CBD—short for cannabidiol—is a hot new trend in the health community. Extracted from hemp and cannabis plants, CBD is one of the hundreds of chemicals that give these plants their power. Many people combine CBD with medical marijuana and use both CBD and cannabis as a part of their healthcare regimens.

But what are the benefits of combining CBD with medical marijuana? And how do people use CBD and cannabis to enhance their health and wellness? Here’s what you need to know.

What’s the difference between CBD and cannabis?

Cannabis contains over a hundred different cannabinoids, which are chemicals that affect the body in various ways. CBD is one of the more prominent cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis plants.

So, CBD isn’t the same as cannabis, but CBD is found in cannabis. If you’re using medical marijuana, you’re already getting a CBD dosage through the marijuana itself. You can even find high-CBD strains of medical marijuana if you’re looking for a specific effect or benefit with little or no euphoria.  Some examples of this in Florida are Columbia Care’s ACDC strain developed from the high-CBD phenotype Cannatonic.

However, CBD differs from cannabis in the following ways:

CBD is not intoxicating

CBD cannot make you feel intoxicated (or, in layman’s terms, “high”). The reason why cannabis is intoxicating is that it contains something called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). If a CBD product has little to no THC, it’s not going to make you feel intoxicated.

If you don’t like the feeling of being intoxicated, CBD might be a better choice than medical marijuana. Many people choose to use CBD during the day and medical cannabis at night, because cannabis helps them sleep better.

CBD is easier to access

The good news is that you don’t need a medical card to get CBD. The Farm Bill of 2018 made hemp legal throughout the United States and effectively made hemp-derived CBD legal too.

Cannabis, however, isn’t legal everywhere. To use medical marijuana in Florida, you’ll need a medical card. If you’re interested in getting a medical marijuana card in Florida, you can contact us today or research medical marijuana doctors in your area.

CBD doesn’t offer all the benefits that medical marijuana does

Think of medical marijuana as a fascinating puzzle. CBD is only one of those pieces. It’s a useful piece, and a beautiful piece, but not the full picture.

To translate this metaphor, CBD offers a range of medical benefits—but medical marijuana provides all those benefits and more. This is because cannabis contains CBD and many other cannabinoids, each with their unique effects.

What other cannabinoids are found in medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana contains many different cannabinoids, not just CBD. Each of these cannabinoids has its own characteristics and effects.

These cannabinoids include:

  • THC doesn’t just make you feel intoxicated: research suggests it can help with pain, PTSD symptoms, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and appetite loss.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC). Some studies suggest that CBC could reduce inflammation, treat acne, and help with depression.
  • Cannabinol (CBN) CBN could be an antibacterial (specifically killing staph bacteria), anti-inflammatory, and an appetite stimulant.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG). CBG is a precursor to many of marijuanas major cannabinoids. Research shows that CBG might be antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and mood-boosting.

It’s important to note that CBC, CBN, and CBG haven’t been studied as much as CBD, and they haven’t been “proven” to treat anything. However, the available research is very promising, and many experts believe that these cannabinoids have medical benefits. In the future, further research will reveal more about their true potential.

Trace amounts of other cannabinoids can be found in many CBD products, but to benefit fully from them, we recommend using medical marijuana.

The benefits of CBD vs. the benefits of cannabis

It’s important to consider the benefits of CBD in contrast to the benefits of cannabis. While they have common uses, they’re slightly different.

CBD is used for:

  • Pain and inflammation
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression and low mood
  • Skin conditions like acne
  • Nausea and digestive issues
  • Seizure conditions
  • Sleep issues, like insomnia

Since cannabis contains CBD, it can provide the above benefits. In addition to the benefits of CBD, it might also be able to help with:

  • Appetite loss
  • Glaucoma
  • Muscle spasticity

Certain strains of medical cannabis have been genetically developed to help with specific health issues. For example, some are created to help with insomnia, while other strains are energizing and mood-boosting, making them ideal for someone with fatigue or depression.

If you’re curious about finding a strain to help you with a certain condition, speak to a cannabis-friendly doctor or a cannabis expert for advice.

The entourage effect

There’s no need to pit CBD and medical marijuana against each other. While some people may prefer one over the other, most patients benefit from combining CBD and medical cannabis.

This is, in part, because of something experts call “the entourage effect.” This is the idea that cannabinoids are more effective when used in conjunction with one another. In other words, 20mg of mixed cannabinoids is far more effective than 20mg of pure CBD.

A good example of the entourage effect at work is Sativex. Sativex is prescribed to treat pain and muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis, and it contains both THC and CBD. As this 2015 study suggests, Sativex is effective at improving symptoms in people with MS. A 2005 study looked at the effects of Sativex on people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It found that Sativex reduced pain and stiff joints in those subjects, suggesting that it could help people with RA as well as those with MS.

The easiest way to benefit from the entourage effect is to use medical cannabis. Because you’re using the whole plant, you’re automatically ingesting a range of cannabinoids. If you want to reap CBD’s benefits, in particular, you can use CBD with medical marijuana. The CBD product will “top-up” the CBD content in your cannabis, giving you an extra-powerful dosage of CBD.

If you’re not able to use cannabis but would like to benefit from the entourage effect, you can use full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD products. These contain small amounts of other cannabinoids, which means that you can get some additional benefits without using cannabis. To learn more about the different types of CBD available, see our article all about CBD.

Using both CBD and medical marijuana

Some people use CBD and medical marijuana together. Many people prefer an extra-strong dosage of CBD in conjunction with medical marijuana; others prefer to use CBD at one time of the day and cannabis at another.

There are many ways to use both CBD and medical marijuana together. For example:

  • Use CBD in the morning and medical marijuana at night. Many people find that cannabis makes them feel unfocused and sleepy, while CBD leaves them clear-headed. Others find that the opposite is true: they use an uplifting, energizing strain of cannabis during the day and CBD in the evening.
  • Use CBD every day and medical marijuana as necessary. People often use CBD like a multivitamin: they use the same amount every day to maintain general wellness. If you’d like, you can use CBD every day and use medical cannabis when needed, such as when you get a migraine or when chronic pain is particularly unbearable. Medical marijuana packs an incredibly powerful punch, making it great for flare-ups and breakthrough pain.
  • Use CBD topicals and medical marijuana internally. CBD-infused topicals, such as balms and lotions, can be applied to the skin in sore areas. You can take medical marijuana internally and apply CBD to your skin, helping you feel better from the inside and the outside.
  • Use CBD and medical marijuana together. Many patients use both at the same time, especially if they prefer to maximize the entourage effect or are using a High-THC/Low-CBD strain of MMJ. An extra boost of CBD combined with the THC in their medical cannabis has been shown to reduce the psychoactivity and euphoric effects, which many medical patients do not desire.
  • Microdose medical marijuana, along with CBD. Microdosing involves taking a tiny amount of cannabis so that you don’t experience any uncomfortable side effects. Often, people microdose small amounts throughout the day.

The best way to figure out how to combine CBD and medical marijuana is to experiment. Try different combinations at different times of the day. Be sure not to use too much initially: start with a small amount of both. If the effects are not strong enough, gradually increase the dosage until you feel a difference.

Is it safe to combine CBD and medical marijuana?

Yes—but it’s always a good idea to clear it with your doctor first, especially if you’re on any medication. This is because CBD can interact with drugs that carry a “grapefruit warning.” CBD, like grapefruit, contains an enzyme that can change the way your body processes certain drugs.

To be on the safe side, start with small doses of CBD and medical marijuana before increasing it. Increase it gradually, taking note of how it affects your symptoms. If you experience any worrying side effects, such as vomiting, stop using it immediately and talk to a medical professional.

If you’re interested in learning more about combining CBD and medical marijuana, speak to a knowledgeable doctor. Contact us for more information on obtaining a medical marijuana card in Florida.