You should know the difference between THC vs. CBD if you're interested in cannabis products. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are two of the most abundant natural cannabinoids. Interest in the effects, benefits and possible use of cannabinoids has reached epic proportions. Especially after the legalization of recreational and medical cannabis. In this article, we discuss THC vs. CBD, their differences, how they interact with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) and their uses and benefits.
Cannabis plants have been used for recreational and medicinal purposes for centuries. To date, scientists have isolated and characterized over 113 cannabinoid compounds. Cannabinoids are substances that interact with the human ECS. They cause a wide range of effects that vary from person to person. The two most commonly recognizable compounds are THC and CBD.
What is THC?
In order to differentiate between THC vs. CBD, we will first start with THC. THC is the principal psychoactive compound in cannabis and is responsible for the “high” you experience after smoking or consuming a cannabis product. It is a fatty compound that plays a key role in the cannabis plant's self-defense, primarily against insect predation. THC also protects the plant from ultraviolet radiation as well as environmental stress. Lastly, THC is soluble in most organic solvents such as alcohols and lipids, but has low solubility in water.
THC interacts with the ECS via the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, which is located in the Central Nervous System. It also interacts with the CB2 receptor, which influences the immune system. THC’s psychoactive effects are a result of the activation of CB1 receptors. THC use is commonly associated with side effects such as poor motor coordination, lowered concentration and a decline in short term memory.
Despite its notoriety for being psychoactive, THC has a number of medical applications which include the management of multiple sclerosis where it alleviates neuropathic pain. Additionally, the FDA approved synthetic THC as an appetite stimulant in people living with HIV/AIDS. Its effects on the CB2 receptors also suggest anti-inflammatory benefits. THC is similar to CBD in terms of health benefits. However, the main difference is that CBD does not share THC's psychotropic effects, which may or may not be preferred.
What is CBD?
CBD is the second most abundant cannabinoid. It isn’t psychoactive and dampens the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD has also received widespread acclaim for its supposed health benefits and potential to treat a number of illnesses. In addition, studies have shown CBD to take the place of medications prescribed for pain, anxiety, pediatric epilepsy, opioid addiction.
CBD is soluble in organic solvents such as alcohol and lipid-based solvents, but not soluble in water. CBD interacts directly with the ECS, similarly to THC. However, the action of CBD on cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 sets off other receptors such as TRPV1 that regulate functions such as inflammation and the perception of pain.
The interaction of CBD with serotonin receptors blocks reabsorption of serotonin in the brain. This increase in serotonin translates to better sleep, improved memory, a general feeling of wellness and a great mood. On the other hand, low serotonin amounts have been linked to depression and anxiety.
THC vs. CBD - Similarities and Differences
CBD and THC are nearly identical in their chemical makeup. Both compounds contain 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. However, the position of a single atom makes CBD non-psychoactive. THC binds directly to CB1 receptors, that triggers signals in the brain. This effect simulates the sensation of getting high. CBD on the other hand, is incapable of binding directly to CB1 receptors. CBD causes the uncoupling of THC and CB1 receptors in some cases.
THC and CBD share many of the same medical benefits. Each can provide some relief from the same conditions that the other can. To date, only one CBD-based drug, Epidiolex (for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy), has been approved by the FDA. Whereas THC is present in many strains of recreational cannabis and is illegal in most parts of the world.
Both compounds have known side effects that include diarrhea, nausea, drowsiness, low blood pressure and may also cause developmental problems in unborn children. Cannabinoids have the ability to permeate the placental barrier, which puts a growing fetus at risk. THC has also been associated with psychiatric effects with long term use.
THC and CBD are active cannabinoids with almost similar properties and benefits. With the exception that THC is psychoactive. Other than that, THC offers almost every other medical benefit associated with CBD use such as pain relief, management of anxiety and more. Research on the safety and efficacy of the medical applications of CBD is still ongoing, but initial results look promising.
Can Be Done - Attitude is Everything
We hope our comparison of THC vs. CBD will help you make informed decisions. Check out our products and try high quality CBD. As always, we wish you and your loved ones good health and we are here help however best we can.