There are over 80 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. However, the two most well- known and researched are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Each licensed producer is required to list the percentage of these cannabinoids on their websites and product labels. While there are numerous factors that contribute to the medicinal effects of cannabis (plant genetics, cannabinoid content, terpene profiles, etc.) having a basic understanding of these cannabinoids will help you to determine which strains may best treat your condition. Below is a guideline on how each compound may affect you.
THC is the most well known compound in the cannabis plant and contributes to numerous medicinal effects including but not limited to:
- Muscle relaxant
- Anti nausea
- Anti inflammatory
- Anti spasm and anti tremor
- Appetite stimulant
- Hypotension (lowering of blood pressure)
- Analgesia (pain relief)
THC also contributes to the “high” sought after by numerous recreational cannabis users. This means that patients using strains high in THC should be aware of potential side effects such as:
- Time distortion
- Heightened sensations
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
Patients taking products containing THC should also be aware of its potential to cause impairment. Thus those taking THC based products should not drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of their medication.
Cannabidiol also has numerous medicinal effects including:
- Anti inflammatory
- Anti nausea
- Immune system boosting
CBD may also reduce the “high” associated with THC. For example, each of the following three strain examples may affect you differently, provided the dosage is the same.
- Strain 1: THC 10%, CBD 1%
- Strain 2: THC 10%, CBD 10%
- Strain 3: THC 1%, CBD 10%
Despite having the same percentage of THC in both strain 1 and strain 2 the majority of patients will likely experience less psychoactivity with strain 2 due to the presence of CBD. Cannabidiol may also mitigate the anxiety inducing effects of THC in this case. Patients are also likely to experience different effects between strain 2 and strain 3 despite having the same percentage of CBD. Patients should still use caution when using any strain containing THC.
Take home tips
- If you are looking for something that can be used without a psychoactive effect look for strains high in CBD with little to no THC.
- When trying a new strain document the dosage, the cannabinoid percentages (THC, CBD), the strain name, and anything you feel when using that strain. This will help your health care team better identify which strains are best for you.
- ALWAYS take lots of time to determine how a strain will affect you when trying a new product.
- Not all licensed producers have CBD dominant or CBD only strains. If that is something you are looking for be sure to discuss it with your physician and educator.
- You may use different strains for different times of day depending on the desired medicinal outcomes.
- Your previous cannabis experience will affect how each strain affects you. Patients can build a tolerance to the effects of THC with chronic use.
For an extensive review on cannabinoids and other conditions please visit the health canada website here. If you have any questions regarding THC or CBD please contact us at 888-282-7763 and an educator will be happy to assist you or help you select a new strain or product.