes

Some cases of long-term side effects of psychiatric disorders have been reported concerning people who consumed marijuana as adolescents. But unlike opioids, there has never been a case of fatal overdose resulting from marijuana use.

Recent research has concluded that even chronic use of CBD does not result in negative neurological or psychiatric side effects. Some users of CBD vs. THC have reported:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Light-headedness

Both Are Good for Pain

While both THC and CBD are recommended for pain treatment, new research suggests that actually combining the two compounds to create a synergistic interaction or entourage effect may be the best method of treating pain. It may not be a question of CBD vs. THC, but CBD and THC.

Since both chemicals possess unique pain-fighting properties, they can benefit you in different ways. The qualified medical professionals at Pain Physicians NY eliminate all the guessing and misinformation. They work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan to address your specific needs.