CBD and THC are all of the talk in today’s society. They are also two of the most commonly found cannabinoids in cannabis. But first, what is a cannabinoid? A cannabinoid is one of a class of diverse chemical compounds that acts on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. CBD and THC are similar in the fact that they both interact with the endocannabinoid system but they elicit vastly different natural effects.
CBD and THC
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most common and prominently found cannabinoids in Cannabis. There are currently one hundred plus different cannabinoids identified by scientists, but CBD and THC are definitely the most extensively studied and most well understood. Both can be ingested in a variety of ways as well, including vaping.
Both of their chemical makeups resemble the body’s own endocannabinoids, allowing them to interact with the endocannabinoid system’s cannabinoid receptors easily to alter the release of neurotransmitters in the brain.
While they are similar, both CBD and THC have various differences that are distinct. One example of this are the benefits of both. CBD for instance has phenomenal pain relief benefits when the right dosage is taken.
THC Medical Benefits
- Eases pain
- Helps with relaxation
- Suppresses pain from nerve damage
- Reduces risk of nerve damages
- Suppresses muscle spasms and convulsions
CBD Medical Benefits
- Stop inflammation
- Anti-oxidant properties
- Reduces Dravet seizure
- Kills breast cancer cells
- Stimulates bone growth
- Anti-inflammatory properties
Psychoactive Vs. Non-Psychoactive
Another key difference is the fact that THC will cause a euphoric effect, or “high,” when consumed. Whereas CBD is a more calming effect.
THC people’s go to compound when you think of marijuana. The psychoactive (high) effect that most associate with recreational marijuana use is exclusively brought about by activating CB1 receptors.
CBD doesn’t bind with CB1 receptors. Meaning CBD will never cause a high, no matter how much is consumed, but that it also acts to suppress the CB1-activating qualities of compounds like THC.
THC = Marijuana, CBD = Hemp (for the most part)
CBD and THC are both found throughout the seeds, stalks, and flowers of both hemp and marijuana. However, THC has its’ highest concentration in marijuana, and CBD is present in larger quantities in hemp.
Side Effects of THC
The psychoactive properties of THC can cause temporary side effects that CBD does not cause, including:
- Memory impairments
- Lowered reaction time
- A “slow” feeling
- Increased heart rate
- Coordination problems
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Dry throat
Legal Status: THC and CBD
The legal status of cannabis products in the US is both dependent on their concentration and source.
Marijuana and THC are both specifically listed in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act and therefore prohibited under federal law. 29 U.S. states and Washington D.C. have passed their own cannabis policies, allowing the use of medical marijuana with high levels of THC, provided it’s recommended by a licensed physician. 8 states and D.C. have fully legalized the recreational use of marijuana and THC.
CBD is now legally available in the United States, but there are stipulations. It must be imported with high-CBD, and low-THC hemp. CBD alone is not listed under the Controlled Substances Act, so it’s legal in all 50 states as long as it’s not extracted from marijuana.
If CBD comes from marijuana, it is illegal unless obtained through a state-regulated medical marijuana program or in a state that permits recreational marijuana use. CBD products derived from hemp are considered dietary supplements in the U.S. and legal to buy and sell. Please review the graph below for full details.
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