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People looking to apply for a Medical Marijuana Card don’t generally draw a distinction between CBD and THC. Once a card is issued however, the differences between the two become particularly important.

We encourage patients to talk with a Qualified Medical Provider (QMP) about the many types of Medical Marijuana products that are available to them. This should definitely include a discussion about the differences between CBD and THC. To that end, this post will address some of those differences (but should not be construed as medical advice). We encourage you to talk to your doctor in more detail.

How They Are Similar

Before getting to the differences, let’s talk about what CBD and THC share.  For starters, CBD and THC are cannabinoids that you can find in the cannabis sativa plant. Not sure what a cannabinoid is? To keep it simple, cannabinoids are the chemicals in the cannabis plant that make it medically useful.

In fact, THC and CBD have really similar molecular structures. Both have 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The way the atoms are arranged determines how the brain reacts to THC and CBD. Knowing this is helpful to QMPs trying to figure out which Medical Cannabis products to recommend to their patients

Effects of the Compounds

Moving on to the differences, the most well-known and drastic difference between CBD and THC is the level of psychoactivity a patient might experience. While both are psychoactive, CBD typically doesn’t induce a “head high” or euphoric feeling. THC does.

One of the best things about marijuana, as a medical therapy, is that its effectiveness doesn’t necessarily require the head high. Unfortunately, this is also one of the most misunderstood aspects of Medical Cannabis. Recommending Medical Marijuana is all about making sure you get symptom relief – whether you use a THC or CBD product.

Uses of the Compounds

CBD and THC have different uses when it comes to medical treatment, a lot of which can be chalked up to the psychoactivity in the brain. CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is good for treating seizure disorders, inflammation, and pain. Many people have success using CBD to treat disorders like:

  • migraine
  • mental disorders (including depression and anxiety)
  • inflammatory bowel disease and nausea.

THC is also recommended for patients dealing with chronic pain. In addition, it’s recommended for:

  • glaucoma
  • chronic insomnia
  • muscle spasms
  • anxiety
  • loss of appetite

These aren’t official medical recommendations. Ultimately, it’s up to patients and their QMPs to find their “just right” dose. If a patient tries a straight CBD product and it’s not working for them, their QMP may recommend a product with a bit more THC, depending on that patient’s tolerance, history, and condition. Always meet with a medical provider before administering Medical Cannabis for the best results.

Side Effects of the Compounds

Another interesting difference between CBD and THC are the side effects of each. These aren’t long term side effects, and if a patient is experiencing one of them, it’s important to note that each of these are temporary.

In terms of CBD, side effects include:

  • fatigue
  • changes in appetite
  • weight loss
  • dizziness

The most common side effects of THC are:

  • anxiety
  • temporary memory loss
  • lack of coordination
  • increased heart rate
  • impaired reaction
  • eye redness
  • dry mouth

Though THC and CBD both come from the cannabis sativa plant, they affect the brain differently and treat conditions in a variety of different ways. The best way to find out which is right for you is to meet with a QMP with extensive cannabis training to come up with a treatment plan together. Our affiliated clinic, Utah Therapeutic Health Center, has over 20 QMPs to choose from and three locations across the valley. Reserve an appointment today, and comment below with any questions you may have. We’d love to help you feel better.

Wondering what else you need to know about getting a Medical Marijuana Card? Feel welcome to reach out to us or visit our clinics. We’re always excited to help!

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