Still Experiencing Pain Using CBD?  Is it Safe to Use Cannabis with THC?

Still Experiencing Pain Using CBD? Is it Safe to Use Cannabis with THC?

By Ellen Smith.

I am constantly reading about people from all states, with legal medical cannabis programs or not, seeking information on how to obtain high CBD for their medical issues.  Along with this, I have noticed many stating they do not want any THC in their cannabis. It appears there seems to be a significant negative attitude about using THC for relief. So, then why do I need to include THC for relief?

There are chemical compounds, called cannabinoids, found in the cannabis plants. They interact with receptors in the brain and body, creating various effects. It is believed there are potentially over a hundred cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.  THC is the most widely known, due to its abundance and psychoactive qualities. For many years, “Marijuana” has been socially used because of this primary active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most widely known cannabinoid. But as cannabis is becoming  accepted for medical use too, many have become concerned that they will get high or stoned if their product has any of this THC in it. Thus, many have turned towards the CBD supplies, now on the market. But, I have not had success with this choice. Why not?

Ellen Smith and friend

Let’s understand, what is this Cannabidiol, also known as CBD? This term became a household word after it became clear that epileptic seizures could be reduced or even stopped by utilizing cannabis high in CBD content.  This was discovered when the parents of five year old, Charlotte Figi, suffering from severe seizures, discovered that the Stanley Brothers had been developing exactly the plant they had been hoping for, one that presented the Cannabidiol (CBD),one of the most prevalent chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. This was what they wanted to try with their daughter because it was completely non psychoactive, unlike, tetrahydrocannabinol, THC and no drugs were successful. The results were amazing, reducing her seizures and opening up a new, safe solution for not only seizures, but help with helping spasms, calming anxiety, and soothing those in chronic pain.

However, many patients with chronic conditions have found, like me that they need to use medical cannabis extracted from either a higher CBD variety or from one with more THC. If you find a high-CBD strain, it does not mean it will be THC-free. Many strains advertised as “high-CBD” still contain some psychoactive cannabinoids. But, this should not scare you. I am sixty-seven years old and have turned to the use of cannabis since 2007, for two incurable painful conditions. Like so many patients, I had no desire to experience the psychoactive effects of the THC so at one point in my treatment; I utilized a high CBD strain containing only trace amounts of THC. When I tried to using just CBD without THC, concerned like so many, the pain relief just didn’t happen. So, for years, I have used just regular product with THC in it.  Recently, due to all the beneficial effects I have read about having more CBD in your system, such as it that can help with cancer, lupus, motor disorders, nicotine addiction, Parkinson’s Disease, chronic and neuropathic pain, obsessive compulsive disorders, osteoporosis, and various pediatric conditions, I decided to grow plants higher in CBD to add to the oil I take at night. I have been able to benefit with pain relief from making an oil with a combination of strains that also include this higher CBD count, combined with the higher THC plants. I want you to know that I do not get high or stoned, as some assume. I receive pain relief. For those of us living with pain, we get relief from this type of plant that includes THC. But remember, with any medication, you can take too much and get a negative reaction, so be careful to take the dose right for you! But please, don’t be concerned if you are like me and need that THC to get the relief with your pain. Each body requires something different so may you too, find your correct match for safe relief.

Ellen Smith and her husband Stu live in Rhode Island and are co-directors for Cannabis Advocacy for the US Pain Foundation and contribute to the National Pain Report.


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Authored by: Ellen Lenox Smith

Ellen Lenox Smith and her husband Stuart live in Rhode Island. They are co-directors for medical cannabis advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation, along with Ellen on the board and they both also serve as board members for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. For more information about medical cannabis visit their website.

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Dessie Ashley


CBD very much helped my grandfather with prostate cancer. It has long been necessary to legalize everything and help all people.

Happy to share what strains I use to make my night sleeping. pain relief oil:
I use a higher CBD – one called Strawberry diesel and the other is Critical Cure – had been using another I loved and lost the strain – Comfort Zone – would love to find seeds or a clone of that to get back! Any indica is worth a try – some prefer a higher CBD and less THC and others need a stronger mix of THC – our bodies require different things

Kathy C

Thank you for your response Sandy Auriene Sullivan. I live in a state with legal MM. They also have a thriving Alternative Medicine Industry. I think that CBD has been over hyped and the marketing is misleading. The information about Land Races is very interesting. T there are so many compounds in hemp and marijuana, along with other healing plants, there is a significant difference in not only the strains, but even the environment and nutrients the plant are exposed to. The processing matters too.
The local MM Industry has it’s own magazines and advertising material which are much more concerned with the hype than the science. Occasionally the local “News” pick up a story about how MM is going to “Cure” Opiate Addiction, with lots of anecdotal stories. Local Head shops have cashed in on the CBD Craze, selling candy, lotions oil and other products. The Dispensary has Up-marketed CBD mixing it with various herbs in the form of tinctures. They all appear to do little for pain.
The Hype of the Medical Marijuana Industry is leading to more confusion over Chronic Pain, and Opiate Addiction which they casually lump together. They latched on to the “Opiate Epidemic” narrative to market their products. They are conflating Heroin addict and pain patients in order to sell more product. they are getting help with this from a University researcher.
Here is one of his “Studies” that due to it’s sensational nature got international attention.
He tested with reaction to ice water, and not very scientific. This is the sensational nature of these unscientific Studies that get attention. In this one he reinforced sexual stereotypes, and Gender Bias in one “Study” and due to the titillating nature of this he got a lot of attention. This is the guy that is doing a study on Medical Marijuana and Chronic pain.
Sorry if I am rambling 20 plus years Chronic Intractable Pain. I am not as articulate as I used to be. There sees to be a lot of deceptive, unscientific and misleading information out there. The MM Industry is using the same pseudo Science that the herbal and supplement Industries use.


I really wish I could try this because I know that when I move to get more medical attention, the attention that I need to eventually wean off of my fentanyl patch, I will lose access to my pain medication. I will be offered gabapentin and I would rather eat grass. From my own backyard.
However, while my state allows CBD oil, they keep it pretty locked down on no THC and things like that. My current doctor here won’t keep me on it for much longer, but there isn’t a single PT within driving distance who can help. And we have already been saving for 5 years to move. All the states with legalized marijuana, if it would help, tend to have a much higher cost of living. One that would mean giving my beloved dogs to my parents, moving a plane ride away, and renting an apartment, which I haven’t had to do since I was 24.


I began using a 1/1 ratio of cbd/thc oil for pain control and sadly since I no longer have either fentanyl or dilauded it doesn’t really help with pain control but it definitely helps my digestive issues! When added to my drastically lowered dosage of opiates it helped some with pain control. I had been losing five pounds a week due to food not digesting and severe nausea and using this oil I am now slowly gaining weight and haven’t needed zofran for nausea in weeks! I wish it helped for pain but this is better than nothing which is what the medical profession offers! I have ddd,fibromyalgia,osteoarthritis and other undiagnosed pain issues! When they cut me off of all pain meds the doctor told me that opioid medication isn’t used for fibromyalgia and when asked about the other pain issues was told “they don’t count”!

Re: “Hi. Your article about high CBD oil for chronic pain was fascinating for me. I have several spinal and nerve issues. Can you share your recipe and method you use for the oil that works for you?” and other mentioned above.

Same for me!

John Quintner, Physician in Rheumatology and Pain Medicine

Although the “medicinal” cannabis horse has bolted and is disappearing over the hill, I hope sanity will eventually prevail and people will look at the current evidence, which is well outlined in this article:

I don’t understand how you don’t get high or feel stoned when you use THC strains with CBD. I have FMS and live in Washington state where I can purchase high CBD with low or equal THC (flower) and I still experience some kind of high. I have not had any relief with just CBD (flower or tincture) in fact just CBD alone makes me depressed and foggy thinking and I have to add some THC, not only for pain relief but also to give me more energy and mood improvement. I wish I knew your secret because I don’t always wish to be high either.

CBD alone has it’s uses. THC & CBD are more effective for Severe Pain – usually when the CBD Rate is higher.

The THC comes from the Trichomes the plant produces. These Trichomes are truly amazing and yes they are a DRUG. Plants harvested too soon or when the Trichomes are colorless will produce less THC – when the Trichomes are a golden brown the THC content is more desirable and more effective.

My state will start selling MM in a few months. I’m not in a position to get a MM Card or use MM – it will violate the Pain Contract I signed with my Pain Dr. If I could use MM I believe the cost would be prohibitive, Work Comp won’t cover it.

What a Dilemma the CDC has created.


John S


For the oil directions ​ :
•Grind up your product in a coffee bean grinder or even a Cuisinart
* Heat up 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil or oil of choice, being careful to get hot but not boiling
• Measure out 10 TBS of the ground product per 1 cup of oil
• The oil is ready when you spread a sample of the ground medicine over it and hear the
properties being released into the oil! It sounds like an Alka Seltzer dropped in water! Then
sprinkle all the rest of the product over the oil
• Allow the mixture to cool
• Strain the oil
• Store in a container, away from the sun
NOTE: You can double, triple, etc this recipe to make a larger batch – 10 TBS ground to one cup
Buy a “magical butter machine” that you put all these ingredients together in and plug it in and
let it make the oil for you!
How to Use:
Remember, that ingesting the medicine, you have to allow time for it to be absorbed before you
will get relief from your pain. When first taken this way, it may take up to a full hour to feel the
changes. Eventually, it may take less time. So, it’s important to figure out when the relief is
needed by, so you are sure to get it into your system before this time.
Dosage to start with:
* you need to start with a much lower dose to introduce this to your body slowly
* start with 1/4 tsp, mixed with some food like a little applesauce or yogurt
* take one hour before you want to be in bed for the night
* the goal is to eventually sleep through the night and not wake up groggy – so each night add
1/4 tsp more until you have slept the night and not woken up in the AM groggy. If that sensation
happens, don’t panic. It will wear off throughout the morning and tells you to be sure to not take
dose again but instead decrease a bit. With the right dose, you sleep and do not wake up
feeling groggy.
• This is much safer for your lungs to not be smoking the medicine.
• This is easier to store and travel with.
● For many achieving their true dose can mean less need of medication during the day for
it keeps the body calm into the next day
We have found that using more than one type of night indica plant creates a great sleeping oil.
And if you can get the clippings from these indica plants, they seem to make a wonderful oil.

Sandy Auriene Sullivan

Kathy, CBD is extracted exclusively from industrial hemp. A plant in the marijuana family that is usually used for paper, cloth, and not medical. That’s just CBD. Hemp has zero THC even if it has other cannabinoids.

Here in Florida, the medical is labeled and high THC products and oils like the highest 85% sublingual oil? The rest of that 85% is still whole plant; meaning the 15% is made up of a host of cannabinoids including CBD and CBDN and if you’re really lucky? THC-n

Why the discrepancy between strains? Did you know there’s a ‘land race’ right now? Where people travel to very remote areas to gain access to local marijuana. Be it from a tiny tribe in an African nation [where they found a plant with THC-n which has many promising properties to it and RARE] or South America or Siberia. Cannabis grows the globe over and each plant is a little different. Each strain has dif ratios of THC to all other cannabinoids.

However, as one noted there really needs more research on cannabis and cancer. Estrogen cancers do not do well with THC but CBD. In that case, from what I have read it can increase the rate of progress. Because of its scheduling the testing and research is left to laboratories in each state.

Have any of you tried Wild Lettuce made into a tincture? I have been told it helps with chronic pain but I have not tried it yet.

Sandy Auriene Sullivan

Per my previous comment, despite going state medical MJ – I am not stopping [lowered]
opiate pain medication. It goes together instead for better coverage and helps me manage on far lower doses of my usual opiates.

I waited to try Florida medical because it really is a mess but clearing up now and prices dropping for both doctors and what is available at dispensaries here [concentrates, oils, sublingual but nothing ‘green’ – the high THC of 85% is a concentrated oil with many other cannabinoids in there and notably different than the average ‘joint’ with non-medical grade cannabis]

The beauty I found of oils and concentrates is this…. while still taking my regular meds [such as they are] in the morning by noon-2pm or for example, while out of state and able to have full commercial grade concentrate of 60% co2 extracted oil in a OTC state – recreational] I found that one or 2 draws on the oil vape helped me enjoy my holiday. Why? Well I could walk parks further than normal.

It didn’t make me feel foggy headed either. Kept a clear head, didn’t feel tired [some will, some do not. Sativas generally are more alert and indica more pain/anxiety easing for sleep; the dispensary folks know a LOT so ask lots of questions just like you would a doc and pharmacy]. I could enjoy a 2 mile bike ride too! Things I could do when my pain was previously managed properly. All while looking terminal.

Oh… and I gained 10lbs. TEN! After 12mos of not being able to gain a single pound and 3 years of losing without any other reason than my pain wasn’t managed; I finally started to gain and HOLD the weight on. Held those 10lbs since Sept last year.

Sandy Auriene Sullivan

Florida has legal medical now. I just went through the process and waiting on final state approval. Doc approved. She wants high amounts of CBD; I told her since it is OTC now – and I’ve tried it – found it didn’t help my pain but I would get hungry again [poor appetite, losing weight – significantly and on nausea meds for 2 years now. CPP 18 years].

She said she would include both options for me; CBD and high THC [85% the rest is other cannabinoids including CBD] but swore that it was CBD that helped pain and not THC. I told her that was far from my personal experience?! I mean why bother with high THC at all if it didn’t help pain? Especially neuropathic pain?

When my pain was well managed I went years without partaking of MJ; socially sometimes. It wasn’t until they put a torch to my pain management by excluding my meds and/or lowering them [last 3 years]; then I had to use THC w/CBD every evening for neuropathy control and to eat.

CBD is the only pain management my brother with stage 4 cancer of lymph nodes has available to him. He has state coverage in Mississippi; does not cover pain management [ya, they have to send terminal patients also to pain management; not enough oncologists either where he is located! Neither covered by state medicaid!]

So he has almost NO CARE for end stage cancer. He will never use ‘hospice’ and his daughter worked oncology floor at the only hospital there for 5 years. He can still walk, tho his neck is almost larger than his head now. They couldn’t do surgery earlier due to his loss of larynx from stage 4 cancer 14 years before. Where he had surgery but no after care, I was his after care; put him in remission for 13yrs. He taught himself to speak using air; something that usually requires years of therapy.

That’s how far the propaganda has gone now. Terminal patients cannot get pain medications if they only have a primary and a specialist who doesn’t prescribe opiates. Go US

Bob Schubring

Quite a number of people complain about the lack of standardization in cannabis-derived products.

Each different genetic strain of cannabis plant is going to secrete certain amounts of each of the different cannabinoids, when it is healthy.

When the plant is raised in unhealthy conditions, where it gets too little water or too much water, or is kept too hot or too cold, or is lacking a particular soil nutrient that it needs to grow, it’s output of cannabinoids will change.

For over a century, every other plant-derived pharmaceutical drug has been manufactured by isolating the active substance as pure crystals of that substance, by processing the plant sap to make crystals. Pharmacists weigh out the crystals and report the strength in Milligrams, that they put into pills.

Some pharmaceutical drugs originally were discovered in plants, but are cheaper to make by synthetic means. Salicylic acid was first found in willow bark, but it’s cheaper to make it from petroleum nowadays. Still, the pharmacy doesn’t give you a gallon of crude oil to drink…instead, someone ran a chemical process that made pure copies of the willow salicylic acid molecule, formed them into crystals, weighed out 325 milligrams of them, and pressed them into a pill.

What most cannabis vendors are not yet doing, is isolating the pure crystalline substances in the cannabis plant, so that they can be weighed out. Consumers won’t know the strength of what they’re taking, unless this step is done.

One company, Isodiol International, pioneered a way to make pure CBD crystals that can be weighed out. Some of Isodiol’s products, the ones that are made from the pure CBD crystals, declare their actual CBD content. Others have proprietary formulas that consumers are not told. And most other operators in the cannabis space, do not take the trouble to make pure substances that a pharmacist can weigh out in milligrams, so that the consumer knows what is being taken.

Identifying each of the cannabinoids is important research work that’s proceeding slowly. It’s been known since 1974 that a substance which stops the growth of cancer, is hiding in the cannabis plant. Identifying which of the cannabinoids that substance is, would be life-saving information. If we could purify that substance into crystals and weigh it out in milligrams, doctors might be able to stop cancer from spreading.

As matters stand now, numerous people gamble their lives by taking cannabis products of unknown composition, hoping that they can take in enough of the anti-cancer substance to hold their cancers in check. But by not knowing exactly which cannabis constituent is needed to control their cancer, people are risking their lives that the plants stay healthy and the extraction process they use, is done right.

We need to get this research done.




When my provider annonced to me that I was to be reduced 80 percent in opioid medication in November, 2016 to comply with CDC “policy”, I and my wife that suffers from fibromyalgea immediately started to research alternative pain management therapies that neither of us had tried. CBD oil from the hemp plant was legal in NC along with kratom. We spent thousands of dollars on both products. We tried different strengths and makers of oil as well as different producers of kratom. Our hopes were misdirected with advertising from the different providers of both. Like other comments, we had very little success with these products for pain management. These products, at least kratom is not FDA approved therefore any quality control is non existent unless the company happens to have “some” scruples. Money wasted, hopes dashed, employment lost, pain rages. I am not chemist but my son is. It seems that IF proper clinical studies were approved, real fact based studies which Jeff is totally against, a combination of chemicals produced in the pot plant in different ratios could be found to achieve a real product for varied successful uses that pot users state they have found. A product to assisst in pain management, seizure disorders, relief for various disease that we all have heard that cannabis products do in fact provide effective relief by testimony in the pot legal states. It is still beyond common sense reasoning to simply adjust the maximum “allowable” dosage of opioids for one and all without ANY other resource, effective resource to manage different pain issues and other disorders before damning the use of opioid medication among the millions with lifetime continuous pain.Cannabis use has been damned for decades even with patients testimony that real relief fr various issues with cannabis products ahve been realized. I recently received a response back from NC’s Richard Burr once again with the emphasis being placed on the “opioid crisis” that took some 55,000 lives in 2015.Burr acknowledged (according to his info) that about 25 million patients need some type of pain management for “chronic” pain. I don’t know if this figure is accurate but, he stated it. My inquiry into exactly how now ineffectively managed pain among patients is now supposed to be managed was all but disregrded……again. His repsonse to a very relevant question of exactly what are we supposed to do was danced around with his attention being placed on a “crisis”. I agree there is a crisis but it is not getting better. among chronic pain patients. According to CDC published results the overdose rate rose to about 66,000 people a full year after sanctioning of opioid medication began for most at the beginning of 2017, and even earlier for our Veterans. His reasoning was to take a wait and see approach. Wait…….while the suicide rate increases? While we all have compassion for the families and people that lost their lives due to an overdose of most likely a cocktail of drugs which… Read more »

Andrea N

I live in a “ legal “ state, and have seen first hand that CBD, and CBD-a have amazing healing properties! CBD-a the acid form of CBD , if very beneficial!
If you can find a hemp tea, ( not from Latvia or China ) but a hemp grown here in the USA. Try it ! Or a tincture ! I make my own tinctures. ( Very medicinal )

There are tons of so called CBD products everywhere now, some very high priced! Do your research before hand , I suffer from FMS, and and have been off of all pharmaceuticals for going on 4 yrs now ( thanks to medical marijuana ) . I was very skeptical in the beginning, but after many trials and tribulations, my life is improving.

I am currently on high dose narcotics for several different kinds of pain, but I envision that they will soon be taken away. I have tried numerous CBD preparations will little or no relief. I live in a state where marijuana is illegal, and flying to Colorado is not an option. What, if any are my options for obtaining a product like the “gummies” mentioned in a previous comment, preferably without getting arrested!

I recently tried a high dose CBD with low dose THC as explained. It had zero impact on my chronic severe back pain. Also tried a cannabis balm. Same result. Guess I am weird.

Enola Crayton

I live in a state where it is not legal. CBD oil is a waste of money. I have tried several brands.
Now that government has cracked down on the use of pain medication I have found myself in quite a dilemma. My Dr. “allows” me 2 low dose Norcos tablets a day. She does not want to jeopardize her license. I have to pick and choose my time to take medication leaving me in pain many days. Save your money CBD oil is like taking nothing more than cooking oil.

Thanks for sharing your personal experience with CBD and THC. In my case, I am 74 yo, have pretty severe idiopathic periph. neuropathy–unresponsive to gabapentin or pregabalin–responsive primarily only to opioids (along with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory to treat some likely arthritic component). So, presently my daily pain regimen consists of chronic low-dose oxycodone, 5mg, NSAID and Gummies with THC–the combo is imperfect (as far as really treating the pain), but it makes day-to-day activities tolerable. I don’t/can’t smoke so an oral cannabinoid would be important. I’ve tried various CBD oil preparations from reputable sources–no significant improvement. The THC gummies (small portions sublingually over a 24 hour period) DOES seem to subjectively improve my symptoms. Perhaps your experience parallels mine to some extent. I would be glad to obtain and try the preparation that works for you. Would you mind sharing the exact name/description of the CBD+THC that you raise–my source, unfortunately, is from a different, enlightened (!) state, so it would be helpful to know exactly what to request! Thanks for the benefit of your knowledge and experience!


I like you find CBD alone even the highest quality costing £250 for a month, made in pharmaceutical factory, does not work but the whole plant does. My Pain Consultant advises me a combination of 50%Indika (skunk) and 50% Sativa, A’s the strains of cannabis best for pain relief. At the University of Glasgow Pain Service has done trials and say not many people get relief from CBD ie, what is called medical cannabis, so you are far from alone. Just be very careful never to drive or operate machinefy, make important decisions or use appliances including cooking for after 6 hours after consumption or if you are compromised in any way by the THC it is the part that gives a high. Just using for sleep and if pain wakes you,in the night is my suggestion. Good luck

Kathy C

The current Marketing of CBD has been rather deceptive. A lot of the research being done is with Pharmaceutical products that use various compounds from the CBD oil. The Pot Industry and others have latched on to CBD Oil as a cure all, as another new Age Marketing nonsense area. They are selling “Hemp Extract” which contains no THC, or products mixed with olive oil. There is very little control over these products, other than the fact they do not contain THC.
Like other “Natural” or herbal products, there is no way to tell what you are buying, the quality or content of the beneficial ingredients. There does not seem to be a distinction in the Marketing of these products as to whether they even contain the substances that are alleged to have cured seizures. The majority of non THC CBD oil appears to come from Hemp, which might be a lot different from the CBD Oil used to possibly prevent seizures.

Like everything else we have to read through the marketing and propaganda and remember that what we can buy, may have no relationship to what they are researching. The Products they are selling for 36$ an ounce contain olive oil,and sometime other herbs. The Pot proponents will tel us that CBD will cure just about anything including pain, but that has not been proven scientifically.
When I asked a Dispensary employee about this I was told that I was “Skeptical” “it would not work if you are skeptical.” I then went on to explain it was for my dog that has seizures. I told her i would not want to risk my dog having another seizure. At that point the conversation changed. There is a different standard for animals. We would not want to risk the health of an animal on a CBD product, that may not contain what they are claiming it contains. I am unsure if my dog is skeptical, he seems to be rather gullible and trusting to me.
The only way to ensure that the product contains Cannibidiol is to process and grow it yourself or buy it from a reliable source. The labeling I have seen is deceptive, calling the products “CBD Oil” and taken from Hemp Plants, not Marijuana. Hemp oil can be purchased a lot cheaper at your health food store, for a lot less than the product they are calling CBD Oil.

Chris Doma

Hi. Your article about high CBD oil for chronic pain was fascinating for me. I have several spinal and nerve issues. Can you share your recipe and method you use for the oil that works for you?