CBD Oil vs. Medical Cannabis: Which One is Right for You?

Cannabis vs CBD oil, how to decide which is right for you.

David Johnson

6/5/20238 min read

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When it comes to finding relief from pain, anxiety, or other medical issues, many people are turning to either medical cannabis or CBD oil. But which one is right for you? It can be difficult to decide, so understanding the differences between medical cannabis and CBD oil is key. Medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, is the use of cannabis and its components, primarily THC and CBD, for medical purposes. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments including pain, nausea, and inflammation.


What is Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, is a plant-based medication that is prescribed to treat a range of medical conditions. It comes from the Cannabis sativa plant and contains various compounds called cannabinoids, which are believed to have therapeutic properties. Medical cannabis is used to alleviate symptoms associated with a wide variety of ailments, such as chronic pain, anxiety, seizures, nausea, and muscle spasms. Unlike recreational marijuana, medical cannabis is only available with a prescription from a doctor and is subject to strict regulations and oversight by government authorities.


What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is a type of extract that comes from the cannabis plant. Unlike medical marijuana, CBD oil is derived specifically from the hemp plant, which is low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound responsible for the "high" associated with marijuana. Instead, CBD oil contains high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), which has been found to have a range of potential health benefits without the mind-altering effects of THC. CBD oil is often used for its calming effects, and has been found to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. It's important to note that while CBD oil is derived from cannabis, it is not the same as medical marijuana, and should not be used as a replacement for medical treatment without the guidance of a healthcare professional.


The Differences Between Medical Cannabis and CBD Oil

While both medical cannabis and CBD oil are derived from the same plant, they are not the same thing. The main difference lies in the compounds that they contain.

Medical cannabis, also known as marijuana, contains the compound THC, which is responsible for the psychoactive effects that people associate with the drug. This means that medical cannabis can produce a high, and is used for both medical and recreational purposes.

On the other hand, CBD oil is derived from hemp plants, which contain less than 0.3% THC, making it non-psychoactive. CBD oil is used for medical purposes only and does not produce a high.

The main difference between medical cannabis and CBD oil is the amount of THC they contain. While medical cannabis has a higher concentration of THC, CBD oil contains very low amounts or none at all.

Because of the difference in THC content, medical cannabis is highly regulated and only available in states that have legalized its use. CBD oil, on the other hand, is available in many states and can be purchased online or in stores.

It is important to note that both medical cannabis and CBD oil have their own benefits and uses. It is up to each individual to determine which option is right for them based on their specific needs and preferences.


Benefits of Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis has been found to have a variety of potential health benefits, particularly for individuals suffering from certain medical conditions. Here are some of the potential benefits of using medical cannabis:

1. Pain relief: One of the most well-known benefits of medical cannabis is its ability to help relieve pain. It has been found to be effective in managing pain associated with conditions like cancer, neuropathic pain, and chronic pain.

2. Reduces inflammation: Medical cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. This can be particularly helpful for individuals suffering from conditions like Crohn's disease or rheumatoid arthritis.

3. Improves sleep: Medical cannabis can also be helpful for individuals who struggle with sleep. It can help improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.

4. Reduces anxiety: Some individuals have found that medical cannabis can help reduce anxiety levels. It can be helpful for individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders or PTSD.

5. Treats nausea and vomiting: Medical cannabis has also been found to be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatments or other medical conditions.

6. Can help with seizures: Medical cannabis has been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures in individuals with epilepsy.

While medical cannabis may offer a variety of potential health benefits, it's important to note that the use of medical cannabis should always be under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Additionally, it's important to be aware of potential side effects and risks associated with its use.


Benefits of CBD Oil

CBD oil has been hailed by many as a natural remedy for various ailments and conditions. Here are some of the benefits that you can get from using CBD oil:

1. Relieves Pain and Inflammation: CBD oil has been found to be effective in reducing chronic pain and inflammation. This is because CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, which regulates pain and inflammation.

2. Reduces Anxiety and Depression: CBD oil has been found to be an effective treatment for anxiety and depression. This is because CBD interacts with the brain's receptors that regulate mood and emotion.

3. Improves Sleep: CBD oil has been found to be an effective treatment for insomnia. This is because CBD interacts with the brain's receptors that regulate sleep.

4. Reduces Seizures: CBD oil has been found to be an effective treatment for seizures. This is because CBD interacts with the brain's receptors that regulate seizures.

5. Helps with Addiction: CBD oil has been found to be an effective treatment for addiction. This is because CBD interacts with the brain's receptors that regulate addiction.

6. Promotes Heart Health: CBD oil has been found to be beneficial for heart health. This is because CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce high blood pressure.

7. Has Antipsychotic Effects: CBD oil has been found to have antipsychotic effects. This is because CBD interacts with the brain's receptors that regulate psychosis.

CBD oil is a natural and effective remedy for various ailments and conditions. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using CBD oil, especially if you are currently taking any medications.


Side Effects of Medical Cannabis

While medical cannabis can offer many potential benefits, it's important to also be aware of potential side effects that may come along with its use. Some common side effects of medical cannabis include:

1. Dizziness and lightheadedness: Cannabis can affect your blood pressure and cause you to feel lightheaded or dizzy.

2. Dry mouth: Medical cannabis use can cause a dry mouth, which can lead to issues with dehydration, dental issues, and more.

3. Increased heart rate: Cannabis can increase your heart rate, which may be a concern for individuals with heart conditions or high blood pressure

4. Fatigue: Medical cannabis can cause drowsiness, making it important to be cautious when operating machinery or driving.

5. Changes in appetite: Some people experience an increased appetite, known as the "munchies," while using medical cannabis.

6. Memory and cognitive impairment: Cannabis can impact your short-term memory and cognitive function, making it harder to concentrate and retain information.

7 Respiratory issues: Smoking medical cannabis can irritate the lungs and cause respiratory problems, particularly for individuals with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

As with any medication, it's important to weigh the potential benefits against the possible risks. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider and consider starting with a low dose of medical cannabis to see how it affects you.


Side Effects of CBD Oil

As with any medication or supplement, there are potential side effects associated with using CBD oil. However, research has shown that the side effects of CBD oil are typically mild and not severe. Some of the common side effects include:

1. Drowsiness: CBD oil has a calming effect on the body, which can cause drowsiness or fatigue. If you’re taking CBD oil for the first time, it’s recommended that you do so at night to avoid feeling sleepy during the day.

2. Dry Mouth: CBD oil can decrease the production of saliva, leading to dry mouth. This is typically a mild and temporary side effect, but it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

3. Changes in Appetite: Some people report changes in appetite after taking CBD oil. This could manifest as either an increase or decrease in appetite. However, research on this topic is limited.

4. Dizziness: CBD oil can cause dizziness in some people, particularly when taken in high doses. It’s important to start with a low dose and gradually increase it until you find the right dosage for you.

5. Diarrhea: Some people experience diarrhea after taking CBD oil. This is a rare side effect, but it’s important to speak with your doctor if you experience any digestive issues.

The side effects of CBD oil vary depending on the individual and the dosage. If you experience any severe or persistent side effects, it’s important to speak with your doctor. Overall, CBD oil is considered safe and well-tolerated by most people.


Legality of Medical Cannabis and CBD Oil

The legality of medical cannabis and CBD oil can vary depending on your location. In the United States, medical cannabis is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia. However, the use of medical cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. CBD oil derived from hemp is legal on a federal level as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. However, CBD oil derived from marijuana is still illegal on a federal level.

In other countries, the legality of medical cannabis and CBD oil also varies. Some countries have fully legalized medical cannabis, while others have strict regulations and only allow its use in limited circumstances. It’s important to research the laws in your specific location before considering using medical cannabis or CBD oil.

It’s important to note that just because something is legal, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe or effective for everyone. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment, even if it’s legal in your area.

When considering the legality of medical cannabis and CBD oil, it’s also important to think about where you’re sourcing the product from. Always choose reputable companies that can provide documentation of third-party testing and adhere to strict quality control standards. This can help ensure that the product you’re using is safe and effective.


Choosing Between Medical Cannabis and CBD Oil

When choosing between medical cannabis and CBD oil, it's essential to consider the desired therapeutic effects, legality in your area, and the potential side effects. For instance, medical cannabis, which contains THC, may be more suitable for conditions that benefit from the "entourage effect" - a proposed mechanism where all the compounds in cannabis, including THC and CBD, work together to produce a therapeutic effect. Medical conditions like chronic pain, glaucoma, and severe nausea or vomiting (such as from chemotherapy) may respond better to medical cannabis.

Conversely, CBD oil may be a more suitable choice for those seeking potential relief from conditions like anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, and certain inflammatory conditions, without experiencing the high associated with THC. CBD oil is also a good choice for those living in regions where medical cannabis is not legal or accessible. Additionally, it's worth noting that the side effects associated with THC, such as increased heart rate, coordination problems, dry mouth, red eyes, slower reaction times, and memory loss, are not typically associated with CBD oil use.

Choosing between medical cannabis and CBD oil comes down to understanding the potential therapeutic benefits, side effects, and legal status of each in your region, as well as your personal health needs and preferences. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment regimen involving medical cannabis or CBD oil. As research continues to grow in this field, we will likely continue to learn more about the benefits and potential applications of these natural substances in health and wellness. Stay tuned to the latest research and always make informed decisions about your health.




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