Written By Moino
Cannabis, marijuana, pot, weed, grass, mary jane, broccoli, devil’s lettuce, whatever you want to call it, has been a particular area of interest in recent years since it has become legal in many states.
CBD and THC are both compounds that come from the cannabis plant. Both of these compounds interact with receptors in the brain, but their effects differ. Most notably, THC can get you high while CBD cannot.
You may be wondering which is better for your mental health. Well, in a lot of ways that will vary from person to person because we’re all different, and we all have our preferences. But let’s take a look at both, and then I’ll let you decide which one is better for you.
Okay, so cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, has been the subject of many studies recently for its potential health benefits. There aren’t many conclusive studies that have been done on CBD’s effects, and we actually don’t know that much about it. When CBD was discovered in 1940, it kind of fell to the wayside until recently since it’s not the psychoactive part of the plant.
One study conducted at Utrecht University in the Netherlands showed that CBD could possibly have therapeutic effects, but that more studies needed to be done to reach a more accurate conclusion. If you’re interested, you can learn more about how they did the study here.
There are a handful of studies that show the possibility for CBD to help reduce anxiety. One case study found that the use of CBD oil reduced anxiety and improved sleep in a girl with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). See the study here.
One interesting thing you may not know is that CBD has only been certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a pharmaceutical drug called Epidiolex, which can be used to treat two rare seizure disorders.
According to the FDA, CBD can cause side effects such as changes in mood, irritability, and agitation. Here you can find more about what the FDA currently knows and what they’re working to find out about CBD products.
While we don’t know everything there is to know about CBD and its effects on the brain and the body, if you have anxiety (don’t we all), it might be worth a try if you’re looking for a way to reduce and manage it since there have been some promising studies done.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, we know a bit more about since more studies have been done and it’s the psychoactive part of cannabis.
We’ve also been using it for a LONG time. How many years do you think humans have been smoking marijuana (the part of the plant that has the most THC)? Okay, make a mental guess, then I’ll tell you.
Have your number? Alright, drum roll please…
2,500 years! Now, that’s a long time ago! Many people were still hunter-gatherers back in those days.
The oldest evidence of marijuana use was discovered in what is now western China. There’s even evidence to suggest that other civilizations like the Roman Empire used marijuana for medical reasons. If you think history is cool like me, you can read more about the history of marijuana here. It’s worth the read!
Even though we have been using marijuana for thousands of years, only three therapeutic uses have actually been backed by enough scientific evidence. Isn’t that wild? The uses are: to treat chronic pain, nausea from chemotherapy, and muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis.
Studies have shown that using marijuana can be quite risky in some cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) using marijuana frequently (defined as every day or almost every day), and in high doses can sometimes cause anxiety and paranoia.
Marijuana use has also been shown to lead to temporary psychosis and long-lasting mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. It has also been linked to suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and suicide. The association for these conditions is more likely in people who use marijuana frequently and who begin smoking at an earlier age while their brain is still developing. Teenagers are especially at risk.
Okay, big yikes. I know that was a lot of dark information.
I’m no scientist, but I will say as I’m sure you’ve heard before, anything in moderation.
For some people marijuana really does help to reduce their anxiety. It’s all a matter of what feels right for you and checking in with yourself to make sure you don’t over do it.
Okay, now that you know what we’ve discovered so far about cannabis and its effects on the brain, it’s time to decide which is better for your mental health.
Although there’s not much data out on CBD right now, I think the fact that it doesn’t have the psychoactive effects of THC makes it a little safer and a little less risky. As we saw, there is some budding evidence that CBD can actually help to reduce anxiety, while a lot of the evidence shows that THC is more likely to cause it, among other unwanted symptoms.
So maybe CBD is worth a try! And a quick tip- it’s always best when trying a new substance to take it in small doses first to see how your body reacts.
These days there are so many different THC and CBD products available. Let us know which ones are your favorite! And which do you find is better for you, CBD or THC? Let us know in the comments!