Q: How do I know when to use a THC topical or a CBD topical? Typically, the onset of a topical will occur within minutes and last Similarly, the compounding effects of THC and CBD work together to its euphoric effects, applying it topically won't get you high as it doesn't. THC and CBD both offer unique medicinal benefits. individually, and together, to provide the relief that topical cannabis is primarily used for.
topical thc cbd vs
With the widespread legalization of medical marijuana, many people turn to the drug for a more natural pain relief method. As a natural pain-relief drug, some experts consider cannabis more suitable for your body than the synthetic pharmaceuticals available. The reasoning behind this is that the body can metabolize natural chemicals better than synthetic ones the same way it can digest natural foods better than processed ones.
Synthetic drugs, as with processed food, can create by-products, which remain as harmful toxins in the body, causing strain on the liver and kidneys. Some medical strains of cannabis also provide many health benefits , such as anti-oxidant, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, pain-suppression, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Not only studies, but many users strongly support the pain-relieving properties of medical marijuana in anecdotal reports. Cannabinoids are the active ingredients specific to the cannabis plant, and they are the compounds primarily responsible for the healing effects. There have been 70 cannabinoids identified to date, and there are several others currently being studied, such as cannabigerol CBG and tetrahydrocannabivarin THCV.
They are not the only active ingredients, however, and some estimates predict a figure of over active components in the plant. This richness in active compounds is one of the reasons experts consider it useful for treating several ailments. It is worth noting that THC and CBD also only convert to an effective pain-relieving agent under heat, which is why smoking, vaporizing, or baking it is important.
Without heat before ingestion, their effects may not manifest. However, experts only link THC to the strong psychoactive effect known as getting high. This is one of the primary differences between the two components. THC is the primary psychotropic component in marijuana, that is the component responsible for an altered state of mood and perception.
This effect makes THC attractive to recreational users. But THC also contains strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, so it has shown some success in the treatment of pain caused by inflammation, such as arthritis, and cancer.
THC relaxes the nervous system, which helps in spasm-related pain, such as multiple sclerosis. The altered mental state caused by THC can contribute to relieving severe pain in some cases in the same way medicine uses opiates to treat pain. CBD has received recognition for its anti-carcinogenic qualities.
Clinical trials have proven links to suppressing pain receptors from some of the chemical reactions caused by CBD. CBD has powerful anti-oxidant properties, which also help to support the immune system. Although not considered psychoactive, it can help with the depression, and anxiety sometimes a side-effect of chronic pain. Natural cannabis oil supplements are available in capsule and spray forms, as well as oils, which patients can smoke or consume orally.
Patients should not confuse medical supplements with the synthetic pharmaceutical varieties, which mimic the effect of cannabis but are not natural. A report concluded that there was substantial evidence that hih-CBD cannabis-based products are effective for treating chronic pain. Another, separate study published in in the Journal of Experimental Medicine , suggests that CBD use can lessen both pain and inflammation.
CBD has proven it also can help immensely as a digestive aid and digestive pain as well. Researchers have found evidence, as suggested in Cannabinoids for treating inflammatory bowel diseases: While research involving CBD to treat digestive issues is still in its early beginnings, the experts believe it has the potential to help with all sorts of digestive issues which often come with pain.
Arthritis, which literally means inflammation of the joints, is another condition that CBD oil may be very effective for. While some studies have shown positive effects of THC on pain relief, particularly for cancer-related pain, the side effects, like altered mental states, make it a less preferred cannabinoid to CBD. Although THC is more effective in muscle-spasm-related pain. In fact, it could be wise to combine the two.
Researchers have found that cannabis really is a synergistic shotgun in the sense that all the compounds in the cannabis plant interact with each other. Although the exact mechanisms for these interactions remain unclear, the most effective cannabis-based pain treatments have been found to contain a combination of both THC and CBD.
So, if your laws and regulations allow, go for a cannabis-based product which contains both compounds in good amounts. Just realize that THC can produce altered mental states, which can be dangerous while doing things that require proper hand-eye coordination like driving.
These can produce different medical effects. To complicate the matter, the same product can have vastly different results in different people.
When looking for a natural herbal form of cannabis, the sativa strain cannabis sativa generally has a higher amount of CBD, whereas the indica strain cannabis indica contains more THC. However, due to crossbreeding this is not always reliable. Anecdotal evidence suggests that sativa is more energizing whereas indica is more of a relaxant. Their adjunctive addition to the pharmacological armamentarium for treatment of pain shows great promise.
Chronic pain represents an emerging public health issue of massive proportions, particularly in view of aging populations in industrialized nations. Associated facts and figures are daunting: Particular difficulties face the clinician managing intractable patients afflicted with cancer-associated pain, neuropathic pain, and central pain states eg, pain associated with multiple sclerosis that are often inadequately treated with available opiates, antidepressants and anticonvulsant drugs.
Physicians are seeking new approaches to treatment of these conditions but many remain concerned about increasing governmental scrutiny of their prescribing practices Fishman , prescription drug abuse or diversion. The entry of cannabinoid medicines to the pharmacopoeia offers a novel approach to the issue of chronic pain management, offering new hope to many, but also stoking the flames of controversy among politicians and the public alike.
An effort will be made to place the issues in context and suggest rational approaches that may mitigate concerns and indicate how standardized pharmaceutical cannabinoids may offer a welcome addition to the pharmacotherapeutic armamentarium in chronic pain treatment.
Cannabinoids are divided into three groups. The first are naturally occurring carbon terpenophenolic compounds found to date solely in plants of the Cannabis genus, currently termed phytocannabinoids Pate In , the first cannabinoid receptor was identified CB 1 Howlett et al and in , a second was described CB 2 Munro et al Both are 7-domain G-protein coupled receptors affecting cyclic-AMP, but CB 1 is more pervasive throughout the body, with particular predilection to nociceptive areas of the central nervous system and spinal cord Herkenham et al ; Hohmann et al , as well as the peripheral nervous system Fox et al ; Dogrul et al wherein synergy of activity between peripheral and central cannabinoid receptor function has been demonstrated Dogrul et al CB 2 , while commonly reported as confined to lymphoid and immune tissues, is also proving to be an important mediator for suppressing both pain and inflammatory processes Mackie Following the description of cannabinoid receptors, endogenous ligands for these were discovered: These endocannabinoids both act as retrograde messengers on G-protein coupled receptors, are synthesized on demand, and are especially active on glutamatergic and GABA-ergic synapses.
The endocannabinoid system parallels and interacts at many points with the other major endogenous pain control systems: Interestingly, our first knowledge of each pain system has derived from investigation of natural origin analgesic plants, respectively: Notably, no endocannabinoid has ever been administered to humans, possibly due to issues of patentability and lack of commercial feasibility Raphael Mechoulam, pers comm For an excellent comprehensive review of the endocannabinoid system, see Pacher et al , while Walker and Huang have provided a key review of antinociceptive effects of cannabinoids in models of acute and persistent pain Walker and Huang A clinical endocannabinoid deficiency has been postulated to be operative in certain treatment-resistant conditions Russo , and has received recent support in findings that anandamide levels are reduced over controls in migraineurs Sarchielli et al , that a subset of fibromyalgia patients reported significant decreased pain after THC treatment Schley et al , and the active role of the ECS in intestinal pain and motility in irritable bowel syndrome Massa and Monory wherein anecdotal efficacy of cannabinoid treatments have also been claimed.
The endocannabinoid system is tonically active in control of pain, as demonstrated by the ability of SRA rimonabant , a CB 1 antagonist, to produce hyperalgesia upon administration to mice Richardson et al As mentioned above, the ECS is active throughout the neuraxis, including integrative functions in the periacqueductal gray Walker et al a ; Walker et al b , and in the ventroposterolateral nucleus of the thalamus, in which cannabinoids proved to be fold more potent than morphine in wide dynamic range neurons mediating pain Martin et al The ECS also mediates central stress-induced analgesia Hohmann et al , and is active in nociceptive spinal areas Hohmann et al ; Richardson et al a including mechanisms of wind-up Strangman and Walker and N-methyl-D-aspartate NMDA receptors Richardson et al b.
It was recently demonstrated that cannabinoid agonists suppress the maintenance of vincristine-induced allodynia through activation of CB 1 and CB 2 receptors in the spinal cord Rahn et al The ECS is also active peripherally Richardson et al c where CB 1 stimulation reduces pain, inflammation and hyperalgesia. These mechanisms were also proven to include mediation of contact dermatitis via CB 1 and CB 2 with benefits of THC noted systemically and locally on inflammation and itch Karsak et al Recent experiments in mice have even suggested the paramount importance of peripheral over central CB 1 receptors in nociception of pain Agarwal et al Cannabinoid agonists produce many effects beyond those mediated directly on receptors, including anti-inflammatory effects and interactions with various other neurotransmitter systems previously reviewed Russo a.
Briefly stated, THC effects in serotonergic systems are widespread, including its ability to decrease 5-hydroxytryptamine 5-HT release from platelets Volfe et al , increase its cerebral production and decrease synaptosomal uptake Spadone THC may affect many mechanisms of the trigeminovascular system in migraine Akerman et al ; Akerman et al ; Akerman et al ; Russo ; Russo The glutamatergic system is integral to development and maintenance of neuropathic pain, and is responsible for generating secondary and tertiary hyperalgesia in migraine and fibromyalgia via NMDA mechanisms Nicolodi et al Additionally, cannabinoids reduce hyperalgesia via inhibition of calcitonin gene-related peptide Richardson et al a.
As for Substance P mechanisms, cannabinoids block capsaicin-induced hyperalgesia Li et al , and THC will do so at sub-psychoactive doses in experimental animals Ko and Woods These are all promising attributes for an adjunctive agent in treatment of clinical chronic pain states. The anti-inflammatory contributions of THC are also extensive, including inhibition of PGE-2 synthesis Burstein et al , decreased platelet aggregation Schaefer et al , and stimulation of lipooxygenase Fimiani et al THC has twenty times the anti-inflammatory potency of aspirin and twice that of hydrocortisone Evans , but in contrast to all nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs , demonstrates no cyclo-oxygenase COX inhibition at physiological concentrations Stott et al a.
Cannabidiol, a non-euphoriant phytocannabinoid common in certain strains, shares neuroprotective effects with THC, inhibits glutamate neurotoxicity, and displays antioxidant activity greater than ascorbic acid vitamin C or tocopherol vitamin E Hampson et al These activities reinforce the conception of CBD as an endocannabinoid modulator, the first clinically available Russo and Guy CBD additionally affects THC function by inhibiting first pass hepatic metabolism to the possibly more psychoactive hydroxy-THC, prolonging its half-life, and reducing associated intoxication, panic, anxiety and tachycardia Russo and Guy A new explanation of inflammatory and analgesic effects of CBD has recently come to light with the discovery that it is able to promote signaling of the adenosine receptor A2A by inhibiting the adenosine transporter Carrier et al Cannabichromene CBC is the third most prevalent cannabinoid in cannabis, and is also anti-inflammatory Wirth et al , and analgesic, if weaker than THC Davis and Hatoum Furthermore, CBG has more potent analgesic, anti-erythema and lipooxygenase blocking activity than THC Evans , mechanisms that merit further investigation.
It requires emphasis that drug stains of North American ElSohly et al ; Mehmedic et al , and European King et al cannabis display relatively high concentrations of THC, but are virtually lacking in CBD or other phytocannabinoid content. Cannabis terpenoids also display numerous attributes that may be germane to pain treatment McPartland and Russo Myrcene is analgesic, and such activity, in contrast to cannabinoids, is blocked by naloxone Rao et al , suggesting an opioid-like mechanism.
It also blocks inflammation via PGE-2 Lorenzetti et al It is anti-inflammatory comparable to phenylbutazone via PGE-1 Basile et al , but simultaneously acts as a gastric cytoprotective Tambe et al Cannabis flavonoids in whole cannabis extracts may also contribute useful activity McPartland and Russo Cannflavin A, a flavone unique to cannabis, inhibits PGE-2 thirty times more potently than aspirin Barrett et al , but has not been subsequently investigated. Very few randomized controlled trials RCTs have been conducted using smoked cannabis Campbell et al despite many anecdotal claims Grinspoon and Bakalar A recent brief trial of smoked cannabis 3.
This short clinical trial also demonstrated prominent adverse events associated with intoxication. In Canada, 21 subjects with chronic pain sequentially smoked single inhalations of 25 mg of cannabis 0, 2. Even after political and legal considerations, it remains extremely unlikely that crude cannabis could ever be approved by the FDA as a prescription medicine as outlined in the FDA Botanical Guidance document Food and Drug Administration ; Russo b , due to a lack of rigorous standardization of the drug, an absence of Phase III clinical trials, and pulmonary sequelae bronchial irritation and cough associated with smoking Tashkin Although cannabis vaporizers reduce potentially carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons, they have not been totally eliminated by this technology Gieringer et al ; Hazekamp et al Two open label studies in France of oral dronabinol for chronic neuropathic pain in 7 subjects Clermont-Gnamien et al and 8 subjects Attal et al , respectively, failed to show significant benefit on pain or other parameters, and showed adverse event frequently requiring discontinuation with doses averaging 15— Dronabinol did demonstrate positive results in a clinical trial of multiple sclerosis pain in two measures Svendsen et al , but negative results in post-operative pain Buggy et al Table 1.
Another uncontrolled case report in three subjects noted relief of intractable pruritus associated with cholestatic jaundice employing oral dronabinol Neff et al Some authors have noted patient preference for whole cannabis preparations over oral THC Joy et al , and the contribution of other components beyond THC to therapeutic benefits McPartland and Russo THC absorption orally is slow and erratic with peak serum levels in 45— minutes or longer.
Systemic bioavailability is also quite low due to rapid hepatic metabolism on first pass to hydroxy-THC. A rectal suppository of THC-hemisuccinate is under investigation Broom et al , as are transdermal delivery techniques Challapalli and Stinchcomb The terminal half-life of THC is quite prolonged due to storage in body lipids Grotenhermen Nabilone Cesamet Figure 1 , is a synthetic dimethylheptyl analogue of THC British Medical Association that displays greater potency and prolonged half-life.
Serum levels peak in 1—4 hours Lemberger et al It was also primarily developed as an anti-emetic in chemotherapy, and was recently re-approved for this indication in the USA. Prior case reports have noted analgesic effects in case reports in neuropathic pain Notcutt et al and other pain disorders Berlach et al Sedation and dysphoria were prominent sequelae. An RCT of nabilone in 41 post-operative subjects actually documented exacerbation of pain scores after thrice daily dosing Beaulieu Table 1.
An abstract of a study of 82 cancer patients on nabilone claimed improvement in pain levels after varying periods of follow-up compared to patients treated without this agent Maida However, 17 subjects dropped out, and the study was neither randomized nor controlled, and therefore is not included in Table 1.
Part of its analgesic activity may relate to binding to intracellular peroxisome proliferator-activator receptor gamma Liu et al Peak plasma concentrations have generally been attained in 1—2 hours, but with delays up to 4—5 hours is some subjects Karst et al Debate surrounds the degree of psychoactivity associated with the drug Dyson et al Current research is confined to the indication of interstitial cystitis.
CBD ratios reviewed in Russo and Guy , generally approximately 2: Two pharmacokinetic studies on possibly related material have been reported Nadulski et al a ; Nadulski et al b.
Both Marinol and Cannador produced reductions in pain scores in long-term follow-up Zajicek et al Cannador was assayed in postherpetic neuralgia in 65 subjects with no observed benefit Ernst et al Table 1 , and in 30 post-operative pain subjects CANPOP without opiates, with slight benefits, but prominent psychoactive sequelae Holdcroft et al Table 1.
It was approved by Health Canada in June for prescription for central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, and in August , it was additionally approved for treatment of cancer pain unresponsive to optimized opioid therapy.
Sativex effects commence in 15—40 minutes, an interval that permits symptomatic dose titration. A very favorable adverse event profile has been observed in over patient years of exposure in over experimental subjects. Patients most often ascertain an individual stable dosage within 7—10 days that provides therapeutic relief without unwanted psychotropic effects often in the range of 8—10 sprays per day.
In a Phase II double-blind crossover study of intractable chronic pain Notcutt et al in 24 subjects, visual analogue scales VAS were 5. During that time, there was no escalation of dose indicating an absence of tolerance to the preparation. Similarly, no withdrawal effects were noted in a subset of patients who voluntarily stopped the medicine abruptly.
Upon resumption, benefits resumed at the prior established dosages. In a Phase II double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, 5-week study of 56 rheumatoid arthritis patients with Sativex Blake et al , employed nocturnal treatment only to a maximum of 6 sprays per evening In a study of spinal injury pain, NRS of pain were not statistically different from placebo, probably due to the short duration of the trial, but secondary endpoints were clearly positive Table 1.
Finally, in an RCT of intractable lower urinary tract symptoms in MS, accompanying pain in affected patients was prominently alleviated Table 1. Common adverse events AE of Sativex acutely in RCTs have included complaints of bad taste, oral stinging, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea or fatigue, but do not generally necessitate discontinuation, and prove less common over time.
While there have been no head-to-head comparative RCTs of Sativex with other cannabinoid agents, certain contrasts can be drawn. Sativex Rog et al and Marinol Svendsen et al have both been examined in treatment of central neuropathic pain in MS, with comparable results Table 1. However, adverse events were comparable or greater with Marinol than with Sativex employing THC dosages some 2.
Similarly, while Sativex and smoked cannabis have not been employed in the same clinical trial, comparisons of side effect profiles can be made on the basis of SAFEX studies of Sativex for over a year and up to several years in MS and other types of neuropathic pain Russo b ; Wade et al , and government-approved research programs employing standardized herbal cannabis from Canada for chronic pain Lynch et al and the Netherlands for general conditions Janse et al ; Gorter et al over a period of several months or more.
As is evident in Figure 2 Figure 2 , all adverse events are more frequently reported with herbal cannabis, except for nausea and dizziness, both early and usually transiently reported with Sativex see Russo b for additional discussion. Comparison of adverse events AE encountered with long term therapeutic use of herbal cannabis in the Netherlands Janse et al ; Gorter et al and Canada Lynch et al , vs that observed in safety-extension SAFEX studies of Sativex oromucosal spray Russo ; Wade et al Phytocannabinoids are lipid soluble with slow and erratic oral absorption.
While cannabis users claim that the smoking of cannabis allows easy dose titration as a function of rapid onset, high serum levels in a short interval inevitably result. This quick onset is desirable for recreational purposes, wherein intoxication is the ultimate goal, but aside from paroxysmal disorders eg, episodic trigeminal neuralgia or cluster headache attack , such rapid onset of activity is not usually necessary for therapeutic purposes in chronic pain states.
The vast majority of subjects in Sativex clinical trials do not experience psychotropic effects outside of initial dose titration intervals Figure 2 and most often report subjective intoxication levels on visual analogue scales that are indistinguishable from placebo, in the single digits out of Wade et al Thus, it is now longer tenable to claim that psychoactive effects are a necessary prerequisite to symptom relief in the therapeutic setting with a standardized intermediate onset cannabis-based preparation.
Intoxication has remained a persistent issue in Marinol usage Calhoun et al , in contrast. Recent controversies have arisen in relation to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAID , with concerns that COX-1 agents may provoke gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding, and COX-2 drugs may increase incidents of myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accidents Fitzgerald ; Topol Frequent questions have been raised as to whether psychoactive drugs may be adequately blinded masked in randomized clinical trials.
Internal review and outside analysis have confirmed that blinding in Sativex spasticity studies has been effective Clark and Altman ; Wright Sativex and its placebo are prepared to appear identical in taste and color. Great public concern attends recreational cannabis usage and risks of dependency. The addictive potential of a drug is assessed on the basis of five elements: Drug abuse liability DAL is also assessed by examining a drug's rates of abuse and diversion.
US Congress placed cannabis in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in , with drugs categorized as addictive, dangerous, possessing severe abuse potential and no recognized medical value. Marinol was placed in Schedule II, the category for drugs with high abuse potential and liability to produce dependency, but certain recognized medical uses, after its FDA approval in Marinol was reassigned to Schedule III in , a category denoting a lesser potential for abuse or lower dependency risk after documentation that little abuse or diversion Calhoun et al had occurred.
Nabilone was placed and has remained in Schedule II since The degree to which a drug is reinforcing is determined partly by the by the rate of its delivery to the brain Samaha and Robinson Sativex has effect onset in 15—40 minutes, peaking in a few hours, quite a bit slower than drugs of high abuse potential.
It has been claimed that inclusion of CBD diminishes psychoactive effects of THC, and may lower potential drug abuse liability of the preparation see Russo b for discussion. Prior studies from Sativex clinical trials do not support the presence reinforcement or euphoria as problems in administration Wade et al Certain facets of acute cannabinoid exposure, including tachycardia, hypothermia, orthostatic hypotension, dry mouth, ocular injection, intraocular pressure decreases, etc.
No dose tolerance to the therapeutic effects of Sativex has been observed in clinical trials in over patient-years of administration. Additionally, therapeutic efficacy has been sustained for several years in a wide variety of symptoms; SAFEX studies in MS and peripheral neuropathic pain, confirm that Sativex doses remain stable or even decreased after prolonged usage Wade et al , with maintenance of therapeutic benefit and even continued improvement.
In more severe cases of pain, itchiness and inflammation, a CBD dominant topical may be more effective than a THC prepared topical product. Potency of the topical may also play a role in the effectiveness of the topical for symptom relief.
Currently there are no human studies that have evaluated dosage and concentration of topical cannabinoids. As with most cannabis products, some exploration will occur. Not surprising, many patients are using topical cannabis to relieve pain, itching, inflammation, and burning of the skin. Skin related conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis can be effectively treated with topical cannabis.
Pain is more difficult to treat with a topical application. Depending on the type of pain and location, a topical application of cannabis may only provide limited relief, if any relief at all. Topical cannabis has been shown to help with arthritic pain in the hands, ankles, neck and shoulders.
Pain from spinal stenosis, sciatica or neuropathy is less likely to respond to a topical. Chronic pain that is deep and constant will benefit from treating it systemically rather than topically.
CBD vs. THC Topicals – What’s The Difference?
Both THC and CBD contribute to the positive effects associated with marijuana. after the animals were given a topical gel that contained CBD for four days. Cannabis As A Topical For Burns And Wounds The most common is CBD, which does not contain any of the psychoactive properties that. CBD and THC Topical products from Pure Ratios deliver a unique way to medicate that include Salves, Roll-on, and Lip Balms.