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  • Writer's pictureDr. Shayla Pullen

CBD, Hemp and Medical Marijuana: Should you believe the hype?

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

As a physician certified to recommend medical marijuana, I find myself frequently pulled into debates about the efficacy of medical marijuana vs. hemp vs. CBD for the treatment of chronic pain. Chronic pain, which by definition is pain that has lasted for 3 months, is by far the most common problem for which medical marijuana is prescribed. It is also fairly controversial. Pain itself falls into two categories: Nociceptive, or pain that results from trauma; and neuropathic, or pain that results from damage to the nervous system or its malfunction. Both types of pain are responsive to cannabis. However neuropathic pain shows more responsiveness to THC the cannabinoid that make us feel “high.”

For clarity, you should understand that hemp and marijuana are both Cannabis. We use these terms as a broad classification to differentiate between Cannabis with minimal THC (Hemp) and Cannabis with more THC (Marijuana). Both products produce CBD. Guess what? The CBD from hemp and the CBD from Marijuana are the same. CBD is the “non-high” portion of Cannabis that works to relieve pain and inflammation. It has gone viral and you can purchase it anywhere. At grocery stores, Groupon, Amazon, gas stations, etc. Ironically, CBD alone has mixed reviews on its ability to relieve pain. Most will agree that whole plant cannabis hemp or marijuana works much better than CBD alone for the treatment of pain and inflammation. The CBD and THC work to reduce pain better together than either alone.

The take home message is whether hemp or marijuana GO WHOLE PLANT!

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