CBD vs THC
Cannabis has been around and in use for quite some time. It has been used as medicine dating back as far as 2727. However, in the English-speaking world, it was mostly grown for its fiber. It’s only recently that the true potential of cannabis products is seeing the light of day. As a result, the demand and supply of cannabis products like CBD oil, cream, capsules, and medicine like Epidiolex are rising dramatically. In addition, with the extra exposure to new communities, more and more people are expressing curiosity and concern about cannabis products.
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is naturally found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. Another major compound produced by the cannabis plant is THC, which is famous for causing a high sensation. So, what sets the two apart if both CBD and THC come from the same plant? Why and how exactly is CBD different from THC?
Both CBD and THC have the same chemical composition, but the atoms are arranged differently. Both have 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. The difference lies in the presence of a double bond in THC at 9th carbon that is absent in CBD.
Both CBD and THC have the same molecular structure, C21H30O2, but different atoms are interconnected differently. As a result, after reaching your brain's ECS (Endocannabinoid System), they break down differently and cause different chemical reactions. For THC, the reaction is more active and stimulates the CB1 and CB2 receptors. In contrast, The reaction of CBD is much more passive.
Due to minor differences in the placement of atoms, both cannabinoids interact differently with the endocannabinoid receptors. This is the reason why both cannabinoids produce different types of psychoactive effects. THC has a strong binding affinity with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system located in the brain.
On the other hand, CBD does not bind effectively with CB1 receptors. Instead, it creates a coating around it, lowering the activity of the receptors even below normal levels. Research also indicates that CBD diminishes the effects produced by THC by hindering its binding with CB1 receptors.
Thus, THC alone almost intoxicates the user, but CBD alone will never cause intoxication. A mixture of CBD and THC does not create the same effect as pure THC, but despite CBD hindrance, THC wins, and the user will get somewhat high.
Both of the compounds are used for medical purposes. CBD and THC have almost similar medicinal benefits, with a few exceptions. People generally prefer CBD over THC due to the euphoric effect associated with the latter. In addition, it is believed that it can help manage low appetite, glaucoma pain, insomnia, nausea, and muscle spasticity.
CBD can help manage nausea, mental disorders, anxiety, migraine, pain, depression, seizures, and inflammation.
THC is used to treat muscle spasms, pain, seizures, epilepsy, anorexia, cancer, and sometimes AIDS. However, it is getting replaced with CBD when possible because patients prefer a calm and relaxed mood without the euphoria/high.
Due to the strong intoxicating effects of THC, it is illegal (with exceptions) and is still on the controlled substance list. But different states have different laws legalizing it if you want to use THC for medicinal purposes.
However, after the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018, CBD and its products derived with less than 0.3 % THC is considered legal nationwide. Although it can be banned from the state level, the law is not that hard and fast. The reason is simple; CBD simply does not have the effects that people exploit THC for.
It is very natural for a body to produce different side effects when a new substance is introduced in it.
Consumption of THC may result in temporary loss of memory, red eyes, and dry mouth. Its long-term use may lead to serious mental issues.
According to WHO, CBD is generally safe for consumption, but the user must be aware of the fact that it can interact with different medicines.
CBD does not flag positive in a regular drug test. However, even a minor quantity of THC can be detected, which can cause legal complications, especially if your state does not allow the use of THC.
Normal drug tests can easily identify THC concentrations, but sensitive tests prove helpful in detecting CBD. In addition, different companies sell different types of CBD products, and if they contain THC, that can cause trouble.