Everyone is using cannabis today whether it’s CBD facials, an occasional edible to aid sleeplessness, or a social toke up at a party. It’s common now and highly recommended. Why such an influx in its ever-growing popularity? One by one states are changing laws in favor of cannabis and hemp use and cultivation, and CBD is popping up at Walgreens and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Increased availability and accessibility support more users and awareness. It also helps destigmatize cannabis. More importantly then availability, people are attesting to and understanding the medical benefits of the plant. From decreasing seizure activity and relieving pain to clearing eczema and psoriasis, people everywhere have benefited.

Then who should be getting high, taking CBD, or maintaining a regimen of both? First, let’s understand the difference between CBD and THC. Both are medicinally beneficial cannabinoids and, simply defined, one gives you a head high (THC) and one doesn’t (CBD). Some people need to get high and most of those people know they do. People needing to stimulate their appetite, people in severe pain, and people with insomnia or depression are just a few benefitting from THC. Is THC ever contraindicated for medicinal use? THC has been known to affect the growing brain and is often not recommended to children and pregnant women unless the risks out way the benefits. In these cases, safely administer appropriate doses with caution and understanding. THC also has a few minimal side effects that may not agree with everyone. People suffering from anxiety or PTSD may not prefer THC, especially high sativas, in their cannabis regimen due to the potential side effect of paranoia, but many PTSD and anxiety disorder patients greatly benefit. The best way for a first-time cannabis user to determine the therapeutic effect is to microdose cannabis building up a tolerance very low and slow. Micro dosing is ingesting 2.5-5 mg of THC on a routine basis or as needed and increasing the dose slowly over time as tolerated. Micro dosing may be done using any form of cannabis, or you may alternate the products you choose.

Now let’s talk about internally ingesting CBD, cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is one of hundreds of naturally occurring cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. CBD works within the Endocannabinoid System, the largest receptor signaling system in the human body and facilitates systematic balance within the body. Basically, what all this means is CBD can work in a multitude of different ways throughout your body to repair and treat a multitude of symptoms. CBD reduces inflammation, alleviates pain and sleeplessness, decreases seizure activity, treats symptoms of autoimmune disorders, alleviates inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, and promotes bone growth. CBD offers a neuroprotection quality that helps alleviate and prevent traumatic injury. CBD can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression and the list goes on and on. CBD’s medicinal benefits are greater and broader than THC and can be used in combination with THC. In many cases, combining the two is the greatest therapeutic effect. CBD is not contraindicated for anyone, young and old, and almost everyone can benefit from a routine CBD regimen. Reporting CBD use to your physician(s) is recommended especially if using in conjunction with prescribed medication.

CBD is recommended to be taken daily in doses that are usually higher than THC. CBD dosing may be between 5-100 mg daily depending on the age, weight, and symptoms of the person. Increased dosing over 100 mg may occasionally be necessary for symptom control in times of exacerbation. A CBD dose may be given at one single dose or through several small doses throughout the day, depending on the person’s preference and symptom management. THC is best dosed in small frequent doses, and doses usually range from 2.5-25 mg/dose. Recommended THC doses don’t usually exceed 25 mg at a given dose-related to the strong psychoactive effect associated with THC, but the daily dose may reach 100 mg or more. People using both CBD and THC may alternate dosing or take together. Some products combine doses of both, and these are usually in the form of sublingual oils or tinctures. There are no reported overdoses of cannabis and dosing is different for everyone. Safely administering is important for optimal medicinal value.

The next part of determining your regimen is deciding what form of product works best for you. CBD and THC products come in an array of forms. Sublingual oils are the most popular and common way to consume CBD while flower and vape inhalation is the most popular and common way to consume THC. Most of what determines a person’s choice in a cannabis product is preference though there are some points to consider. Edibles are a long-acting form of medication lasting up to six-eight hours but taking up to an hour to take effect. Smoke and vape inhalation is the fastest acting forms, taking effect almost immediately after consumption but only lasting 1-3 hours. Smoke inhalation is not recommended for first-time users that have respiratory complications or are at risk for respiratory complications. Considering dietary restrictions and allergies is another important part of choosing a product. Read product labels and ingredients. Depending on taste, symptoms, and preference patients may choose routes that are most appealing to them.

Cannabis topicals are cannabis products created with intentions of being applied to and absorbed through the skin for medical benefits, and I recommend everyone have a CBD or THC topical. Topicals may be salves, balms, lotions, oils, bath salts/bombs or creams. From a kid’s bellyache to a dog’s irritated paw, topicals are a great introduction to cannabis medicine. These are usually combined with other herbs, frequently arnica, which cannot be used internally or on open skin, so check your ingredients and the product’s indications for use. Cannabis topicals are easily absorbed through the skin’s system, they penetrate to relieve pain, decrease inflammation, and promote healing. Arthritic pain, joint pain, muscle soreness, joint inflammation, neuropathic pain, disorders affecting the skin such as eczema & psoriasis, abdominal pain and cramping, headaches, and acne are just a few common uses for cannabis topicals. Topicals may also be soaked into the skin using a bath bomb or bath salt, and many companies are incorporating CBD to daily skin and beauty products.

So is THC for everyone? While having many medicinal benefits, no THC isn’t for everyone. Many either prefer not to consume, don’t like the way it makes them feel, or aren’t able to relate to company policies or state laws. In some states, THC is still completely illegal with no medical cannabis laws in place. Is CBD for everyone? Basically, yes. CBD isn’t contraindicated for anyone and is naturally produced in the body. It is also legal in all 50 states, but carefully choosing your cannabis products is important for medical use. Ask questions and ask for test results. If a company is not willing to take time to answer your questions or provide you with test result information regarding their products, I would go somewhere else. There are too many legitimate companies out there, so don’t waste your time and money on bad medicine.