You may have heard that taking CBD with THC for pain relief may be more effective than just taking CBD alone or THC alone, but it’s a bit more nuanced than that. Here’s what you need to know about CBD with THC for pain relief, the endocannabinoid system, the entourage effect, and what this means for each form of CBD (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate).
While our understanding of the role of CBD and THC for pain relief continues to grow and change with new research, cannabis experts and researchers believe that the potential pain-relieving effects are achieved through several interactions and modulation of the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system, often just referred to as the ECS, is a network of receptors that supports neuronal activity and plays an important role in the regulation of processes and functions, such as sleep, mood, inflammatory response and sensations of pain, and memory. This system performs a range of tasks at different locations in the body but always with the same objective: homeostasis (balance).
When it comes to relief from everyday aches and pains, there are a few proposed ways in which CBD is believed to help out:
The ECS can regulate feelings of pain and the inflammatory response. Since CBD can act as a weak activator of endocannabinoid type II receptors (CB2), it affects the inflammatory response.
CBD can increase anandamide levels, enhancing CB2 action and therefore reducing the inflammatory response.
THC, on the other hand, may relieve pain in a slightly different manner. THC’s high-inducing effects are produced through its action on the brain’s CB1 receptor. But, it also interacts weakly with CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Because of this, THC may relieve mild aches and pains. Although, THC individually doesn’t play a huge role in pain relief when you’re using hemp-derived CBD products because they contain such a small amount of THC (<0.3% THC). However, if you’re taking a non-hemp-derived THC-heavy extract, CBD may help reduce some of the undesirable effects of THC.
The three main types of CBD are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. The main difference between the three depends on which cannabinoids and other cannabis compounds are retained during the extraction process. Here are the key differences:
Full-Spectrum CBD is commonly referred to as “whole-plant” CBD, as it preserves and retains all compounds found in the hemp plant’s leaves, flowers, and stalks. This includes all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. For federally legal full-spectrum CBD products, this includes a very small amount of THC (<0.3%), other cannabinoids, like cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabidivarin (CBDV), terpenes, and flavonoids.
Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum but is further refined to remove the THC (though trace amounts are possible).
Isolate CBD is pure and does not retain any additional cannabinoids.
The combination of multiple cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids is believed to enhance the sensations and potential benefits of a given cannabinoid, such as CBD, compared to when a single cannabinoid is taken alone. This is known as the entourage effect.
In other words, combining multiple hemp-derived compounds, including terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids (like CBD and THC), for pain relief may be more effective than taking a single cannabinoid alone.
A 2015 study revealed that full-spectrum CBD extract was more effective in mitigating an inflammatory response than CBD isolate. The researchers concluded that this is likely due to other components in the full-spectrum extract synergizing with CBD to achieve the desired results.
So, it’s not necessarily true that taking only CBD with THC for pain relief will produce greater potential benefits—however, current research along with strong anecdotal evidence suggests that a whole plant approach, with many cannabis compounds, may produce these heightened benefits. For this reason, many researchers and CBD experts believe that full- and broad-spectrum CBD products may be the most effective.
At Feals, we’re dedicated to providing you with a better way to feel better. Our full-spectrum CBD oil and CBD mints are made with only the purest ingredients and are designed to help you find balance and feel at your best.
If you still have questions about CBD with THC for pain relief—or just need a bit of guidance on your wellness journey—our customer service team would love to help. Just give them a ring.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.