With marijuana use becoming legal in a lot of places, the curiosity grows for the different options. Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) get a lot of attention due to the reported positive effects. Although they have a similar make-up, they do different things in the body.
What Is the Difference Between THC and CBD?
- Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two natural compounds found in Cannabis genus plants.
- CBD is typically found in hemp plant extractions. CBD is sold in gummies, oils, gels, extracts, supplements and other products.
- THC is the main psychoactive compound of marijuana. THC is available in oils, edibles, capsules, tinctures and more. Most people know that smoking marijuana causes the ingestion of THC.
- The two compounds, THC and CBD, both interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. However, they have very different effects on the body.
Chemical Structure and Interaction
- THC and CBD have the same molecular structure.
- They have 21 carbon atoms and 30 hydrogen atoms paired with 2 oxygen atoms.
- The difference in the arrangement of the atoms causes different effects on the body.
- THC and CBD can interact with your body’s cannabinoid receptors because of their chemical similarity.
- Neurotransmitters are released with the interaction of these chemicals.
- These cannabinoid receptors are all over the body and brain, which makes the interaction effects wide ranging from THC.
- Reaction times can be slowed down, the ability to remember things that have just happened is disrupted, and judgment can alter.
- The parts of the brain that are meant to make an individual feel good are also affected. This is what gives the “high” feeling from THC.
- CBD does not produce the “high” feeling that is associated with THC.
- THC is the main psychoactive component associated with marijuana. It affects cognition, memory, coordination, time perception and pleasure while giving a euphoric feeling (the “high”). The binding with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors is what causes this.
- Although they have similar chemical structures, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound. CBD does not give off a euphoric feeling like THC.
- CBD weakly binds to CB1 receptors, if it can bind at all. It can interfere with THC bindings and weaken the psychoactive effects of THC.
Legality in the United States
The legalization of marijuana and its products is an ongoing battle in the United States. Federal law prohibits the use, possession, and sale of it in all forms. Marijuana and THC are considered to be controlled substances. The use of THC and CBD remains controversial, but some states have legalized it.
Medical marijuana that has high levels of THC is legal in 30 states and Washington D.C. A licensed physician must prescribe it. In nine states and Washington, D.C. the recreational use of marijuana and THC has been legalized. On the federal level, it remains illegal.
States that allow marijuana for recreational or medical reasons is likely to allow the sale of CBD. Some countries have made CBD legal strictly for medicinal purposes.
Possessing cannabis will cause serious legal repercussions in states that it is prohibited. Even in states that allow medical use, a medical license is needed.
Medical benefits of THC and CBD
- For years the medical benefits of marijuana have been studied. Research demonstrates many of these benefits are legitimate. However, it remains controversial. With the controversy surrounding this topic, further studies must be advocated for.
- The limitations placed on marijuana research leaves scientists without a lot of answers. In addition to THC and CBD, there are 400 other compounds, with more than 60 being cannabinoids, that still need to be studied.
- Researchers believe that CBD and THC have medical applications. CBD effects the brain without a high and THC has pain relieving properties that cause a high.
- CBD, which is an extraction from the hemp plant, is less controversial due to having little intoxicating properties if any at all. Strains that are CBD-dominant have little to no THC and patients report little, if any, alterations in consciousness.
- Patients that use CBD report many benefits. Insomnia, anxiety, pain, inflammation, spasticity and epilepsy, a potentially life-threatening condition, is treated with CBD. Dravet syndrome, a form of childhood epilepsy is impossible to control, but it responds to a specific strain of marijuana that is CBD-dominant.
- CBD is also known to treat mental illness and addictions possibly.
- THC is known to increase appetite and reduce nausea. It also helps to decrease pain, inflammation and muscle control issues. Mainly, marijuana seems to ease the pain caused by multiple sclerosis and nerve pain in general.
- Marijuana may not be strong enough for severe pain, like a broken bone, but it is useful in treating chronic pain. In addition to this, recent animal studies show that marijuana extracts help kill certain cancer cells while reducing the other size. Purified extracts of THC and CBD, used on research mice, paired with radiation increased the cancer-killing effects.
CBD medical benefits include but are not limited to:
- Mental disorders
- Inflammatory bowel disease
THC is used to benefit:
- Muscle spasms
- Low appetite
- Treats PTSD
As research is continued, the health benefits of CBD and THC will continue to discover. Of course, risks will also found.
Side Effects of THC and CBD
Although neither compound is fatal, CBD is tolerated well even in large doses. Side effects that occur with the use of CBD are likely to be the result of a drug to drug interactions between CBD and another medication that is in use.
On the other hand, THC has a few side effects that are reported. The side effects are due to the psychoactive properties of THC.
The side effects are temporary. They include:
- Heart rate increase
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Slow reaction times
- Coordination issues
- Loss of memory
Serious side effects, such as the fatality, have not been reported with either compound. However, excessive use of THC can connect to long-term adverse psychiatric effects.
Testing for CBD and THC
- The body’s fat stores cannabinoids. Because of this, THC and CBD can appear on drug tests for several days or weeks after they are used.
- All drug tests are not able to detect CBD use. However, some tests are specifically sensitive to CBD. Standard drug tests usually test for THC related chemicals.
- Hemp produces some THC, in addition to CBD. A test may test positive for THC even if it has not used.
Where Can THC and CBD be Found?
CBD is extracted from the hemp plant. THC is found in the cannabis plant.
The United States as a whole does not allow the purchase, possession or use of marijuana because it is illegal on the federal level. However, some states have legalized it for recreational or medical reasons.
Where it is legal, dispensaries carry marijuana products.
THC and CBD have excellent medical benefits. They are considered to be safe, with no incidents of fatality or seriously harmful side effects. Despite the benefits that these compounds have, they remain illegal federally in the United States. This makes research difficult and access to everyone impossible, as all states have not legalized it. Before attempting to purchase or use THC or CBD, state laws should know.
High THC Strain Effects
Strains that are high in THC deliver extreme euphoria (the high feeling). High THC strains can be too much for most people. Unappealing effects that can come with strains that are high in THC include:
• Anxiety and paranoia
• Dry mouth and eyes
• Memory impairment
High CDB Strains Effects
Strains that are high in CBD deliver functional effects without the high or feelings of euphoria that are associated with strains high in THC. Strains high in CBD are usually preferred by consumers who are very sensitive to the side effects of THC, such as
- and anxiety
High CBD strains are great for people who need to medicate throughout the day.
It helps them control
- and other chronic conditions.
Strains that are balanced (CBD/THC) give off a little euphoric feeling, but they are less likely to trigger paranoia, anxiety and other adverse side effects that THC is known to give. These strains tend to be used to relieve pain. They are also suitable for consumers who are sensitive to THC but would like a calm buzz.
Are CBD and THC Better Used Together?
- Together, CBD and THC, produce what is called an “entourage effect.” Which means that they enhance the positive qualities of each other.
- CBD counteracts THC. It is good for people who need the benefits of THC but does not like the high that comes with it. THC can induce anxiety, paired with CBD; the user will be able to relax. CBD also improves the painkilling properties of THC.
- After a few months, the benefits of CBD can wear off. They are adding a small number of THC combats this.
- CBD and THC work well together. Different balances have different effects. In conclusion, the two are better together than apart.
Strains for Anxiety
CBD is known for helping with:
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Social phobias
- General anxiety
Unlike, THC, it does not have as many adverse effects and can even undo the harmful effects felt by the use of THC. THC can sometimes cause users to feel anxiety.
Strains that are best for helping with general anxiety are called Granddaddy Purple, Jack Herer, and Cannatonic. For social anxiety, Strawberry Cough and ACDC are best. Northern lights and White Fire OG are best for obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Strains for Sleep
THC strains are great for inducing tiredness. Suffering from insomnia can be cured with marijuana compounds. Blackberry Kush and Purple Urkle are great for assisting with insomnia.
Strains that are good for sleep in general:
- Tahoe OG Kush
- God’s Gift
- Afghan Kush
- Big Bud
- 9 Pound Hammer
If anxiety is an issue, caution should use when using THC heavy strains.
Strains for Pain
CBD has been linked with having more pain relieving qualities than THC.
ACDC and Blackberry Kush are good strains for general pain relief. Inflammation and arthritis are best solved with Blue Widow and Harlequin. Blueberry Headband and Purple Arrow relieve headaches and migraines.
Chronic pain relief can be relieved with these strains:
• Blue Dream
• White Widow
• Bubba Kush
• Jack Herer
Strains for Cancer
Strains high with both THC and CBD tend to be the most effective for pain relief. Cannabis is beneficial for cancer patients because it helps with killing cancer cells, nausea, appetite loss, pain relief and other ailments associated with cancer.
- For cancer patients who want the benefits of cannabis without the mental fog of THC, Harlequin has the perfect mixture of THC and CBD. ACDC is another choice that helps patients avoid the psychoactive effects of THC.
- Nausea is best treated with strains that have some THC, like Northern Lights and Blueberry Diesel. Appetite loss can be combated with Bubba Kush, which is high in THC, and Skywalker OG, which is not.
THC and CBD both have many great properties. There can propel medical advancements and benefit people who deal with chronic pain. They are effective means of treating constitutional issues in place of using opiates, which can be extremely addictive. CBD seems to be more beneficial than THC due to it not having the psychoactive effects. CBD will make it easy for people to treat themselves throughout the day. Although, both a very valuable.