Products made from Cannabis sativa are very famous. This is thanks to their therapeutic benefits; their protagonists: THC and CBD. That is the compounds cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They are, without a doubt, the most talked-about cannabinoids.
The close relationship between these compounds is serious. Coming from Cannabis, it may make you confuse them or think they are the same. But no, they both act differently in our body. Let’s take a look at this CBD vs. THC dispute to get to know them better.
CBD vs. THC
You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Cannabis and Marijuana as their legality continues to grow. Well, here you are going to expand on the information you already have. You will see more about the main differences between CBD or cannabidiol and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.
Undoubtedly, these are two cannabinoids that have gained tremendous popularity nowadays. THC is usually a narcotic substance and is harmful to the health of the consumer. On the other hand, CBD is not in the control lists of narcotic drugs.
Therefore, it cannot be such a thing. In fact, in various reports issued by the World Health Organization. It has been stated that it is not a substance harmful to one’s health.
So It cannot be equated to any of the controlled substances on the list of narcotic drugs. Since it lacks psychoactive effects, it does not generate dependence. Moreover, its therapeutic value should be significant.
First, there are different varieties of Cannabis. Marijuana is a type of cannabis plant that has the psychoactive components. But there is also hemp, which has no psychoactive elements. Therefore, it is entirely safe to use.
That is why, over time, hemp has become entirely legal to produce and consume. Marijuana has also become more accepted. Laws in different places are trying to make it legal for medical use and even for recreational use.
Secondly, there are several different types of chemical compounds. These can be in cannabis plants and their strains. Two of the best known are THC and CBD. Both are part of the same family of chemical compounds of cannabinoids. Both share similar properties but also have some crucial differences.
Have you heard of one or both of these compounds? If you want to try them for recreational or medical reasons, get to know them. It’s essential to understand what they are and what their differences are.
Here is a quick beginner’s guide to THC and CBD
The cannabis plant initially produces cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) concerning how these molecules are synthesized. This is also known as the parent cannabinoid. This can be converted into tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) or cannabidiol acid (CBDA).
These, when subjected to decarboxylation, are transformed into THC and CBD, respectively. Decarboxylation occurs typically during the drying and curing process of the plant. It is a consequence of the exposure of the plant to heat and light.
Cannabinoids are capable of causing different reactions in our organism, like altering the blood pressure, accelerating the metabolism, or favoring the secretion of a specific neurotransmitter. All this is made possible by a complex system of intercellular communication.
It is known as the endocannabinoid system. It is made up of specific receptors capable of activating after interacting with a ligand. Within this system, there are several receptors. The main ones are CB-1 and CB-2, which differ in their location and the changes they can produce in the human body.
CB1 receptors have psychoactive effects since they are predominant at the level of the central nervous system. In structures that affect our behavior, memory, and movement. Such as the hippocampus, basal ganglia, cortex, and cerebellum. These receptors can also be in the lungs, adipose tissue, and gastrointestinal tract.
CB2 receptors are in the immune system and are part of the response. They can be in the spleen, skin, and inflammatory cells of the nervous system. THC can interact with and activate these two receptors, creating the sensation of being “high”. CBD differs from the previous one.
It does not directly activate the endocannabinoid system. However, because it has a low affinity for CB-1 and CB-2 receptors, it can activate other receptors such as GPR55, 5-HT1A, and TRPV receptors.
Although both CBD and THC are similar in chemical structure, their psychoactive effects are very different. CBD, on the other hand, does not cause the high associated with THC. In addition, CBD can be effective in treating anxiety, depression and seizures.
At the same time, it can diminish specific unwanted psychoactive effects of THC. For example, the sedative effect of euphoria. CBD, if it succeeds in doing so, could achieve a fragile binding to CB1 receptors.
These are cannabinoid receptors in our brain. In fact, for it to bind to these receptors, it would need THC. However, unlike CBD, THC does bind to CB1 receptors. Thus it ends up generating a high or a very intense sensation.
THC acts by stimulating brain cells that control the release of various hormones and neurotransmitters. Plus other signals through your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). That includes dopamine, which can create a feeling of euphoria.
It also includes various transmitters that make you hallucinate. It also alters your standard line of thinking and other various components of getting “high”.
THC is the component that has led countries worldwide to ban Marijuana. CBD, containing almost no THC, is allowed in many places. THC is the component that makes marijuana “stoned”. For this reason, it is illegal in most places. But CBD can be in many products. Among them are gummies, oils, etc.
Imagine you are taking a drug test for whatever reason. You might be concerned that CBD might show up in the test since most of these look for concentrations of Cannabis. However, it is improbable that CBD will show up since the tests are looking for THC metabolites, not CBD.
The key is to understand the difference between THC and CBD. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are natural compounds found in Cannabis. CBD is in extracts of the hemp plant. While THC, the main psychoactive component of Cannabis, is in the flowers. Unlike THC, CBD does not “get you high” because it is a non-psychoactive compound.
Benefits of CBD and THC
CBD is commonly used as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. There are numerous published analyses and studies that support the beneficial properties of CBD. These benefits are:
- Relieves pain
- Helps against anxiety and stress
- Helps to sleep
- Relaxes muscles
- Improves cardiovascular system
- Diabetes prevention
THC also has its positive effects. Many people use THC to treat illnesses or problems. Among them:
- Muscle stiffness, present in multiple sclerosis.
- Trouble falling asleep
Risks and Side Effects
Any medication can cause different side effects during treatment, depending on different factors such as the dose and the individual’s reception to the medication. For this reason, when specialists prescribe treatment, they seek to comply with the therapeutic window.
This is the range between the minimum effective concentration and the minimum toxic concentration. In other words, the plasma concentration is necessary for the drug to be effective but not toxic.
For this reason, people recommend first consult with a specialist in the area. This before taking any medication, including those containing Cannabis.
Due to its psychoactive nature, THC can have several adverse effects. Mainly if high amounts of it are consumed, such as:
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Increased appetite
- Short-term memory loss
When prescribing medical cannabis products containing THC, specialists usually recommend hybrid products that also contain CBD. The concentration of CBD is higher than that of THC. Increasing the dosage of the same as the response, it has on the patient is evaluated.
CBD has a wide therapeutic window. Thus, it has low toxicity, with no convincing evidence that this cannabinoid can cause adverse health effects.
However, a study suggests that some adverse effects of CBD could be:
- Changes in weight and appetite
Despite its low toxicity, it is advisable to follow the recommendation of a health specialist before taking CBD.
Cannabis is loaded with more than 85 active cannabinoids that have different effects on the human body. The two most common and well-known components are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC has an unwavering reputation for the effects it produces.
It is a “popular fad” that has shaken the music world, industry professionals, and cannabis enthusiasts. On the other hand, there is CBD. There are many different CBD potent cannabis strains available on the market today. However, most people rely on this compound for its medicinal properties. They ingest it through a liquid.
One example is cannabis oil tinctures or gummies. In recent decades, scientists have discovered medicinal benefits associated with CBD. It has anti-cancer, anticonvulsant, and analgesic properties. Moreover, since it does not get high, like THC, children can take prescribed doses.