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How Does Cannabis Work?

Cannabis works by means of our endocannabinoid system.

All animals have an endocannabinoid system, and it is the largest receptor system in our body, interacting with almost all of our bodily systems, and therefore, interacting with multiple different disease states. The most abundant Phytocannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD. 

THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis.

  • Helps with pain
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Sleep

CBD has no psychoactive components. 

  • Helps to decrease inflammation
  • decrease anxiety
  • decrease depression

THC and CBD work much better together than they do apart. 

CBD helps keep THC in check so that it doesn’t cause those highs, and it helps to decrease some of the side effects that the THC might cause. When using cannabis, it’s always best to err on the side of CBD.  In the cannabis plant, CBD and THC, always have to balance. When one is high, the other is low, and vice versa.  In all the studies that we’ve seen and been shown, around that one-to-one (1:1) CBD to THC ratio is the most beneficial for pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, anxiety, depression – for multiple different things.

There are hundreds of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, each one having their own medical value. For example:

  • CBN – has shown to help reduce anxiety and can promote sleep. 
  • CBG – is an anti-inflammatory and possibly anti-cancer.
  • THC-A – highly anti-inflammatory. THC-A becomes Delta9 THC when it’s heated. THC-A itself is non-psychoactive.
  • THC-V – appetite suppressant. It helps people to lose weight. 

Terpenes are the essential oils of cannabis. They give cannabis its smells and tastes.  There are hundreds of different terpenes that are found in cannabis, and many of those have medicinal effects. When you get them all together, the terpenes along with the cannabinoids, you’ll get what’s called an entourage effect. They all work so much better together than they do apart.

This is why searching for specific strains (cultivars) of cannabis is very important for the desired medicinal effect. One strain might be great for your anxiety, but another one may make it worse. Searching for a specific terpene profile is essential to finding the best medicine for you. With cannabis, you can also have what’s called a carryover effect. This is because whenever cannabis works with your endocannabinoid system, it helps to bring your own endocannabinoid system back into balance. When it does that, it helps your bodily systems work together as designed. The longer you can keep that balance, the longer the carryover effect you can have with decreased pain, decreased anxiety and those types of things.

Have Questions? Post them in the comments below!

Dr. Jason Sims

Dr. Jason Sims is a Co-Owner and the Medical Director of THC2, The Higher Care Clinic. Dr. Sims was the FIRST physician in the State of Oklahoma to speak out in support of medical cannabis. Dr. Sims has now certified over 150,000 medical cannabis patients, in three states, in over three years. Dr. Sims was the Medical Director and Chief of Staff for Cleveland Hospital for more than 10 years, prior to opening THC2 in 2018. He saw an opportunity to immediately begin helping patients decrease their opiate usage, pharmaceutical usage and other addictive drug with the use of medical cannabis. THC2 has since helped over 20,000 patients kick their opiate habit, and it is one of Dr. Sims’ proudest accomplishments. Dr. Sims enjoys live music, spending time with his son and playing Fortnite!

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