I saw this posted on my CrossFit coach's Instagram page and immediately felt like I needed to share her experience with cannabis. I know! It's a somewhat taboo subject, but with CBD gaining so much popularity (it's in everything from chocolate bars to bath bombs), and marijuana becoming legal in more states, the topic of cannabis for medicinal use is also gaining steam.
What's the Difference Between CBD and THC?
Before I get into Dani's experience using cannabis, if you're unfamiliar, it's another name for marijuana. To explain it simply, two of the most common natural compounds found in cannabis are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Studies show CBD and THC each act on the brain in different ways.
THC is the component most people will associate with "getting high," but it can also make you feel happy, physically relaxed, and can help with nausea and increase your appetite, which is why people tend to want to snack after taking THC. If you take too much, it can have the opposite effect, making you have hallucinations or feel anxious or panicked. Because of this, in some places THC is illegal, but since it can help with pain, people can acquire a medical marijuana card in order to obtain it legally.
In contrast, CBD is legal because it has no psychoactive properties. To clarify, according to US legislation, it's defined as cannabis that contains less than 0.3 percent THC. People who use CBD usually describe it as feeling calm and having the absence of feeling worried or nervous, which is why it can help with mental health issues like anxiety. It can also help with pain such as migraines.
The percentage of THC and CBD found in marijuana depends on the plant. Some marijuana plants are high-CBD, low-THC, some are high-THC, low-CBD, and some have equal amounts of both. That's why you can see hemp flower (bud) that looks like marijuana (like in the photo) that you'd associate with the weed that alters your mood, but if it's high-CBD (like this bud I vaped), using it in normal doses won't get you high.
If you purchase cannabis products through a trusted website or at a dispensary, you can find out exactly which products are high in THC and which are high in CBD. It's so much safer to use these products because you have a greater understanding of what effects to expect. It's way different than if you get a bag of weed from your best friend's cousin's boyfriend, you know?
Why Dani Started Taking Cannabis
Dani explained that she started using cannabis at the end of August 2018 because of her menstrual cycles, endometriosis, and ovarian cysts. "The pain would be very debilitating. I wouldn't be able to do much," she said. Over-the-counter pain meds like ibuprofen and acetaminophen didn't help with the pain at all.
She then applied for her medical marijuana card as recommended by her naturopath, and that's when she started experimenting with the THC strain of cannabis and blending it with CBD. She said, "It changed my world. There is still pain but it's manageable. I'm not crawling on the floor rolling in pain like I used to."
How Does Dani Take CBD and THC?
Dani has experimented with all forms of CBD and THC and found that different forms (smoke, edible, and topical) help in different situations. For example, if she's struggling with pain and sleep, she would take an edible THC one to two hours before bed, along with CBD in an edible form. Dani uses CBD more than THC. She doesn't use THC every day — just on an as-needed basis — but does take CBD daily. She prefers the THC tincture if possible, and likes to put it in warm chamomile tea combined with CBD tincture to help with relaxation before to bed.
What Are the Benefits Dani Has Experienced From Taking Cannabis?
Dani said that using THC and CBD has helped with pain management from injuries, and has noticed it's helped with her anxiety, seasonal depression, and female issues. It's also helped with winding down and shutting her mind off after a busy or stressful day. Improved sleep has also been a benefit, as well as help with general aches and pains.
What Dani Wants Others to Know About Using CBD and THC
While CBD is more accepted by people, she said people aren't so sure about THC and may still think it's a bad drug. "I think that THC has this stigma that when you use it, you just sit on the couch, pass out, and get the munchies," she said. That can absolutely be the case if you want it to be, but it can also go the other way as well.
Dani has found that certain strains have actually increased her productivity by eliminating discomfort (in her case, anxiety and/or pain). Unfortunately there isn't a lot of research available about THC and the proper dose or strain to use for what ailment. Her goal is to do as much experimenting and documentation on herself with hopes of helping others in a similar situation. Dani hopes that in the future THC and CBD is more accepted by people once they realize all the benefits.
What Should You Do If You Want to Try Cannabis?
Dani is in no way suggesting you go out and try cannabis — she's only sharing her experience. But if you think it might be effective, talk with a healthcare professional about your issues to see if using CBD or THC could help you. It's also important that if you do choose to try it, that you get product from a reputable source, where it's accurately labeled. Start off with small doses and document your experience so you know what you used, how much, and whether or not it helped.
Cannabis Helps, but Here's What Other Lifestyle Changes Dani Has Made
"I know there are other people out there who are suffering with similar things like myself and they might feel stuck or helpless because currently what they're doing isn't working." She hopes that by sharing her experience, it may help someone else. With that being said, she knows THC and CBD isn't a "cure-all." She suggests making other healthy lifestyle changes to support their goals and what they're looking to improve.
To help her female issues, Dani didn't just start using THC and CBD and magically be cured. She said, "I made lifestyle changes as well. I started by sleeping more, dialing in my nutrition, eating a ton of veggies, fruits, and more healthy fats, I started drinking more water, and finding ways to de-stress my body."