CBD and THC are two compounds found in cannabis. While both are derived from the same plant, Cannabis sativa, these compounds have distinct properties and effects on the body. Understanding the differences between CBD vs THC is crucial for anyone seeking to explore their potential therapeutic uses and make informed decisions.

In this blog post, we will understand the differences between CBD and THC, highlighting their unique characteristics and exploring the range of benefits they offer.

What is CBD?

CBD or Cannabidiol

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a chemical found in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as cannabis or hemp. Among several forms of this drug, one specific form has been approved in the United States for seizures.

The cannabis sativa plant contains more than 80 chemicals known as cannabinoids. Among them, CBD appears to have an impact on certain brain chemicals. However, these effects are very different from THC effects (Tetrahydrocannabinol).

A prescription form of CBD can be legally used as a relief treatment for seizure disorder (epilepsy). CBD can also be used for anxiety, pain, and muscle disorders called dystonia, Parkinson’s, Crohn’s, and several other conditions. However, there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Laws that were passed in 2018 made it legal to sell hemp and hemp products in the United States. However, this does not mean all CBD hemp products are legal. Due to its classification as an approved prescription drug, including CBD in foods or dietary supplements is prohibited by law. However, CBD is permissible in products categorised as “cosmetics.”

Despite these regulations, it is worth noting that certain CBD products labelled as “dietary supplements” can still be found in the market. One must be very careful while purchasing and consuming such drugs because the amount of CBD in these products sometimes differs from what is stated on the label.

What is THC?

THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol

THC(Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the major psychoactive component and one of the one hundred and thirteen cannabinoids recognized in cannabis. In simple words, THC is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects.

A chemically synthesised form of THC, dronabinol, is FDA-approved for managing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; it is also utilised for appetite stimulation in patients with HIV or AIDS and Anorexia

Another synthetic form of THC, nabilone, is FDA-approved for use in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting alongside dronabinol. Aside from the two mentioned synthetic formulations of THC, there are a few more that are FDA-approved. 

Cannabis, and therefore by extension, THC., which is the major psychoactive component, is legal in several states and used by several patients for medical and recreational purposes.

What is differences between CBD VS THC?

  1. CBD and THC are two distinct substances present in cannabis plants.
  2. CBD is often sold as an oil and is not psychoactive. It also has certain medicinal properties. The main psychoactive chemical in marijuana appears to be THC.
  3. THC and CBD both have an effect on the endocannabinoid system: a system that plays a significant role in maintaining and regulating homeostasis. While researchers are still looking into this topic, and it appears to be quite complex, they do know that it is associated with the processes including memory, appetite, sleep, mood, and fertility. 
  4. For the common man, understanding the difference between CBD and THC is complicated because the hemp or marijuana plant contains both. People who abuse marijuana are addicted to the psychoactive properties of THC. 
  5. While there is ongoing debate regarding the addictive nature of marijuana, it is important to acknowledge that it can be habit-forming for some individuals. However, it is crucial to differentiate Cannabidiol (CBD) from this generalisation, as it is non-psychoactive and does not possess addictive or habit-forming properties in itself.
  6. It should be noted that individuals may choose to smoke marijuana to harness the potential medicinal benefits of CBD and, in turn, develop a habit. To mitigate potential risks, the safest approach to accessing the medicinal advantages of marijuana is to utilize CBD oil in its isolated form. This method allows individuals to obtain the benefits of Cannabidiol without experiencing any psychoactive effects.

Moreover, it is imperative to stay abreast of ever-changing laws when comparing CBD and THC. Under federal law, marijuana and THC are classified as controlled substances. Because laws are constantly changing and there are often conflicts between state and local laws, the situation remains to be somewhat confusing.

For those who consume cannabis products for medical reasons, it is advised that they check with the most recent state laws and make sure their prescription remains valid.

THC & CBD: Psychoactive Properties:

CBD and THC affect different chemical receptors in the brain; because of this, CBD typically does not have any psychoactive effects. THC, however, is psychoactive in nature. It is the compound that produces the high that people associate with the consumption of marijuana. 

THC Vs CBD: Sources:

While CBD can be sourced from either hemp or marijuana, it is mostly derived from hemp in order to avoid the addition of larger amounts of THC. THC, however, is derived from marijuana. CBD, maybe in some rare cases, derived from marijuana. However, this CBD may comprise more amount of THC, which will present to be difficult for those people who are trying to avoid THC. 

THC & CBD: Effects:

Some research suggests that CBD and THC are generally safe when used at recommended dosages. However, while these substances appear safe, that does not warrant that you will not experience any potentially unwanted effects.

Some of these effects are:

  • Changes in mood
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feelings of anxiety or other mood changes
  • Nausea and dizziness.

Marijuana in itself is capable of having a number of short-term as well as long-term effects, including impaired short-term memory, altered judgment, and impaired coordination. Research studies also suggest that marijuana holds the ability to alter the development of the brain, which may lead to cognitive impairment.

THC & CBD: Chemical Structure:

Both THC and CBD have a chemical structure that is similar to the body’s natural endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are a class of neurotransmitters that play a role in brain function. While CBD and THC have the same molecular structure, their differences lie in how their molecules are arranged. This arrangement of molecules is what is responsible for the differing effects of the two chemicals.

Benefits of CBD & THC –

  • THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) are the two most well-known cannabinoids found in cannabis. When describing the unique benefits of these biochemicals, people often compare them to each other. However, research suggests that they are most effective when used together.
  • CBD has gained significant attention as a therapeutic option due to its increased availability. One reason for its popularity is that CBD does not have psychoactive effects, unlike THC.
  • Relief from chronic pain is one of the most common reasons patients use medical cannabis. Many individuals report severe pain as a medical condition when seeking medical marijuana. Additionally, some people have substituted conventional pain medications with cannabis, including opioids.

While research on the potential health benefits of THC vs CBD, and other cannabinoids is still in the early stages, evidence suggests that these substances may be helpful for various conditions, such as epilepsy, anxiety, glaucoma, symptoms of HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, opioid dependence, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, sleep difficulties, and movement disorders.

Conclusion – 

Although CBD vs THC often have similar effects and complement each other well, they do have some differences. CBD is commonly used to alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, inflammation, migraines, post-traumatic stress disorder, and seizures.

On the other hand, THC, typically administered as medical marijuana, may help alleviate symptoms of conditions such as glaucoma, insomnia, nausea (especially caused by cancer treatment), pain (related to arthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraines), poor appetite (including appetite problems due to cancer treatment), and tremors.

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