CBD vs. THC
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s a cannabinoid - a natural compound - that’s found in cannabis plants (also known as cannabis sativa). It is not considered a controlled substance and is 100% non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t make you feel “high”.
What is THC?
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol and is also a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. Over 100 different cannabinoids have been idenified. THC is the cannabinoid responsible for causing the “high”.
Because THC is considered a controlled substance, it is illegal in some states. To see if THC is legal in your state, you can check HERE.
What is the difference between CBD and THC?
The main difference between CBD and THC is the effects they have on you. CBD will not make you “high”. THC does.
This is because CBD does not bind effectively to our endocannabinoid system. (ECS) The ECS is the largest neurotransmitter system in the human body and it contains receptors that regulate bodily functions such as mood, pain, memory, appetite, metabolism, bone development, sleep and immune function.
THC initiates a psychological response via the endocannabinoid system’s cannabinoid 1 receptors (CBD1), found primarily in the central nervous system and the brain. When the CB1 receptor is activated, it produces a psychoactive effect.
CBD doesn’t bind with the CB1 receptors and so has no effect on your perception or sensory experiences.
Both cannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors found in the human body and brain. However, their effects differ dramatically. CBD has the same chemical composition as THC but the atoms are in a different arrangement.
Both of them are considered cyclic compounds, which means one or more of the atoms in the compounds connect to form a ring. CBD has an open ring, while THC has a closed ring. It’s this arrangement that means they interact differently with the endocannabinoid system’s receptors.
This slight variance in the atoms’ configuration causes THC to create a psychoactive effect, while CBD does not. This means that when you ingest CBD you will more likely experience relief from your unwanted discomfort with little or no noticeable effects on your cognitive senses.
Because CBD is non-psychoactive it appears more frequently than THC in dietary and natural supplements. CBD has become vastly popular among medical marijuana patients that are uncomfortable with its psychoactive effects and do not wish to inhale smoke.
Industrial hemp is a derivative of the cannabis plant that contains large amounts of cannabidiol and low amounts of THC. Although CBD was discovered in 1940, its emergence has been slow due to the legal status of cannabis. However, CBD has eliminated its negative stigma, having been associated with marijuana, and many healthcare professionals are recommending it to help cope with various health conditions.
While THC and CBD are both found in cannabis plants, CBD is found in higher quantities in hemp. THC is most plentiful in other forms of cannabis. When other types of cannabis are grown, the THC content tends to be maximized to produce more powerful intoxicating effects. Hemp, on the other hand, is dominated by CBD. In order for a cannabis plant to be classified as “hemp”, its THC content cannot be more than 0.3%.
What are the medical benefits of CBD?
- Pain (neuropathic, chronic, cancer related, etc)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Broken Bones
- Bacterial Infections
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Heart Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Substance Abuse/Withdrawal
- Mad Cow Disease
In 2018 preliminary clinical research on cannabidiol included studies of anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain.
The effects of THC include:
- Altered sensed of sight, smell and hearing
- Reduced aggression
- Paranoia can result in some people
Research studies indicate that THC may be useful in helping with:
- Side Effects of Chemotherapy
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Spinal Injury: Lessen tremors
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Digestive Health
Research studies suggest that CBD can be better for inflammation and neuropathic pain. Indications are that THC may be better for spasticity and cramp-related pain. It is also noted that sometimes high doses of THC can exacerbate pain symptoms thereby indicating that THC should be used in small doses.
It should be noted that many individuals experience difficulty managing the side effects associated with THC, causing any potential benefits to become useless.
What makes CBD preferable to THC?
THC has considerable immediate and long-term cognitive side effects, which include impaired thinking and reasoning, altered decision making, reduced ability to plan and organize, and reduced control over impulses. The chronic use of THC has been linked to significant abnormalities in the heart and brain.
CBD lacks the harmful cognitive effects of THC. Some studies suggest it can actually counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. Ultimately, the lower health risks of CBD, combined with its effectiveness, make it a better option for natural applications than THC. CBD is an excellent option for people seeking the legal use and benefits of cannabis products without the “high”.
In December 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill was passed into law removing CBD from the DEA’s controlled substances list. This changed the classification for CBD from a drug thereby increasing exposure of potential medical CBD benefits by making it federally legal to use and sell in the United States.
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