Many people consider CBD (cannabidiol) to be the ultimate cure-all. People who have pain, anxiety, and those who experience seizures think CBD to be a hero in helping them get rid of their troubles. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cousin of CBD, and both are natural compounds extracted from the Cannabis genus. Like CBD, it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. THC is found in marijuana plants, while CBD is found in hemp plants. While CBD and THC may be closely related, there are glaring differences between them. It is important to know their specific features because they have different effects on the body, and different laws also apply to each.
The following are the differences between CBD and THC:
- CBD and THC Interact with the Endocannabinoid System Differently
Both CBD and THC have similar chemical structures. They both have a similar number of hydrogens, carbon, and oxygen atoms. However, the arrangement of their molecules are not the same, and this spells a vast difference in the way they affect the body.
As mentioned, both substances interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates immune responses, appetite, metabolism, memory, and more. The endocannabinoid system has two specialized receptors, namely CB1 and CB2. THC binds with both CB1 and CB2 receptors, with a stronger connection with CB1 receptors.
CBD behaves as an antagonist to these receptors and has little affinity with them. CBD acts as a suppressant of CB1 and CB2, and other cannabinoids. Instead of getting hallucinogenic or psychoactive effects, CBD gives you a different experience entirely. CBD also binds with serotonin receptors and the vanilloid receptors, which is responsible for pain sensations. Because of this, CBD is effective in pain alleviation.
- CBD and THC are Found in Different Strains of Cannabis Plants
Marijuana and hemp are both cannabis plants, but they differ in the amounts of THC and CBD present in each. THC is found in high quantities in the marijuana plant, with as much as 12 to 30 percent THC. Different strains of marijuana will have varying amounts of THC, but the content of THC in marijuana will always be higher than hemp. Marijuana was cultivated for its THC content, which is famous with recreational users for the high and psychoactive effects it gives.
Hemp, on the other hand, has high CBD and has only 0.3 percent THC. This amount is 10 percent less than in marijuana. Hemp is an ideal source of CBD because of its abundance in it.
- CBD and THC’s Effects on the Body and Thought Process
Although CBD and THC have similar molecular structures, they bind with the endocannabinoid differently, thus causing a vast difference in how they affect the body. THC promotes CB1 receptors in the brain and causes a person to feel that high or euphoric feeling. This feeling is a direct result of THC activating the CB1 receptors.
CBD, on the other hand, behaves as a suppressant and won’t cause a high no matter how much of it is consumed. It suppresses CB1-activating features like the one caused by THC. CBD is non-psychoactive and even moderates the effects of THC.
- CBD and THC’s Medicinal Benefits
CBD and THC can both benefit your health and are said to cure ailments. However, THC has psychoactive or hallucinogenic effects that turn a lot of people off. Many people choose CBD over THC because you can do regular tasks with CBD as it doesn’t alter the thought process.
CBD is seen to be highly effective against seizures caused by two types of epilepsy, namely the Dravet syndrome and the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). Epidiolex is a CBD-based drug issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it is used to combat these two types of epilepsy.
CBD is also seen to be effective against soreness, pain, psychosis or mental disorders, stomach upset, vertigo, headaches, mood disorders, anxiety and stress.
THC, on the other hand, is also as good as CBD in treating pain, nausea, and anxiety. However, differentiating it from CBD, THC is also found to be good for low appetites, eye diseases, and muscle contractions. Medical marijuana is also considered to be an effective treatment against Parkinson’s disease tremors.
- Differences in Legal Status between CBD and THC
THC is the main point of contention when it comes to legalizing cannabis products. Marijuana and THC are considered controlled substances, and as far as US laws are concerned, they are prohibited under federal law. However, 33 states have passed a law in favor of medical marijuana, which has high levels of THC, provided that a licensed physician monitors its use. CBD is mostly legal in the US, but the content must be high CBD and low in THC. CBD is not under controlled substances and can be freely used and bought in the US.
- Side Effects of CBD and THC
The body has better tolerance for CBD, and many studies have shown that it has little to no side effects. The downside of CBD is connected mainly to its reaction in drug-to-drug interactions. THC, on the other hand, has a lot of side effects, especially when consumed in large quantities. Teenagers, in particular, experience severe side effects because their brains are still developing. The main side effect of THC largely involves its psychoactive features. People who consume THC may experience increased heart rates, coordination problems, dry mouth, red eyes, slower reaction times, and memory loss.
- THC and CBD Heal Different Kinds of Pain
According to research, CBD may be better for inflammation and neuropathic pain. THC, on the other hand, is better for cramp-related pain. THC should only be consumed in small amounts since high amounts of it can exacerbate pain. Experts suggest that a combination of THC and CBD is the best way to heal pain, and this is known as the entourage effect.
CBD and THC are natural remedies that heal and mitigate many ailments. It takes an open mind to do further research of these substances so their potential can be explored. Much of the research is in favor of both THC and CBD, and the future may see laws being modified to make way for the benefits that THC and CBD will have on the medical world.