The Difference Between THC and CBD
THC and CBD are becoming the most popularly known acronyms. Trending in mainstream media, and medical fields alike. As you probably know, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) come from the same plant, cannabis. And most notably, CBD doesn’t get you high, or euphoric like THC. But do you know how their effects are uniquely individual, beyond that? Let’s check out the differences between CBD and THC, and how they’re both equally beneficial in their own ways.
High Gains, Low Highs
With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD is bigger than ever. From gas stations, to big box retailers, you can find products infused with the compound practically everywhere. Providing high gains for medical users, with low or zero highs many are now seeking. So how does CBD help your health, without giving you that typical buzz of THC? It’s all in the science of the nug.
One thing that THC and CBD share, is their chemical structures. Each contain 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The difference being when consumed, THC and CBD interact with your body in their own special ways.
But why? The reason is the way atoms are arranged within the compounds. This arrangement affects how THC and CBD work with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Therefore, signaling different receptors and amplifying the compounds’ unique effects.
For instance, THC binds to the body’s CB1 receptors. This is what brings on your buzz, or psychoactive affects you feel when getting ‘high’. CBD does not bind to this receptor and can even inhibit it. Meaning, CBD can actually reduce your feelings of euphoria when combining the two.
The cannabis plant is made up of two types or genus’ – marijuana and hemp. Both grow the same, flower the same and each contain CBD and THC. Which is why by legalization standards, CBD can contain >.3% of THC.
But the big difference is hemp plants, predominantly produce CBD. And marijuana predominantly produces THC. Different strains or genes of cannabis plants also carry varied doses of the compounds. Growers are even using particular methods that can increase or decrease the amounts of THC or CBD in the bud. Hence the variation of strengths in top shelf products, or heightened potencies.
High on benefits
Whether you’re getting high or not, both CBD and THC are high on health benefits. As studies grow, science is only further proving how both compounds can help treat serious to mild conditions.
While the two both address common issues like anxiety, pain and nausea, their internal workings affect medical disorders differently. Like Epilodex, a pharmaceutical containing CBD that has been FDA approved for epilepsy. The World Health Organization also states that CBD can potentially treat the following:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- IBD, inflammatory disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Diabetic symptoms
But that doesn’t mean, THC can’t help supporting improved health too. Because of limited studies into the plant thus far, we’re only now realizing its’ full scope of medical benefits.
So, getting buzzed is now more than just munchies, and good feels. Researchers are quickly realizing the benefits of THC treating muscle spasticity, common in MS. Along with its’ aid for conditions like glaucoma, insomnia and low appetite (queue those munchies, now!). Hybrid products containing THC and CBD are now commonly produced to combine these unique treatments for a wide variety of medical conditions.
On the side
While CBD virtually has zero (or low) side effects for users, THC’s psychoactive effects does produce a few. This is why many consumers choose CBD vs. THC, today. The stereotypical glazed and blazed red eyes is just one. Other potential side effects of your THC high, some are avoiding with CBD include:
- lack of coordination
- dry mouth
- increased heart rate
- slower reaction times
- memory loss
With that said, early studies show that cannabis may help improve focus, and memory retention. This is in part, thanks to the terpene pinene that can be found in both CBD and THC.
Under the law
And lastly, the gap of legality between CBD and THC is huge. Like we’ve mentioned, CBD with levels less than .3% of THC is now fully legal in the US. Even sold at big retailers, and pharmacies. However, THC remains illegal for many. This is quickly changing as more states and countries legalize recreational and medical use. But the bud is working against the tide, after being classified as a ‘drug’ for the majority of this modern era. Many medical and social advocates are working hard to break these stigmas to further allow the availability of THC for those who need (or want) it.
The more you know
The more you know on CBD and THC and how they can work for the body, the better you can choose the best ratio for what you’re trying to treat. Whether you’re looking to just unwind and relieve some stress…or treat chronic pain…combining them or using them separately, can help. Most products now list compound and terpene levels, doing the work for you. And, with legalization spreading, the possibilities of CBD and THC will only continue to rise.