A Brief Breakdown of THC and CBD

If you’re a patient using medical marijuana, you’ve likely heard of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. It’s often measured in testing, along with another main component of cannabis, Cannabidiol or CBD. But what are these compounds? What medical uses do they both have and which should I look for more of when I buy medical marijuana? This is all important information to have going in to a dispensary- it will make your purchase better suited to help your own personal needs.

Tetrahydrocannabinol is the main psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant, often helpful in treating the symptoms of chemotherapy for cancer patients, relieving general pain, insomnia, nausea and vomiting. It also helps increase appetite in those suffering from anorexia and helps ease those with mood disorders. The trichomes of THC are the “crystals” that coat the bud of the cannabis plant.

Cannabidiol is the non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, and strains high in CBD are typically used for physical ailments such as muscle spasms. Concentrated CBD oils and high-CBD strains have been found to reduce seizures. It also helps with pain and movement disorders. CBD also counteracts the short-term memory less some cannabis patients experience when using strains high in THC.

    All strains will have both compounds, though varying levels of either. Some strains have upwards of 20% THC levels, though most tend to average between 10-20%. CBD levels tend be lower in cannabis, high rates in cannabis landing around 5%, though higher percentages can be found in CBD oils and extracts.

    Third-party laboratory testing is mandatory for all strains being sold in dispensaries in Massachusetts, so the THC and CBD levels of each strain should be available when you go into a dispensary. The levels of these compounds are influenced by every step of the growth process from genetics of the plant to the time of harvest. There are many resources available online that you can read to further educate yourself on the matter, and plenty of strain review sites that you can use to find out how different strains have worked for different patients.

    Keep all this information in mind and you should have no problem making an educated decision when purchasing your medicine.

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About Andrew White

Medical Marijuana Activist
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