Managing Pain with a THC Tincture
No one enjoys living with pain. It can take away from our day-to-day life and keep us from fully enjoying the world around us. In the medical arena, most pain is treated using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioid prescription medicine. With the ever-rising concern of opioid abuse and dependency, many are looking for a safer alternative. One of the best alternative options isn’t anything new. In fact, it has been used for pain management and healing for more than 12,000 years. This medical alternative is marijuana.
THC and CBD — What Is the Difference?
When it comes to understanding the medicinal benefits of marijuana, it is important to understand the different aspects of the plant. THC and CBD are the compounds that lend benefits to the body, particularly pain relief. The primary difference between the two is the feeling of euphoria or “high” - THC provides this, while CBD does not.
Does THC help pain? Most definitely. THC has a great range of medicinal benefits and is commonly used to treat pain, as well as muscle spasticity, glaucoma, insomnia, low appetite, nausea, and anxiety. You’ll also see THC used for central and neuropathic pain, and has even shown to help relieve pain associated with cancer, AIDS, and fibromyalgia. Some side effects can be expected with THC, but none are life-threatening. In general, you may experience increased heart rate, change in appetite, coordination, dry mouth, red eyes, and slower reaction times. All of these side effects are time-sensitive and vary, depending on dosage and method of consumption.
CBD is another great option for those looking for pain relief. CBD is best for inflammatory pain, such as arthritis. It is proven to help relieve pain associated with seizures, inflammation, nausea and migraines, and relieve symptoms of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. CBD, too, may have some side effects, namely, dry mouth and drowsiness.
THC or CBD for Pain?
Both CBD and THC are amazing sources of relief for those dealing with pain. In fact, many have turned to utilizing CBD and THC in sync with one another. When utilized together, they help to mitigate certain side effects and enhance efficiency. CBD helps counter some of the sedative euphoric feelings, potential anxiety, and rapid heartbeat that can be associated with THC use. And, it’s believed that many forms of pain are rooted in inflammation, of which CBD soothes, allowing a THC and CBD combination to be a potential one-two punch for quelling pain.
Different Forms of Cannabis Usage
There are many different forms of usage for CBD and THC, and when it comes to choosing a cannabis-based therapy, it really comes down to personal preference and what’s best for your own symptom management. Certain forms have higher or lower dosages, more precise dosing options, and the time in which it takes to set in can also vary. These different forms include:
- Inhalation. This is achieved through smoking or vaping. The effects are immediate and tend to last 2-4 hours. It provides instant relief, making it ideal for breakthrough pain.
- Transdermal. This form of medicinal marijuana use is found most in patches and gels. It is a form of extended relief that takes effect quickly, in general, within 20 minutes, with duration of effects dependent on method. Gels are typically 2-4 hours, while patches can be up to 72 hours.
- Sublingual. This essentially means “under the tongue” and can provide rapid relief. This is most often seen in tinctures, which can be a great way to utilize medicinal marijuana for pain relief, especially for new users. Dosing is customizable, with effects taking hold 15-45 minutes after ingestion and lasting 3-4 hours.
- Edibles. These are often found in the form of soft chews, capsules, or baked goods. This form of marijuana use tends to take longer to take effect. While it can take 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects of this form of pain relief, its effects last 4-6 hours.
- Topicals. This includes creams, salves, or oils. They provide short-term localized relief with no “high” feelings. They can take effect within minutes and can last up to a few hours depending on the formula.
When it comes to utilizing medicinal marijuana, there can be some math involved. You’ll have to figure out what you specifically need to manage your pain. Luckily, the packaging used for selling and distributing marijuana makes these ratios clear. In general, you’ll see 1:1, 5:1, or 10:1, and this is the amount of CBD compared to THC. For example, if you purchase a product that is labeled 1:1, this means that there is an equal amount of CBD to THC. If you purchase a product that is 5:1, this means that there is 5 times more CBD than THC. What works best is going to vary, based on your need, and the type of pain that you experience.
Tinctures for Pain
If you’re ready to start experiencing the benefits of medicinal marijuana use, there are many options available to you. You may be asking, what is a cannabis tincture? Essentially, this is an alcohol-based cannabis extract. A true medical tincture is a liquid product that is formulated with high-proof alcohol, usually alcohol such as ethanol or even Everclear, a high-proof grain alcohol.
Tinctures are typically conveniently packaged in bottles with dropper tops, making dosage easy to understand and properly utilize. This method uses a solvent (alcohol) to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant. THC tinctures are a popular method of use, but for those who don’t like the euphoric sensation associated with THC, there are also CBD tinctures that don’t have any psychoactive effects and even 1:1 CBD/THC tinctures that combine both cannabinoids for synergistic effects. In fact, tinctures were the main form of ingesting cannabis, prior to the U.S. prohibition of cannabis. This is a fantastic option for first-time users.
There are many benefits to utilizing THC tinctures, including:
- They are discreet. If you are someone who would prefer to avoid the smell of marijuana use, usually found with smoking flower, this will help to avoid the smell while also receiving the benefits.
- Fast-acting. Tinctures also tend to be fast-acting, which is a great benefit for immediate pain relief. Depending on the type of tincture, it can take as little as 15 minutes to feel relief.
- Easy and customizable dosing. THC tinctures are easy to dose, which allows you the freedom to find the best amount for you and your pain management needs. In general, THC tincture is usually dispersed by placing drops under your tongue using an eyedropper. This allows the THC to be rapidly absorbed through the arterial blood supply found under your tongue. Usually, the beneficial effects are felt within 15-45 minutes through this method of use. Encapsulated cannabis tinctures are especially great because they can be incorporated with all sorts of drinks and dissolve right in. MCT-oil based tinctures cannot be mixed with drinks, but both can be added discreetly to any meal, and when ingested, tend to take a little longer to feel, with long-lasting effects.
- Fewer calories and sugar. While edibles can be a great way to experience pain relief, they are not calorie-free. The potential amount of sugar or calories that enter your body can vary greatly, depending on the type of edible. If you are someone who would prefer to avoid the added calories, tinctures are a great way to avoid the extra calories.
Methods for Cannabis Tincture Administration
In addition to the list of benefits to using a cannabis tincture outlined above, tinctures are also extremely versatile. Common methods for administering cannabis tinctures include:
Sublingual application is probably the most popular as it enters through your sublingual artery (under the tongue) and is then rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Because the tincture goes into the bloodstream directly, it doesn't have to pass through the gut or liver. When cannabinoids metabolize in the gut or liver, their effectiveness can be downgraded or even lost altogether. This method is also ideal for those looking to treat intense pain as the rapid ingestion only takes about 15-30 minutes to kick in, with the effects peaking at around 90 minutes.
Still taken orally, but added to food or a beverage, oral ingestion of a cannabis tincture acts like an edible. When ingested, the delta-9-THC in your cannabis is converted to the more potent form 11-hydroxy-THC, which produces a more sedating effect than sublingual application. Although, users should be aware of the possible inconsistency in the end result as edibles tend to have the greatest variance in the effects of cannabis. With ingestion you can generally expect to feel the effects about 1-2 hours after dosing, with effects lasting about 5-6 hours total.
Best Tincture for Pain Relief
What is the best tincture for pain? At the end of the day, it is finding what works best for you and your pain management. There are two main strains of THC. These include Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Sativa, as well as hybrids that are a mix of both. When it comes to easy remembering, Indica can playfully be referred to as “In Da Couch.” This strain tends to be more of a full-body relaxing strain of THC. It relaxes the muscles and gives the user a feeling of all-over tension relief. Sativa tends to give the user more of an energetic euphoria. This is best for someone who needs and desires relief from pain but also wants to have the desire and energy to be up and about.
Meet the MÜV Tinctures
As touched on earlier, cannabis affects everyone differently. For some, a 10mg dose of THC may be far too much, while for others, it may be far too little. And that’s not to mention the addition of terpenes, which provide the strain-specific effects patients are familiar with in flower. To best meet the medicinal needs of Florida's patients, MÜV formulated two tinctures:
Encapsulated Cannabis Tincture
Patented EnCaps™ technology makes THC and CBD more efficient. The cannabinoids are encased in a micelle shell, making them water-soluble instead of fat-soluble. This water solubility is key, as the bloodstream is incredibly watery! By utilizing this technology in MÜV Cannabis Tinctures, THC and CBD are absorbed into the bloodstream through the GI tract, mitigating any conversion through the digestive tract - and hastening onset times to just 15 minutes. The encapsulation technology also allows for water solubility in beverages, allowing you to swap out your evening cocktail for a canna-cocktail instead. Another added benefit of encapsulation is the ability to truly customize dosing - patients can easily add one dropper of THC and two droppers of CBD for a custom 2:1 ratio to truly find what works best for symptom management. One full dropper is approximately 10mg, with the graduated dropper allowing patients to start with low doses and titrate up as needed. Of note, Cannabis Tinctures are not strain-specific. For that feature, look to RSO Tincture.
Strain-Specific Tincture was an important addition to the MÜV Products lineup. The strains are the same that occur in the flower and Plus Vapes you know and love, allowing you to purchase the tincture and have an idea of the effects it will lend. What’s truly special about this option is its RSO base. RSO is highly regarded due to its legacy of analgesic, sedative, and possibly anti-cancer effects (more on that here). The potent concentrate is usually housed in a measured syringe, but we decided to incorporate it with MCT oil to provide a mess-free, easy way to consume. The RSO Tincture is approximately 20mg per dose, double that of the Cannabis Tincture, but the dose is easily customizable thanks to the graduated dropper.
Finding the Right Medicinal Marijuana Products for You
When it comes to managing pain, you want a real solution that is both safe and effective. Does THC help with pain? The answer is a clear and loud yes! Marijuana has proven itself time and time again to help relieve a numerous array of pain symptoms. Different ratios and methods are available, and it truly does come down to finding what is best for you.
You may have to do some experimenting but finding an experienced and knowledgeable dispensary can make all the difference. They can help lead you in the best direction for managing your specific type of pain. If you are new to this area of use, THC tinctures can be your best bet. They provide the user a clear method of understanding dosage, work rather quickly, and can be used as-is, or in drinks or with food.
MÜV Medical Marijuana Products are both safe and effective, and if you’re ready to manage your pain more naturally, marijuana may be exactly what you are looking for. Visit one of our locations to start shopping in Florida for THC tinctures and other medicinal marijuana solutions for your pain needs.
*This post was originally published on September 25, 2021, and updated on July 6, 2023, with new images.
Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.