A cancer diagnosis can be life-altering for patients. Inevitably, they are faced with uneasy feelings about the difficulties of treatment, and the reality of living with the disease chronically. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment modalities offer promising results, but with difficult side effects. Recent medical advances have shown that cannabis has great efficacy in helping patients deal with the treatment side effects, and show an overall positive influence on the patient’s mental health as a result of a higher quality of life. Before truly understanding cannabis’ benefit to the patient in the cancer treatment setting, you need to differentiate between its two key components: THC vs. CBD.

Actions of Different Components of Marijuana: THC vs. CBD

THC, otherwise known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is what allows someone to experience the high feeling often reported when smoking or ingesting marijuana. Some effects that have been attributed to the use of THC are euphoria, relief of nausea and pain, and overall lowered inflammation in the body. Simply put, the natural effect of THC as it lowers inflammation in the body can cause pain relief. 

The second known cannabinoid is CBD, also known as cannabidiol. This is responsible for more of a mental health boost, often putting the user in a calm state without the loss of control and feeling of being high. If the patient is struggling with depression, anxiety, or even seizures, CBD may be a treatment option to explore with your doctor. 

If the patient is struggling specifically with appetite loss (this is fairly common in cancer patients, affecting up to 80%) a man-made pure THC substance called dronabinol could pose a strong treatment option. Dronabinol works to create feelings of hunger in the brain and can override nausea that the patient may experience in treatment. As always, before pursuing any form of alternative treatment, please consult with your doctor to come up with a healthy treatment plan for you.


Types of Marijuana Products Available


THC and CBD-laced products are widely available on the market, and you can purchase them in a variety of mediums that work within your needs and lifestyle. Below is a list of common products that you can find at your local dispensary:

  • Loose Leaf or “Flower” Options
    • Flower is used through either combusting, vaping, or orally consuming. As a cancer patient, one may find vaping a better alternative if nausea & vomiting are a challenge.
  • Edibles
    • Edibles can take many shapes and can be infused with either THC or CBD in the form of baked goods, candies, chews, and more. Edibles are helpful for those who experience insomnia or depression as a side effect of cancer treatments as it is long-lasting (8+ hours)
  • Topicals
    • Topicals are helpful for cancer patients who are diagnosed with skin cancer. Transdermal compounds are optimal as well as using products such as RSO.

 In conclusion, cannabis-infused products can be a great asset to those undergoing cancer treatment and may mitigate several unpleasant symptoms associated with treatment and disease progression. Talk to your doctor to see if cannabis is right for you – or come see us for an appointment!


While there are many cannabinoids, CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the two that have been most studied. Most people know that THC is responsible for psychoactive effects (the “high”) while CBD doesn’t cause any type of high. However, many patients are still confused about the difference in medical application is between CBD and THC. The two substances can seem to be interchangeable as they are both derived from cannabis plants and worse, some may potentially overlook the long-term benefits of consuming CBD. 

According to a Harvard study, both compounds have been shown to help treat anxiety disorders such as PTSD; epilepsy; acne; psoriasis; nausea relief; inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s, and severe neuropathy.

However, unlike THC which only works on certain receptors in the brain and body called CB1 receptors – CBD interacts with a wide range of receptors. These include serotonin receptor sites as well as dopamine receptor sites. What this means is that CBD has a broad spectrum of potential treatment options. 

CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis plants

Today, we know more than 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, and each one has different effects on our bodies. In recent years, there has been an increased demand for high-quality CBD because of its wide-ranging benefits. If you’ve never tried CBD, it is advisable to discuss it with your medical professional.   

It’s important to consult with your doctor before starting any new treatments Two doctors are facing one another in mid discussion.

Although some people may experience side effects when taking either compound, most patients report few negative side effects when using CBD products compared to those who consume high levels of THC. That said, CBD is a widely applicable treatment for a variety of health issues. We have found in our office that a number of patients under-treat with CBD. 

CBD ultimately works with the body to achieve optimal homeostasis (a perfect balance of health). 

CBD has been shown to have medically therapeutic properties that include:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • anticonvulsant
  • anxiolytic, and antiemetic effects

CBD works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain and also decreasing inflammation at the endocannabinoid system. It is important to note that no psychoactive effects are felt when using CBD so there is little risk of experiencing side effects like paranoia or hallucinations which can be experienced with THC-containing products. 

Furthermore, it doesn’t cause addiction like other drugs, because it does not contain any sedating properties or addictive substances.

Where can you find quality CBD? 

MMTC’s (dispensaries) across Florida carry CBD, it’s notable that the THC product lines are far more robust than those that are CBD specific. This can lead patients to seek out over-the-counter products, many of which are less than transparent in their ingredient lists, certificate of analysis, and other important information about the supply chain. 

If you have any questions about a product that you’re considering, please reach out to our office for further information or discussion. We would be happy to review the pros and cons of whichever item you’ve chosen for your cannabis journey. 

You can call us at 813-651-3495 or set an appointment online at




Dr. Kelly Ennix King is a licensed medical cannabis physician in Florida and California.

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