I have often wondered about the differences between THC vs CBD. Why CBD/THC are so contrasting and still fit together so well? Why one is psychoactive and the other isn’t?
While researching I came across some information that I already knew and some that were completely new to me. I’m definitely a more educated stoner about the science behind the cannabis than I was before. Let me roll and pass you some science.
The Chemical Difference and Effects: CBD vs THC
Cannabis contains more than 85 cannabinoids, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or more precisely – delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the most well-known of them. It’s the principal psychoactive ingredient responsible for people getting high.
CBD is another cannabinoid called cannabidiol. It has the same chemical formula as THC, just the atoms of CBD are arranged differently.
A study has found how both compounds interact with the cannabinoid receptors found in the human body, producing very different effects. I bet you are as surprised as I was when I got to know that there are such receptors in our bodies. But they’re pretty important for many physiological processes, for example, appetite, memory, mood, and pain sensation. Praise these buddies for the great work they’re doing every day.
These receptors have two known subtypes – CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mainly connected with the brain and the central nervous system. THC connects well with CB1, while the connectivity of CBD is low.The tetrahydrocannabinol molecule just happens to be perfectly shaped to pair with CB1.
THC imitates the effects of a neurotransmitter anandamide which our bodies produce naturally. Anandamide helps to balance sleeping and eating habits, the perception of pain. It also enhances the satisfying feeling of eating food and the uplifting effects of regular exercising. THC interacting with CB1 evokes CB1 to produce these sensations.
CBD doesn’t bind with CB1, thus, it’s non-psychoactive and won’t get you high. It works by suppressing THC qualities that affect CB1. As a result, CBD’s opposed action towards THC working on the CB1 receptor lessens the psychoactive effects of THC.
Consequently, the intensity of high depends on the strain’s CBD and THC ratio. The higher are THC levels – the higher you can get.
The Medical Benefits: THC vs CBD
Although THC makes you high, both compounds of cannabis have significant medical value.
THC rich marijuana works medical wonders having a pain-relieving and sleep-inducing effects, as well as treating nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, and different types of depression. But cannabis high in CBD is helps for many ailments and conditions – from alcoholism and Alzheimer’s to schizophrenia and traumatic brain injury.
But both of these cannabinoids cannot work without each other. Together they support each other’s strength. First of all, CBD halts THC breakdown in the liver, thus, the therapeutic effects of THC can remain longer. Secondly, using all cannabinoids found in cannabis is proven to be more effective for treating different illnesses and conditions than using THC alone. Finally, CBD ratio regulates the negative effects of THC like paranoia and dizziness.
Although both compounds have a great medical value, they are as different as the public opinions and reactions towards each of them. There is still a lot of negativity about the recreational use of marijuana. This has significantly affected the legislation which dictates the availability of CBD and THC.
Let’s remember that only 8 states – Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington – have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational and medical purposes. In the remaining 42 states, different levels of marijuana legality exist with softer laws for medical use.
But it’s only a matter of time. While we’re waiting it’s better to have a toke. It’s going to be a long wait.