As the legal use of cannabis products increases, more and more people are becoming interested in learning the differences between two natural compounds in cannabis plants; cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Even though there are more than 100 types of cannabinoid compounds in cannabis plants, CBD and THC are considered to be the most commonly used and understood cannabinoids. Whilst these two compounds have a lot in common, CBD and THC do have a few key differences.
Both CBD and THC are derived from hemp or cannabis plants, however, they can affect users in very different ways. Generally, marijuana (the female plant) has significantly more THC compounds while hemp (the male plants) contains more CBD. These days, CBD is widely available in the form of oils, supplements, gels, gummies, extracts, whilst THC is often consumed by smoking or is sold in form of oils, capsules, tinctures, and edibles.
With more and more places legalizing both CBD and THC, here are the differences between CBD and THC products you need to know.
An Overview of CBD
Cannabidiol is commonly known as “CBD” and CBD is the non-psychoactive chemical found in cannabis plants and products. The experts from Joy Organics wholesale program explain that CBD has been found to have a variety of medical benefits for humans such as anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, anticonvulsant and antipsychotic effects, and antiemetic abilities. Furthermore, CBD is believed to have neuroprotective, anti-tumor, and immunomodulatory effects. Therefore, many people are using CBD products for medical purposes such as inflammation and pain relief, lower anxiety levels, fight cancer growth as well as treating neurological disorders, and many more.
An Overview of THC
Tetrahydrocannabinol is often referred to as “THC” and THC is the cannabinoid compound that is used for medical and recreational marijuana. THC produces the psychotropic effect in users that is mostly known as being “high”. Many individuals consider the psychotropic effect of THC enjoyable with moderate use, however, some people find THC and its effects to be unpleasant. Despite that, THC and its potential in various medical applications is still significant as THC also has benefits such as appetite stimulation, sleep aid, nausea suppression, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Chemical Structure of CBD and THC
Both CBD and THC are made up of a similar molecular structure of 2 oxygen atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 21 carbon atoms. However, there is a minor difference in how these atoms are arranged, which results in the different effects on users. Since both CBD and THC are chemically similar to the human body’s natural endocannabinoids, CBD and THC can interact with the cannabinoid receptors in human bodies.
CBD and THC can interact with cannabinoid receptors and release neurotransmitters in human brains, which can affect immune function, sleep and stress as well as how cells relay messages to each other and to the brain and other organs and various glands.
Psychoactive Components of CBD and THC
Despite having similar molecular structures, CBD and THC do have different effects on humans psychologically. CBD does not produce the same psychotropic effect that is commonly associated with THC. The sense of euphoria that is associated with marijuana uses is created by THC and how it binds to the cannabinoid 1 receptors in human brains. In contrast to THC, CBD binds with the cannabinoid 1 receptors weakly. Therefore, CBD generally needs THC to bind effectively to cannabinoid 1 receptors to produce a psychoactive effect such as sedation or euphoria. Because of this, CBD is generally considered to be useful for people suffering from anxiety, seizures, and depression whilst THC is more commonly linked to psychoactive effects for marijuana users.
Legality of CBD and THC
Nowadays, cannabis products have become legal in many places for both medical and recreational uses. However, in some specific places, CBD is still perceived as a Schedule I drug by law. Therefore, depending on the state and local law, CBD and THC may or may not be considered legal or not. It is important to note that the CBD and THC ratio as well as cannabis legality is varied between different markets as well.
Medical Benefits of CBD and THC
Despite having similar molecular structures, CBD and THC have both similar and different medical uses. Specifically, both CBD and THC can provide relief to a number of conditions including those which require therapeutic effects. The main difference between CBD and THC on the human body is mostly linked to euphoria. Therefore, many individuals prefer CBD over THC due to its lack of side effects. CBD is often used to treat epilepsy and anxiety and is neuroprotective and anticonvulsant and therefore has various other medical applications. THC is more popular with its euphoric and calming effects as well as providing significant pain relief. Common uses for THC include euphoria and relaxation as well as sleep aid and appetite stimulant.
Medical Conditions Associated with CBD and THC Uses
Numerous studies have found specific medical conditions that can be aided by using CBD and THC. Researchers found that CBD is useful in treating medical conditions such as schizophrenia, seizures, social anxiety disorder, depression and side effects of cancer treatments as CBD can reduce psychotic symptoms, lower anxiety as well as reducing nausea and pain levels. On the other hand, THC has a somewhat similar level of effectiveness in treating medical conditions as compared to CBD. THC can be used to treat chronic pain, reduce side effects of chemotherapy, improve spasticity as well as bladder function in multiple sclerosis and reduce pressure for glaucoma.
Possible Side Effects of CBD and THC
Both CBD and THC are non-fatal compounds. However, CBD is better tolerated for the human body. Researchers suggest that CBD can still have side effects if used with other medications. Common side effects of CBD include changes in appetite, weight loss, and other effects such as fatigue, diarrhea, and dizziness. On the other hand, THC can cause a number of temporary side effects including an increase in heart rate, experience coordination problems along with dry mouth, red eyes, slower reaction times as well as memory loss and anxiety.
Overall, both CBD and THC have excellent medical applications and are considered relatively safe compounds. However, it is important to understand their possible side effects and interactions with other medications. Both CBD and THC are two of many different chemicals present in cannabis products and when introduced to the human body, they can interact with cannabinoid receptors to have different effects.