There are two critical naturally-occurring cannabinoid compounds in the Cannabis genus plant - tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both hemp and marijuana produce the compounds; however, there are higher concentrations of THC in marijuana while there are higher concentrations of CBD in hemp. While they are closely related, they have different impacts on the body.
Here’s a closer look at the differences between CBD and THC:
As the main psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, THC is primarily responsible for the “high” that recreational users get from using cannabis. But apart from the high, it’s also the THC that causes a relaxed, mellow state. Some people feel hunger pangs which often refer to as the “munchies.” Various effects of THC include paranoia, anxiety, dry mouth, sleepiness, and forgetfulness.
Chemically speaking, CBD and THC have the same molecular structure: 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and two oxygen atoms. However, what makes them different is the arrangement of those atoms which determine how they interact with your body’s endocannabinoids and how your brain releases neurotransmitters in reaction to those compounds. THC attaches to the receptors, activating them and affecting memory, movements, and even time perception.
As mentioned, CBD and THC have the same chemical structure; however, because of the way CBD’s molecules arrange, it is not a psychoactive compound and therefore, has none of the psychoactive effects such as the “high” that is associated with THC. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t bind with the brain’s cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors and produce a euphoric effect.
Rather than a high, CBD users will tell you that they feel calmer and less anxious, and because they feel less stressed, they feel more uplifted and content. Beyond how CBD makes its users feel, experts have studied CBD extensively to determine its health benefits and uses, discovering that the compound has the potential to decrease seizures in people with severe epilepsy and help people who suffer from chronic pain.
THC vs. CBD
Both THC and CBD are known to be used by people for many of the same medical reasons. Both compounds have grown significantly in popularity for helping people with conditions such as pain, anxiety, depression, mental disorders, insomnia, and migraines.
However, unlike THC, CBD does not have a history of impairing your ability to concentrate, coordination, or judgment. And while neither THC or CBD is lethal, the concern with THC use is that because it does cause side effects such as problems with motor skills and slower reaction times, it may result in accidents that could be potentially deadly.
Because of the psychoactive properties of THC, there’s been much resistance and controversy surrounding the recommendation of it as a therapeutic application. CBD, on the other hand, has been made legal nationwide thanks to the Agriculture Improvement Act, also known as The Farm Act.
CBD rises in popularity as the cannabis-derived alternative medicine of choice because it doesn’t come with the side effects associated with THC. Not only do CBD users not feel that “high” but they also won’t experience an increase in appetite or paranoia.
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