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What is Best for Pain Relief, CBD or THC?

Lexie Livingston
December 28, 2021

According to a 2020 report, chronic pain affects an estimated 7.63 million Canadians, or one in every four people aged 15 and over! Whether you suffer from back pain, muscle pain, joint pain, nerve pain, migraines, or menstrual cramps, it can be absolutely debilitating and exhausting.

With the passing of the Canadian Cannabis Act that legalized both CBD and THC for recreational use, many Canadians are turning to a more natural approach with CBD pain relief. Maybe you’re already using CBD for back pain, or maybe you're just starting to look for alternatives to pharmaceutical pain medications/your daily dose of Tylenol. Using CBD for pain isn’t always the easiest to understand. That’s why in this article, we'll get into all the details of how CBD and THC work together for pain relief, including some pretty awesome product recommendations. So, let's get right into it!


CBD or THC for Pain Relief

CBD for pain has been shown in studies to be effective for inflammatory pain, such as inflammation caused by arthritis or trauma. It has been shown to provide relief by inhibiting inflammatory mediators and reducing inflammation. Hemp or CBD-based topical pain relievers (such as CBD pain cream Canada) are becoming an increasingly popular choice for localized pain relief. It may also boost the function of glycine receptors, which serve to regulate pain at the spinal level and reduce neuropathic pain (commonly described as a 'shooting' or 'burning' pain), according to research.

Meanwhile, THC has been demonstrated to reduce central and neuropathic pain, as well as pain caused by cancer, AIDS, and fibromyalgia, especially in individuals who have failed to respond to other treatments. Like CBD, THC has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to alleviate pain by lowering inflammation. This is part of the reason why doctors often use CBD for joint pain. Unlike CBD oil for pain, however, it has been proven to affect serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate levels, which are known to control mood and nerve cell communication. Aside from reducing the physical cause of pain, it also serves to lessen the feeling of pain.

THC is often prescribed to those who wish to take their mind off their pain while also enjoying relief because it produces a 'high.' CBD, on the other hand, is indicated for people whose pain is predominantly caused by inflammation or who want to go about their day with normal mental function/no possibility of any psychoactive effects. CBD pills for pain are a good option in this case, as they provide daily, consistent dosing.

An interesting article regarding the differences between CBD and THC can be found here.


The Entourage Effect

What is the entourage effect? The effects of marijuana on chronic pain have been studied extensively.  However, more studies are needed because some studies have used only sections of the marijuana plant while others used the complete plant. Parts of the marijuana plant (like CBD oil) can be utilized to research specific impacts of that chemical, but when the entire plant is used, the parts interact together to produce a greater effect, often referred to as the entourage effect.

THC and CBD, as well as other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoid compounds found in cannabis, are hypothesized to have synergistic pain-relieving effects when combined with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoid compounds.

CBD for back pain works by lowering inflammation and acting on the CB2 receptors indirectly, which may also provide pain relief throughout your entire body. THC, on the other hand, works by activating the CB1 receptors in the brain, which may aid with nerve pain. Combining CBD for pain with THC has shown to have the most promise in providing the most pain relief overall. The entourage effect can be found in products such as full-spectrum CBD oil for pain or a ratio product, whether they come in the form of tinctures, pills, edibles, or creams.

If you're interested in learning more about the entourage effect and how it helps relieve pain, this comprehensive article explains recent research that was completed.


What is the Dosage of CBD & THC for Pain Relief?

A personalized approach is often needed when looking at a CBD dosage for pain. Many aspects should be taken into consideration when choosing a starting dose, such as your body weight, metabolism, form of CBD/THC (pills, oil, cream), ailment being treated, and the last time you ate. Each person can react differently to the same dose, which is why it is often recommended to start with a low starting dose and work your way up as needed/desired. On the contrary, if you start to feel any unwanted side effects, simply lower your dose. Trial and error is often required to find a precise dose that works for you.

For example, a CBD cream for back pain may also alleviate joint pain if caused from an injury or inflammation. However, if you suffer from chronic arthritis, migraines, or nerve pain, a full-spectrum/ratio CBD capsule or a tincture might be more up your alley. Using CBD pills for pain alongside a pain relief cream/gel is also an option that will typically provide you with maximum benefits.


Where Can I Purchase High-Quality CBD/THC products?

You can find everything for CBD pain relief right here at Birch + Fog. Not only have we made sure to only stock the purest products, we’ve also made shopping easier than ever!  Whether you’re looking for a CBD cream for back pain, a CBD pill for joint pain, a tincture, an edible product, or a vape, we have you covered! You can browse our entire pain selection by clicking here.


What CBD Oil for Pain Does Birch + Fog Recommend?


1 CBD/THC Capsules 3:1 Ratio (Sativa)-Daytime | Birch + Fog

Our top CBD for pain pick is a capsule that includes both CBD and THC in a ratio. These capsules are designed for daytime use, which means you’ll receive effective pain relief without the crash. These CBD pills for pain contain CBD and sativa THC in a 3:1 ratio, meaning there is 30mg of CBD with 10mg THC in each capsule. All ingredients are natural and non-toxic, with no unnecessary ingredients or fillers.

Being manufactured in Canada, you can be confident that these capsules are pure, potent, safe and effective. They even come with verification from third-party lab tests.

Due to the THC content, this product may cause a slight buzz, however, it depends on your tolerance to THC. You’ll receive maximum benefits from the entourage effect, which provides CBD for back pain, joint pain, muscle pain, menstrual pain, and also relief from anxiety/depression (all without causing you to crash).

The CBD dosage for pain is 1 softgel capsule to start. It is advised to wait 45 minutes to 2 hours before taking more.


  • Canadian manufacturing
  • No unnecessary ingredients/no fillers
  • Created for daytime-no crash


  • May take up to 2 hours to feel full effects


  • Produces the entourage effect for maximum benefits
  • Third-party lab tests available


2 4:1 Ratio Tincture | Now + Then

If you’re not into CBD pills for pain, this one may be for you. Our second pick for CBD pain relief is a tincture from Now + Then. As with the 3:1 ratio capsules from Birch + Fog, this 4:1 ratio tincture contains both CBD and THC. It contains high CBD with low THC and has only three ingredients: MCT oil, CBD oil, and cannabis oil.

Providing CBD pain relief day or night, this tincture is potent and versatile. It is ideal for pain relief, depression/anxiety, and sleep. It can also be used by new or experienced cannabis users alike. You’ll experience the entourage effect with slightly lower psychoactive effects than a 3:1 ratio.


  • Great for daytime or nighttime
  • Can be used by new or experienced cannabis users


  • Necessary to measure tincture liquid


  • 3 ingredients-high CBD/low THC
  • Slightly lower psychoactive effects than a 3:1 ratio


3 CBD Pain Stick | Me First Wellness

If you’re suffering from isolated pain, such as with a bad knee or shoulder pain, this CBD cream for back pain (or any other joint/muscle pain) is what you need. Created by Me First, this pain stick comes with 300mg of full-spectrum CBD oil in addition to a cooling effect caused by menthol and peppermint oil.

Their full-spectrum blend is full of beneficial cannabinoids such as CBD, CBC, CBN, and phyto-cannabinoids. Once applied to the skin, you’ll get fast relief from muscle, joint, back, and even menstrual pain. This stick will give you the perfect amount of CBD for joint pain, leaving you feeling pain-free and ready to conquer your next big task. Convenient and easy to use, this no-mess stick is long-lasting and can be taken just about anywhere.


  • Long-lasting and easy to use
  • 300mg of full-spectrum CBD oil
  • Can be taken anywhere


  • Only provides relief where it is applied


  • Contains a blend of beneficial cannabinoids
  • No-mess application


Final Thoughts

When asking if CBD or THC works better for pain relief, it’s not always an easy and straightforward answer. Both provide unique benefits on their own but can be much more powerful when combined together, such as with a full-spectrum CBD oil for pain or a ratio product. It will also depend on your individual circumstances such as location/type of pain, level of pain, and body composition/chemistry. If you’re having difficulty calculating your CBD dosage for pain, click here for an easy guide.

Here at Birch + Fog, we have carefully hand-selected an entire online store of products, catering to your individuality. We know how debilitating pain can be and how imperative it is to have fast, effective relief. That is exactly why we now offer same day/next day shipping! You have our Birch + Fog guarantee!

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