Cannabis is gaining more and more popularity and people are gaining more knowledge about this herb. It is now legal in 33 states for medical purposes, 11 states (plus Washington D.C.) have legalized it for both medical and recreational purposes. Medical marijuana in Riverside, CA can help people deal with symptoms associated with various medical conditions. These conditions include cancer, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, epilepsy, muscle spasms, chronic pain, and many more. The two main cannabinoids present in cannabis are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). While they both come from the same plant, there are a lot of differences between them. In this article today, we are going to learn about those differences.
After consumption, CBD and THC interact with cannabinoid receptors present in the body. That is how they help people deal with their medical conditions. While they both interact with these receptors, they work in different ways and have different effects. One of the most common differences between CBD and THC that most people are aware of is the psychoactive effects. THC is known for producing psychoactive effects, while CBD does not. In simple words, THC causes the characteristic of marijuana high and CBD does not. Let’s learn more about this topic.
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The Different Chemical Structure
CBD and THC have very similar structures. In fact, both of them have the same molecular structure including 21 atoms of carbon, 30 atoms of hydrogen, and 2 atoms of oxygen. But the arrangement of these atoms is different in CBD and THC. And this is the reason why they have different effects on our bodies.
When CBD and THC interact with the endocannabinoid receptors, it releases neurotransmitters in the brain. These are the chemicals that are responsible for transferring messages between cells. Neurotransmitters have roles in immune function, sleep, stress, pain, and more.
The Psychoactive Effects
Even though CBD and THC share similar chemical structures, they do not produce the same psychoactive effects. Their interaction with receptors in a person’s brain is slightly different from each other. First, you need to understand that CBD is psychoactive too. The only difference is that it is not in the same manner as THC. CBD does not produce the high but can help in dealing with anxiety, depression, and seizures.
THC produces high by binding with the CB1 receptors present in the brain. Whereas CBD does not bind with CB1 receptors strongly. CBD needs THC in order to bind to the CB1 receptors. And this even helps in reducing the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC, like sedation. There are many marijuana strains that have more CBD content than THC. When you consume these strains, you do not feel too high. These strains are mostly used by medical marijuana users.
CBD and THC, both are present in the cannabis plants, but in different amounts. However, CBD can also be found in the hemp plants. The hemp plants contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. That is why a CBD dominant version of medical marijuana comes from hemp. Marijuana and hemp are closely related as they both are the parts of the cannabis family. On the other hand, THC originated in marijuana plants.
33 states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Also, the laws related to cannabis are constantly evolving in the United States. While marijuana is still considered as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, each state has different regulations on the legal use of marijuana. That is why it is only legal to prescribe or use medical marijuana in any state that has not legalized medical marijuana.
Also, 11 states plus Washington, D.C., have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes as well. And you can buy both medical and recreational marijuana in these states. However, you should always get familiar with the laws regarding cannabis in your state. This becomes even more important because laws regarding the use of marijuana are changing rapidly.
The Medical Benefits of CBD And THC
We all are familiar with the fact that cannabis can provide various medical benefits. Both CBD and THC can help in providing relief from many symptoms associated with different medical conditions. And as you read above, CBD does not produce the psychoactive effects like THC. That is why people who are not a fan of the “high” associated with marijuana choose CBD over THC. There are some variations in the uses of THC and CBD.
People often use CBD to manage the following conditions :
- Psychosis or mental disorders
- Inflammatory bowel disease
People use THC to manage the following condition :
- Muscle spasticity
- Low appetite
The Side Effects of CBD And THC
Marijuana has very few side effects, whether it’s CBD or THC. While even in large doses, CBD can be easily tolerated. According to the World Health Organization, or WHO, CBD is completely safe even if consumed in large quantities. The only side effects that occur with CBD use are likely because of the interactions between CBD and other medications a person may be taking.
But THC can cause some temporary side effects. These may include –
- Red eyes
- Dry mouth
- Memory loss
- Increased heart rate
- Slower response times
- A feeling of being high
- Issues with coordination
Some side effects that you may experience after interaction between CBD and other medications may include –
- Weight loss
- Appetite changes
But you need to remember that neither of the cannabinoids is fatal. And the side effects that you may experience after consuming THC are temporary. However, young children and teenagers should not consume THC as their brains are still growing. Also, in some people, large doses or regular consumption of THC can increase the risk of developing schizophrenia. This is true for people with a predisposition to the condition. But consuming THC in normal amounts does not cause any harm to anyone.
Ways to Consume CBD And THC
There are various ways to consume CBD and THC. Your method of consumption depends upon your needs and preferences, and you can choose according to that. While smoking and vaping are two of the most common ways to consume cannabis, some people try to avoid using these methods. They could be having certain conditions that do not allow them to smoke or vape, or they just don’t like it. But CBD and THC are available in different forms too, that allows people to consume them in different ways.
Various forms of CBD include –
Various forms of THC include –
- Smokable products
Both CBD and THC are present in marijuana plants. They both have medical benefits. But the biggest difference is that you will experience a “high” after consuming THC, which is not the case with consuming CBD. Also, you should get familiar with the laws regarding cannabis in your state before consuming cannabis. This is important to stay away from legal troubles.