If you’re not in an area of the world where cannabis use is still heavily stigmatised, it’s often put alongside alcohol in terms of how it affects your day-to-day life. True, many people enjoy cannabis to wind down, relax and even socialise, just like alcohol. True, many people enjoy getting high sometimes, just like many people enjoy getting drunk. However, what it lesser known is that cannabis can also be used simply to improve quality of life, without feeling intoxicated.
Alcohol is referred to as “a toxic and psychoactive substance with dependence-producing properties” by the World Health Organisation; and contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally and is responsible for 5.1% of the global burden of disease. Cannabis, on the other hand, has now been re-classified under an international listing that recognizes its medical value. The WHO’s 41st Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) advised that “certain cannabis-derived medicines like cannabidiol have no potential to be abused or cause dependence but have significant health benefits”. Even previously demonised THC (the cannabinoid infamous for getting you high) has now been recognised beyond a shadow of a doubt to possess immense therapeutic potential, from reducing inflammation and pain to providing significant improvement in Tourettes and Epilepsy.
Although THC-rich cannabis can be used for fun, apparently much more safely than alcohol or any other recreational drug, it can also be used to make you feel better.
There’s no shame in admitting you’ve struggled with the pressure life rains down, and there’s no shame in finding relief in a plant substance. Many people do, particularly in the last few years. But there are dangers to be aware of. Depression and anxiety are at an all-time high, and as a result, millions of people have felt the need for support – whether that’s through therapy or prescribed medication, or cannabis. Plenty of people, not knowing that cannabis is a viable option, have turned to alcohol. According to The Harvard Gazette, ‘scientists estimated that a one-year increase in alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic will result in 8,000 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver disease, 18,700 cases of liver failure, and 1,000 cases of liver cancer by 2040.’
Cannabis prohibition has hurt us all in a multitude of ways, from hindering cannabinoid research to preventing the cultivation of hemp for environmental purposes. But now that legalisation is creeping in, the draw to binge on cannabis is grabbing people from all walks of life. It’s new, it’s exciting, but it’s also misunderstood. Because most people associate cannabis with getting high rather than as a medicine, it’s no surprise that most consumers assume that using cannabis equates to getting incredibly stoned. While this has its appeal, it certainly doesn’t have to be this way.
Cannabinoids, like THC, interact with the endocannabinoid system to restore balance in the body. Particularly when paired with other cannabinoids, like CBD, CBG and CBN, to create ‘the entourage effect’ – when cannabinoids work in synergy with each other.
There’s no denying that taking a hefty dose of THC will get you high, and there will likely always be a place for stronger extracts for those that want to get a serious buzz on. But there’s also room for more balanced blends, like 1:5 THC:CBD formulas and pre-rolls, which are specifically designed to ‘take the edge off’ without leaving you feeling inebriated.
High THC is beneficial for some, and naturally this will produce euphoric effects as well as a grogginess and disorientation that is undesirable to those who just want to go about their day CBD can help balance or reduce the high produced by THC by blocking cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
When you use a 1:5 THC:CBD blend, you’re far less likely to notice a strong high. In fact, it’s not at all uncommon for people to feel focused, productive, calm, and present when using these in combination. CBD is so effective at reducing the high from THC, that if you have taken a lot of THC and feel it’s too much, taking a little CBD oil can help straighten you out (so keep a bottle or vape handy if you’re planning on getting toasted!).
Thanks to cannabis prohibition, much of the focus in both media and research has been on how THC gets you high. Because of this, it’s easy to think that without getting high, your weed isn’t working! However, a THC:CBD blend not only has the potential to provide general relief from the stresses of daily life, but it’s also been shown to work well for chronic pain patients too.
In a cohort of 151 chronic pain patients who used an equal ratio of THC to CBD daily for at least three months, pain impact scores were significantly reduced, and subjects reported improvements in sleep disturbances and fatigue. The majority of side-effects
(included sleepiness, dizziness, and dry-mouth) were categorised as ‘mild’.
For those who find cannabis helps them live a better quality of life, the idea of being high is off-putting. This can lead people who might benefit from regular cannabis use to reach for potentially dangerous (but somehow more socially acceptable) alternatives such as alcohol, prescription opioids and anti-depressants. Because of this, it’s vitally important that those working in the cannabis industry, perhaps especially those formulating cannabinoid products for general consumption, spread the word that cannabis doesn’t have to feel this way and provide a range of cannabinoid products that allow for this.
Are you looking to develop and/or produce an unlicensed CBPM (cannabis-based product for medicinal use in humans)? We are able to support the development of highly effective, medicinal cannabis solutions which create reliable, innovative and evidence-based treatments. Please get in touch with our medical team to start a conversation. If you are looking for a low dosed sleep aide for your medical program ,we would also like to speak with you.
At True North Labs our mission is to create solutions that empower better health!
P.S. Have a look at our article Cannabinoids for Healthy Ageing, where we take a look at Cannabinoid formulations to support healthy ageing. We discuss both THC and CBD for muscles.