Marijuana is now legal in many states and it is important to understand the effects on the human body. Marijuana has two active molecules: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD the non-psychoactive component and CBD is legal in the USA. THC is the psychoactive component (it produces a “High” for the user) and will affect cognition. THC is not legal in many states.

CBD decreases inflammation, reduces nausea, helps alleviate pain, and is an anxiolytic.  THC also helps relieve pain and nausea and it also improves appetite and decreases muscle spasms. The “High” associated with TCH and its effect on cognition is not tolerated by some patients.

But most patients find that combining CBD and THC yields the best result.

Forms of Marijuana

Some Marijuana products are CBD dominant (the product contains more CBD than THC), and some Marijuana products are THC dominant (the product contains more THC than CBD). Marijuana products can be taken in various forms. Marijuana can be smoked. This results of the CBD and THC getting into the blood in just a few minutes and the effects last several hours. Marijuana products are also available as a spray. The mist is directed under the tongue. The CBD and THC enter the blood in a few minutes and the effects last several hours. The Marijuana products also come in an edible form. The CBD and THC are then absorbed from the intestines. After absorption, some of the CBD and THC will be broken down in the liver leaving less bioavailable. Edible Marijuana takes about 90 minutes to become effective and the effects last about 12 hours. Marijuana is also available in topical forms.

Quality Issues

There are many companies producing CBD and THC products. Unfortunately, many of these companies do not do quality checks on their products and therefore products may not contain what is listed on the label. In addition, most companies have not done human studies to determine whether or not their product actually gets into the bloodstream.

In summary, there is increasing evidence that a combination of CBD and THC will be very helpful postoperatively, the correct dose, the correct combination, the correct method of delivery have yet to be determined. Please discuss with your doctor prior to use.

Bill Brown MD