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Is CBD Effective Without THC?

Is CBD Effective Without THC?

Is CBD effective without THC? According to many THC advocates or bud tenders you may speak to at your local dispensary, CBD needs to be activated by THC or it is only really effective if there’s THC present in the tincture, edible or other delivery system you’re using.

Is this actually true?

There are some people who have had life-changing improvements in quality of life from using CBD products alone, or from using THC products alone. Others claim that a combination of cannabinoids is the only way they find true relief. In this article, we explore why people may be having these different experiences – and how you can decide what the best options are for you.

How CBD Works Vs How THC Works

How CBD and THC work

What is known about CBD and THC is that both molecules act on totally different nerve receptors in totally different parts of the brain and the body.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is psychoactive, and is identified by a different part of the brain than cannabidiol (or CBD) does. Both compounds interact with the endocannabinoid system, but on different endocannabinoid receptors.

Despite this, data does point to the existence of an “entourage effect” – essentially the idea that all of the cannabinoids and terpenes present in a specific strain amplify the therapeutic effects of the plant when consumed together. Read more about that HERE.

While the Entourage Effect is real, CBD on its own (for example, in isolate form) absolutely does have beneficial effects, without the need for THC. Currently, the only approved use of CBD by the Food and Drug Administration is in the form of Epidiolex, which is a pure CBD tincture prescribed to treat two specific types of juvenile epilepsy.

Since the Farm Bill passed in 2018 allowing for nationwide distribution of CBD, many people have become more educated about hemp-derived CBD, and have learned that while CBD and THC are found in the same plants, these compounds do different things and have many different uses – but are also magical when used together.

Why Some May Believe That THC Is Needed For CBD To Work

To explore this topic further, let’s use pain relief as an example – one of several popular uses of cannabis. People take CBD for pain relief, and are known to consume marijuana for this purpose as well. That’s because they both absolutely work! Just in different ways. Consuming them together for pain may be extremely effective – but not necessary. We always recommend experimenting to learn what works best for your own body – everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different!

THC activates certain cannabinoid receptors, one of which is in the nerve cells and the other is in the immune cells. When it activates the receptors in the nerve cells, it reduces the sensation of pain. As an added benefit, the high or euphoria sometimes experienced by THC can help to numb the sensation of pain, or help with coping and pain tolerance.

On the other hand, CBD is a powerful inflammation fighter. Inflammation in our bodies is often a cause of musculoskeletal pain, so CBD offers relief. This can be experienced “full body” when ingested or vaped, or if you have an acute area of pain you can apply an extra strength CBD lotion (or THC lotion – or ratio!); because we have an endocannabinoid system in our skin, the cannabinoids can interact topically for relief. From the National Institute of Health: “Cannabinoids exert anti-inflammatory effects in skin, through both their actions on keratinocyte cytokine production and their modulation of immune cells.”

In summary, THC and CBD are both effective for pain in different ways, – and while they’re wonderful when used together, they can absolutely be used on their own as well. So if you don’t have access to a dispensary in your state, no need to fear! You can still find effective cannabis products online from CBD brands like TribeTokes that ship to all 50 states.


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