THC or Medical Cannabis? Understanding Major Differences between the Two

If you’ve ever wondered about the differences (or similarities) between THC and medical cannabis, you’re not alone. The topic can be confusing, partly because the two are often used interchangeably. To clear things up without going into details, the cannabis plant has two main compounds: THC and CBD. The former is the psychoactive compound that gets you high, while CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. You can find out more about the latter here. And in this article, we’ll take a closer look at different types of marijuana products and their use cases.

THC: Key Features and Use Cases

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It is responsible for the plant’s characteristic highs as well as some medicinal effects. The compound works by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and causing a range of different effects. For example, in low doses, it can cause feelings of relaxation and improved mood, whereas when used in high quantities, it can cause hallucinations, delusions, and anxiety. Because the compound is assumed to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, it is often used to treat pain and other medical conditions.

Along with the aforementioned benefits, the compound is likewise associated with certain negative side effects. Among the most widely cited examples are impaired memory and coordination. As a result, healthcare specialists recommend using it with caution and only after one has consulted their therapist.

Medical Cannabis: Key Features and Use Cases

Medical cannabis, also known as therapeutic marijuana, is a variety of cannabis sativa plant that is used to treat a range of conditions. While the plant itself contains more than 100 different chemicals, the two most well-known are THC and CBD. In most cases, marijuana used for treatment purposes would not contain the former but would contain the latter which is non-psychoactive and is believed to have medicinal properties.

Therapeutic marijuana can be used in various forms, including oils, tinctures, capsules, and dried flowers. It can also be vaporized or smoked. It is legal in many parts of the world, though its exact legal status depends on the country. Some of its most common use cases  include pain relief, anxiety relief, and nausea relief. It can also be used to improve appetite and help with sleep. While existing studies suggest it can be effective for treating a wide range of conditions, more research is needed to confirm this. If this is something that may benefit you if you are dealing with a long term condition that you seek respite from, it may be worthwhile looking online at how to get a medical card in colorado or another state where it is legalised.

THC vs Medical Cannabis: Differences and SImilarities

To understand how THC and therapeutic marijuana are similar (or different), it is, first and foremost, necessary to clarify that, in some cases, they are, indeed, the same thing. For example, nabilone, which is THC’s synthetic form, is classified as a therapeutic product because it is prescribed to treat nausea. So, to begin with, it is necessary to differentiate between THC-based and CBD-based therapeutic marijuana.

Functional differences

THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, while CBD affects the body indirectly by interacting with cannabinoid receptors outside of the brain. As a result, it is only the former that is associated with the feeling of being “high.”


Because of the psychoactive effects of THC, it is often used for recreational purposes. This cannot be said of CBD-based medical marijuana. The latter, as the name implies, is only prescribed to treat a specific medical condition. At present, its most common use cases involve

  • reducing inflammation;
  • treating anxiety/depression;
  • relieving symptoms of arthritis;
  • managing seizures.

As to TCH, its common uses are mainly associated with

  • boosting creativity;
  • improving mood;
  • increasing appetite;
  • fostering cognitive functions.


THC is associated with a higher risk of intoxication, while CBD-based medical marijuana is not. The latter is also thought to be less likely to cause anxiety or other psychiatric side effects than the former. Overall, CBD-based products are assumed to imply low risks. As a result, it is often the preferred choice for those seeking a remedy for a specific condition or its symptoms.

6 Bonus Tips on Choosing a Suitable Cannabis Product

Now, how does one choose a safe and suitable therapeutic marijuana product? Here are a few tips that might help with this.

Tip #1: Get expert help

First, consult with a qualified healthcare professional who is familiar with medical marijuana. They can advise you on which products may be right for a specific condition.

Tip #2: Research the provider

Make sure you’re buying from a reputable source. Look for products that are lab-tested and come from a licensed producer.

Tip #3: Get acquainted with the product types

Make yourself aware of the different forms of marijuana-containing products such as oils, tinctures, edibles, or topical products. Have a look online at a reputable dispensary like West Coast Cannabis and choose the one that is safe and best meets your needs and preferences.

Tip #4: Study the ingredients

Pay attention to the content of the product. Depending on your condition, you may want a product with higher or lower concentrations of CBD or other active ingredients.

Tip #5: Ensure smart dosing

Start with a low dose and increase gradually as needed. Finding the dose that works for you is important, as using too much can cause adverse effects. As a rule, you can count on your healthcare provider in this regard. They should help you with calculating the optimal dose as well as provide other tips on safe product use.

Tip #6: Follow the instructions

Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label carefully. If you have some doubts regarding safe intake or dosing, make sure to consult your healthcare provider first.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, responsible marijuana use starts with understanding the difference between THC and CBD, as well as between medical and recreational cannabis. Only by being aware of these distinctions can one make an informed decision about using cannabis products.


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