Closeup of cannabis plant

CBD Vs THC – The Difference Between CBD and THC

Not long ago, the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes was legalized. This is mainly attributed to the numerous studies which proved that it provides health benefits. Today, weed products are easily accessible in dispensaries near you.

Talking about cannabis, you may have heard or read about the terms THC and CBD. These abbreviations are popular with cannabis enthusiasts, and it’s important that you know what they really are.

This article is dedicated to demystifying these two components.

CBD Definition

CBD in full is cannabidiol, and it is one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It is mainly derived from hemp, a cannabis strain that contains less than 0.3% THC.

To explain the effects of the two main compounds, we need to first understand the effects of cannabinoids on our bodies.

Just like all other vertebrates, human beings have the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that regulates and balances processes such as sleep, mood, pain, and appetite. Cannabinoids usually interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system whole CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system.

It is believed that CBD mainly binds to the CB2 receptors and therefore acts as a sedative. Further reading.

CBD has been shown to provide certain health benefits and is normally used to treat inflammation, mental disorders such as PTSD, epilepsy, migraines, and inflammatory bowel disease. This compound is available in many forms, for instance oils, gummies, supplements and gels.

CBD is just like most drugs because it usually doesn’t cause unpleasant side effects. In fact, studies on the use of CBD have revealed that side effects can only appear when it reacts to the user’s medication. Take a look at the study.

People with medical conditions prefer using CBD products because they’re not psychoactive.

THC Definition

THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is another popular cannabis compound. This is the psychoactive material that normally gives users a ‘high’.

Most recreational users look for strains that have a significant amount of THC because they want to feel the uplifting effect associated with THC. THC is derived from marijuana, a subspecies of cannabis that contains more THC than CBD.

How does THC cause a high effect? When taken in, this cannabinoid attaches mainly to the CB1 receptors and causes euphoria. Some health benefits of THC include increasing appetite, treating conditions such as nausea, anxiety, pain, glaucoma and insomnia. Due to its psychoactive properties, THC causes side effects like:

  • Loss of memory
  • Red eyes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Slow reaction times

Often, these side effects are caused by an overdose of THC. The good thing is that these side effects are temporary and they aren’t fatal.

CBD Vs THC – Which Is Better?

Which one would you rather take CBD or THC? To find out, we need to consider a few factors:

Typically, both CBD and THC have a similar chemical structure – 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms. The only that that brings about the differences in effects is the arrangement of these atoms. Since THC is psychoactive, it may alter normal functioning of the brain and may lead to effects such as paranoia. The two chemical compounds usually work hand in hand.

In one study human subjects were given CBD and later given a dose of pure THC. Results showed that these individuals were less likely to suffer from paranoia and anxiety – side effects associated with THC. The conclusion is that CBD cancels out or reduces the psychoactive effects if THC.

The “entourage or ensemble effect” is something that you also need to understand. This is where cannabinoids work together with other chemicals in cannabis such as terpenes. When this happens, effects of cannabinoids are enhanced. Products with rich terpene profiles have been found to be more effective. This study shows that the entourage effect is vital in treating various diseases.

So, which is better?

We suggest that you try to balance the amounts of THC and CBD in the products you’re using. Too much THC causes adverse effects, so avoid overdosing. Nowadays, there are strains that contain almost equal amounts of both compounds. Those would be great. You can go for products with more CBD if you don’t want any THC effects.

Remember that the effectiveness of weed products also depend on factors such as metabolism, age, and tolerance. Start with low amounts and find the minimum effective amount.

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