CBD vs. THC: Explaining the Difference, Benefits, and Effects

CBD vs. THC

The cannabis plant comes with several health benefits despite one of its components, making users feel high. Several studies show that cannabis Sativa has components such as CBD and THC that aid in relieving various diseases. Manufacturers in the health and wellness industry are currently offering a myriad of cannabis products. However, it is crucial to know the difference between CBD and THC to understand how they work. Continue reading to find out more.

What Are CBD and THC

CBD stands for cannabidiol, while THC means tetrahydrocannabinol. The two are called cannabinoids. While CBD is abundant in industrial hemp, THC levels are high in marijuana. Note that the 2018 Farm Bill was passed into law. It recognizes that hemp is a plant that contains no more than 0.3% THC, which makes it and its derivatives legal. Marijuana, on the other hand, has THC levels as high as 30%.

THC and CBD have similar components, but they differ in their chemical structure. For that reason, they interact differently with the endocannabinoid system in the human body.

Which one makes people high?

THC is a psychoactive component that makes users feel high. That is why many states consider it illegal. However, CBD does not affect the normal functioning of your brain. It can counter the psychoactive effects of THC to minimize the high feeling.

To understand how these two components cause different effects in your body, it is crucial to know how the endocannabinoid system in your body works. The system is responsible for regulating various functions in your body, for instance, appetite, mood, immune system, sleep, and pain. Your body produces its cannabinoids to control these functions. However, the cannabis plant contains cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC) that boost the functioning of your endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system has CB1 and CB2 receptors, and THC and CBD work by interacting with these receptors. CBD receptors are found abundantly in the part of the brain that controls mental and physiological functions such as emotion, memory, high cognition, and motor cognition. On the other hand, CBD receptors are present throughout the central nervous and immune system.

The interaction between these receptors and cannabinoids such as CBD and THC boosts health benefits such as pain and anxiety relief, appetite stimulation, and mod management. THC and CBD have similar components, but they differ in their molecular structure (the arrangement of the elements).

Both CBD and THC bind with CB2 receptors. However, they interact with CB1 receptors differently. Due to its molecular structure, THC binds directly with CB1 receptors, and signals are sent to the brain, which leads to the psychoactive effects of getting high.

Nevertheless, CBD binds weakly to CB1 receptors, if at all. CBD does not attach directly to CB1 receptors and can even negate the bond between THC and the CB1 receptors, thus neutralizing THC’s psychoactive effects.

Note that CB1 receptors are present abundantly in the brain, and they are responsible for mental processes such as motor co-ordination, emotion, memory, and cognition. Consuming high amounts of THC can cause impaired thinking, affect decision-making, euphoria, decreased impulse control, and altered sense of hearing, sight, and smell.

Which one beneficial for health

Both THC and CBD are beneficial for your health. THC has benefits, but not everyone prefers its mind-altering effects. However, manufacturers use industrial hemp that contains 0.3 % THC in making CBD products, an amount that will not make you feel high.

Marijuana, however, can have as high as 30 % THC, which will alter your cognitive functioning. Since there are legal issues surrounding THC and marijuana, it is prudent to use CBD products instead, since they offer multiple health benefits, even though THC is also helpful.

CBD and THC assist in managing pain, anxiety, and nausea. They relieve these symptoms to help you feel better and more comfortable. However, THC also helps with insomnia, low appetite, and muscle spasticity.

CBD relieves seizures, depression, migraines, and inflammation. When medication is not easing your condition, try CBD products. They are available in various forms, including topical, gummies, oil, spray, and gummies. However, always speak with your doctor first before using any product. CBD topicals such as creams, balms, and salves are ideal for joint pain. You use them on a specific part of your body. Edibles take time to yield relief, but the effects last longer. However, vaping and sublingual use of CBD products provide quick results, yet the effect does not last a while.

The FDA approved a drug called Epidiolex that contains CBD to assist in treating epilepsy. It reduces the severity and frequency of seizures to minimize discomfort and suffering. This proves that cannabidiol has a promising future.

Side Effects

CBD does not make you feel high even when you take high amounts. As mentioned earlier, it suppresses the CB1-activating function of THC to reduce the psychoactive effect. Note that, some products contain CBD and some THC higher than 0.3%.

However, THC might cause red eyes, increased heart rate, dry mouth, memory loss, and co-ordination issues.

The legality of CBD and THC

Since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed into law, hemp and its derivatives such as CBD and 0.3% THC are legal at the federal level. However, to be on the right side of the law, make sure you check the regulation of the state you are in. Some states have legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes. That makes THC products in such areas legal.

Bottom line

CBD and THC both have benefits. However, products with more than 0.3% THC are considered illegal unless the law in your state recognizes them as legal. However, CBD products made from industrial hemp contain high levels of CBD, and only 0.3% THC or less. CBD offers several benefits, as it relieves pain, anxiety, depression, and seizures.

THC and CBD have similar components, but the two cannabinoids have different chemical structures. While THC is psychoactive and directly interacts with CB1 receptors, CBD is not psychoactive and weakly binds with CB1 receptors or does not at all. CBD products are legal at the federal level, but some states might not recognize that. Always check the local regulations to establish whether it is legal to use CBD or THC products in the area.

Source Links

  • https://medium.com/cbd-origin/cbd-vs-thc-the-difference-explained-b3cfc1da52f0
  • https://www.medicalmarijuanainc.com/differences-cbd-thc/
  • https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/whats-the-deal-with-these-hgh-cbd-strains
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325871.php
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-vs-thc