Millions of people are affected by chronic inflammation every single day; are you one of them? Despite being so widespread, chronic inflammation comes with few treatment options. If lifestyle changes don’t help, you’re left with medications that can cause all sorts of scary side effects.
Luckily, there’s an alternative – one that’s natural, safe, and growing more popular by the minute. Cannabis and its derivatives, like THC and CBD oils, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making them incredibly popular among people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and more.
In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about using THC and CBD for inflammation, and help you decide which one is best for you.
All About Inflammation
Inflammation has a bit of a bad rap, but it’s actually a natural immune response to a foreign or harmful substance in the body. Acute inflammation, as it’s called, is an important part of the healing process when it comes to injury, sickness, or infection. Unfortunately, inflammation can go from acute to chronic, and that’s when it can lead to health problems. Unlike acute inflammation – which lasts for a few days to a few weeks – chronic inflammation can last for years. And nearly every chronic health condition is associated with high levels of inflammation in the body.
While acute inflammation can result from something like a splinter or catching the flu, chronic inflammation can be caused by genetics, exposure to toxic chemicals, allergens, or a persistent infection. Heart disease, autoimmune disease, cancer, and depression have all been linked to chronic inflammation. Common symptoms of chronic inflammation include swollen joints, redness, muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, and nasal congestion.
Treating Chronic Inflammation
The treatment for chronic inflammation is usually medications like NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and corticosteroids. But long-term use of NSAIDs – such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen – can lead to stomach ulcers, kidney damage, and increased risk of stroke and heart attacks. Long-term use of corticosteroids, meanwhile, can result in high blood sugar, increased risk of infections, glaucoma, weight gain, stomach ulcers, and osteoporosis[i].
With these facts in mind, it’s no wonder so many people with chronic inflammation are turning to cannabis and CBD oils for safer relief. Research shows that cannabis and CBD oil alike have potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits for conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, colitis, and asthma[ii] – and all this with mild, if any, side effects.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties of CBD vs THC
Whether it’s ingested as part of marijuana or isolated on its own, CBD can relieve inflammation from a variety of conditions, including arthritis[iii], lung injury[iv], inflammatory bowel disease[v], and more. That said, while many studies support the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits of CBD, cannabis, and cannabinoids in general[vi], there is less information about the specific anti-inflammatory benefits of THC.
However, there is evidence that THC can reduce pain[vii] and potentially reduce brain inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease[viii]. Additionally, both THC and CBD can reduce inflammation by relieving stress, lowering anxiety, and improving sleep. After all, poor sleep and high stress are both known to cause chronic inflammation.
If you’re trying to choose between THC and CBD, keep in mind that although these two potent cannabinoids have their own individual benefits, CBD and THC are even more powerful when taken together. This is due to what’s called the entourage effect, and it’s the reason why many people experience stronger relief from medicinal cannabis as opposed to pure CBD oil. The downside, of course, is that THC in cannabis causes psychoactive effects, and it’s also a controlled substance, making it inaccessible for many people.
Using and Buying CBD Products
Dosing CBD requires some trial and error, since there is currently no established effective dose. We recommend starting with a low dose, such as 10mg taken 2x daily, and gradually increase every few days until you experience symptom relief.
There’s plenty of CBD products out there to choose from, with CBD gummies and CBD oil tinctures among the most popular and user-friendly options. And it’s easy to buy CBD online – but not all CBD is created equal, so make sure you purchase from a trusted vendor, like Every Day Optimal.
CBD vs THC: Which is Best for Inflammation?
Both CBD and THC are effective for reducing pain and inflammation, but our vote is for CBD oil. It’s easily accessible, requires no prescription or medical marijuana card, and unlike THC, it won’t get you high. There’s also more research supporting CBD’s anti-inflammatory benefits than for any other cannabinoid, including THC; with that in mind, it’s easy to see why high-CBD strains of marijuana are so popular for pain relief.
[i] https://www.hss.edu/conditions_steroid-side-effects-how-to-reduce-corticosteroid-side-effects.asp [ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/ [iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/ [iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22265864 [v] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22163000 [vi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22585736 [vii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23237736 [viii] https://www.salk.edu/news-release/cannabinoids-remove-plaque-forming-alzheimers-proteins-from-brain-cells/
How effective is cannabis for treating pain caused by inflammation?
Research shows that cannabis is an excellent way to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Both of the main compounds in cannabis, CBD and THC, have natural anti-inflammatory properties, as do many of the other terpenes and cannabinoids found in the plant.
How is CBD metabolized when consumed orally?
When consumed orally, CBD passes through the digestive system and into the liver via the hepatic portal system. From there, it’s broken down by liver enzymes before entering the bloodstream.
How can I obtain CBD or THC products without getting penalized?
Depending on the laws in your state/country, you may need to get a medical marijuana card to buy THC and/or CBD products legally. CBD is currently legally available in many US states without a prescription.
How much CBD oil should I CBD?
CBD dosage varies widely based on weight, metabolism, genetics, product, and symptom intensity. Therefore, determining the right dosage requires some trial and error. We recommend starting at 10-20mg twice per day, and increasing every few days until you find relief.
Can I use CBD oil to heal inflammation across the body?
Due to the way it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which involves receptors all over the body, CBD oil may help reduce widespread inflammation.