Maybe you don't want to get high or maybe you're an athlete who's required to take drug tests, which usually test for the chemical breakdowns of THC. If so, you can probably find just the CBD extract (whether through oils, tinctures, etc.), which can provide not just the healing and recovery benefits post-workout, but also a little boost of energy if you use it before a workout, Chin says.
However, all three experts agree that you should use the whole plant if possible. Both THC and CBD have overlapping properties that regulate and enhance each other, Sulak says. For example, CBD counteracts the effect of THC, reducing the risk of unwanted side effects, like anxiety. Through different routes, both cannabinoids can also relax you, reduce anxiety (when you don't go overboard), and relieve pain. "You'll get a certain type of anti-inflammatory effect from CBD and you'll get another one from THC," says Sulak, adding that there are 100+ other cannabinoids in marijuana that also contribute to these effects.
It's the difference between eating a whole carrot and just a carotenoid tablet, Chin says. "It's not going to work the same as the whole carrot, which has other nutrients. So in a perfect world, we want to make use of the total plant."