In the age when various cannabis products are being researched, legalized, and accepted, it is imperative for people to get educated on this topic. The cannabis plant has a lot to offer and there are many different products that can be extracted from it to help people with various issues. Today we are going to talk about some of the most well-known chemicals that can be found in the plant – CBD and THC.
CBD and THC are cannabinoids that make up the largest portion of the cannabis plant. Both of these chemicals have effects on the endocannabinoid system. However, their natural effects are different.
So far, hundreds of cannabinoids have been discovered, but CBC (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) have been studied the most and, therefore, there are a lot of facts available.
Today we are going to reveal some of the most important facts and explain how these two are different.
CBD has no psychoactive effects while THC does
The first and probably most important difference between these two is that CBD has psychoactive effects while THC gives users that euphoric feeling when used. Simply put, THC gets people “high”.
The reason why CBD is not psychoactive is because this substance has an antagonist effect on all CB1 agonists and does not bind with its receptors. Simply put, CBD doesn’t make people high and it will actually counter the effects of psychoactive substances like THC.
When someone mentions marijuana, people usually think about THC. This is because this cannabinoid is mainly responsible for the “high” effects that the plant has. Unlike CBD, THC is an agonist for the CB1 receptors and all the feelings of euphoria, dizziness, and laugher that users have when using it are caused by the activation of these receptors.
Differences in the chemical structure
CBD and THC both have a molecular structure that contains 2 oxygen atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 21 carbon atoms. They are completely identical in this regard. However, their atoms are arranged in a different way and this is the reason why they have different effects.
CBD and THC have great chemical similarities with the endocannabinoids within our body and this is why they can interact with the receptors. Still, even though they are similar in structure the way their atoms are arranged makes a huge difference in the effects on neurotransmitters and receptors.
Both of these cannabinoids are cyclic compounds. This means that their atom series form a ring. However, THC has an ester group closed ring while the CBD has an open ring that contains alkene group and hydroxyl.
CBD’s home is hemp and THC’s is marijuana
Both CBD and THC are contained in flowers, stalks, and seeds of marijuana and hemp.
As we mentioned earlier, they have the highest proportions in all cannabis plants. However, the CBD dominates in hemp and THC dominates in marijuana. This is why marijuana is cultivated in such way to increase the THC amount even further.
As it owes the main and most desired effects to THC, marijuana has been modified to get as much THC as possible. A typical marijuana breed can have around 3% THC, but modern strains that have been modified can have up to 12% THC.
On the other hand, the chemical makeup of hemp favors CBD. The amount of THC in hemp can go as high as 0.3%, which is 10 times less than a basic marijuana strain. In hemp, the chemical makeup is different and CBD dominates it. This is why hemp is one of the best products where users can get CBD while bypassing THC and psychoactive effects.
Differences in health benefits
When it comes to health benefits, probably one of the most important differences is the fact that these cannabinoids affect different parts of the body. The THC receptors which are affected by the use of this substance are located within the brain. On the other hand, CBD receptors can be found all over the nervous system, with the majority being located in the spleen.
This is why CBD has great anti-inflammatory abilities and why it can help combat various diseases. A lot of diseases cause inflammation or are further strengthened by it and this is why CBD can be helpful with them.
CBD also has the power to protect to cells within the body, particularly nerve cells, as its anti-inflammatory capabilities prevent cell deterioration and damage.
This is why CBD can be beneficial for treating MS, arthritis, epilepsy, and seizures. Even though THC doesn’t have the wide range of health benefits that CBD has it can be effective for treating Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. There are also studies that suggest that THC can help with multiple sclerosis and pain management.
Differences in side-effects
Neither CBD nor THC has major side-effects and it’s impossible to overdose on them. THC has the potential to cause smaller side effects such as dry mouth, forgetfulness, red eyes, slower movement, and slight difficulties with coordination.
On the other hand, it’s not recommended for people with psychiatric disorders such as anxiety or schizophrenia to take THC as it might worsen their problem.
As far as CBD is concerned studies have shown that even huge amounts are tolerated very well and that it is completely safe. Still, like with THC, there are reports of rare cases of drowsiness, lightheadedness, diarrhea, and potential dry mouth. However, a study has confirmed that it’s completely safe to use and that it has far fewer side-effects than other substances used for treating the same health issues.
The final difference between these two is that THC is mostly illegal in countries across the world and that CBD is legal. The reason for this are the psychoactive effects that THC has.
However, there are more and more countries legalizing medical marijuana and marijuana for recreational purposes as well. This trend is expected to continue, as there is an increasing amount of scientific research on the topic each year.