Medical Marijuana and CBD: What’s the Difference and How Do They Help?


What's the Difference Between THC and CBD?

A common misconception about the difference between THC and CBD is that THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis while CBD is the medicinal one. While everything about that understanding is true, it’s only half the story to describe THC as psychoactive since THC is actually a big reason why medical marijuana is medicinal. The major difference between THC and CBD, aside from psychoactivity, is what medicinal properties each of these cannabinoids has to offer.

THC for More Than Getting High

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a key component in medical marijuana. Its medical value is not a new discovery — it’s just been pigeonholed or written off as “the psychoactive one” since it’s the cannabinoid that recreational users require if they want to get high. The reality though is that a synthetic form of THC has been used pharmaceutically for some time now, prescribed to individuals with cancer and AIDS as a way to offset the overwhelming side effects of nausea that they may experience while being treated for their illnesses.

But THC doesn’t have to be synthetic and pharmaceutical to be a medically important treatment, and this is one of the reasons why medical marijuana has exploded in popularity.  Some of the innocuous effects of bud that popular culture associates with being stoned are in fact of great use to medical marijuana patients. For instance, smoking most high-THC strains of bud (especially indicas) can make your hungry; one person’s munchies are another person’s appetite stimulant following a chemo treatment. Another example: the experience of being high can be a real mood lifter, which is great for anyone but medically useful for patients suffering from depression.

Preliminary studies suggest that THC also has potent anti-inflammatory properties that might be useful in treating neurodegenerative conditions. A 2016 animal study found that cannabinoids present in cannabis — especially THC — may help to prevent or slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease through inhibition of inflammation and neuron death.

CBD as a Game Changer

CBD, or cannabidiol, is cropping up in all sorts of products on the market, including vape pens, tinctures and oils, edibles, and even cosmetics. In order to be legal, CBD products that are available to the general public contain a CBD extract derived from the stalks of industrial hemp. However, the most concentrated, high-quality source of CBD is derived from the buds of the marijuana plant. — it’s just that it might contain trace amounts of THC.

While people may focus on the difference between CBD and THC, the two cannabinoids share plenty in common. They both have analgesic, antioxidant, anti-depressant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Using CBD-only products means that you don’t have to get high to reap these benefits. But individuals may seek out CBD specifically for its unique ability to treat anxiety, psychiatric distress, seizures, spasticity, and even addiction to opioids. CBD may also have cancer-fighting properties that can be used as a preventative supplement or complementary therapy.


The advantage of using CBD-only products is clear when you consider that they are accessible and safe for use among people of all ages and won’t disrupt your ability to function completely sober. However, it’s not always a matter of CBD vs. THC. There’s a synergy between CBD and THC that makes whole cannabis greater than the sum of its parts, so when looking to cannabinoids for medicine or recreation, it’s helpful to understand how the they interact with one another. For example, when used together, cannabis was more effective at improving symptoms of ALS than using THC alone.

While CBD potentiates some of THCs effects, it minimizes others. CBD can moderate some of the undesirable effects that can accompany THC — meaning, strains with a more balanced ratio of CBD to THC allow consumers to reap all of the medicinal benefits of both cannabinoids, and you won’t need to worry about smoking yourself into paranoia or an unintentional nap.

Botanika Life offers CBD products made from the finest virgin hemp in an array of innovative forms. Each product is made from all natural ingredients, is non-GMO, THC-free, and is safe for every member of the family. The tinctures and sprays are designed for consumption, while the salvepain roll-on and pain lotion are designed for topical use.

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