The Cannabinoids are chemicals that activate our cannabinoid receptors (parts of the system that regulate our mood, appetite, memory, and pain). There are different types: endocannabinoids (produced by animals or people), synthetic (produced in laboratories) and phytocannabinoids (produced by plants). Currently, about 70 cannabinoids of C. Sativa L. are known.
The phytocannabinoids of highest concentration in C. Sativa L., are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The first one is psychoactive, so it produces euphoric or dysphoric effects, while the second would be able to block that psychoactivity. This property makes it an object of interest for its application in the medical field.
Of the more than 100 different cannabinoids found in cannabis, the two best known are the aforementioned: the cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In this article we give you a look at the CBD vs THC, reviewing 5 main differences between these two.
1. CBD vs THC In Psychoactivity
THC is the chemical compound known to be responsible for producing psychoactive effects. When high levels of THC are consumed, the compound can cause sensations that alter sensory capacity, consciousness, perception, and behaviour. But how does THC cause this sensation? The researchers point to anandamide, a natural endocannabinoid that is associated with numerous bodily roles. In animal studies, researchers discovered that anandamide was associated with feelings of pleasure, reward, food consumption and physical exercise. The scientific community has discovered that THC closely resembles anandamide, which is why it causes such effects.
CBD, on the other hand, does not produce any psychoactive effect.
As for cannabis oil rich in cannabidiol, its THC levels are low and almost non-existent, well below those needed to generate psychoactive effects. In addition, cannabidiol acts as an inhibitor of THC.
While recreational cannabis users prefer THC-rich products, those interested in the properties of cannabinoids but not psychoactive effects can use products with higher concentrations of CBD, as they are safe for use by people of all ages.
2. Different Atomic Arrangement
CBD and THC are structural isomers, which means that they have the same chemical composition but their atomic structures differ slightly. The two cannabinoids share the same molecular formula and molecular weight, but they differ slightly in how their atoms are ordered. Both are considered cyclic compounds, which means that one or more series of atoms in the compounds are connected to form a ring. The CBD comes with an open ring with a hydroxyl group and alkene, while the THC supports a closed ring with an ester group. These slight differences have a dramatic effect on how the two cannabinoids interact with our body.
3. THC dominates the composition of marijuana, CBD the hemp
CBD and THC are found in the seeds, stems, and flowers of cannabis plants - including hemp and marijuana. However, while THC is more abundant in marijuana, CBD is present in greater amounts in hemp. In marijuana, THC predominates in the chemical composition of the plant.
Marijuana is specifically grown to contain significant levels of THC, usually for recreational use. The chemical composition of hemp, on the other hand, is dominated by CBD. Hemp only has traces close to zero of THC, less than 0.03%, well below the psychoactive threshold.
4. CBD vs THC in the relationship with the endocannabinoid system
Both cannabidiol and THC interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the body through specialized cannabinoid receptors, similar to the cannabinoids produced by our body. There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are located mainly in the brain, male and female reproductive organs, eyes and other areas of the body. CB2 receptors are found in a higher concentration within the immune system, particularly within the spleen. THC has the highest affinity for binding with CB1 receptors. Cannabidiol, on the other hand, does not bind directly to any of the cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it acts indirectly against cannabinoid agonists. CBD also interacts with other receptors throughout the body, such as the 5-HT1A receptor, which is related to serotonin. It is through this interaction with various systems within the body that these cannabinoids act. If THC were the perfect puzzle for the receptor signal system, cannabidiol would be the closest thing. The THC fits perfectly with your receiver. CBD, however, sits imperfectly within CB1 receptors and instead acts as an antagonist, effectively blocking THC from binding to those sites.
5. Side effects of CBD vs THC
Several studies indicate that CBD is safe for people of all ages, while some studies with large doses of THC indicate potential health risks in children and adolescents.
There are many side effects that are commonly associated with THC such as euphoria, sedation, hunger, dry mouth, red eyes, anxiety; These temporary side effects occur when CB1 receptors are activated by THC. This activity is what triggers the short-term side effects of THC. It is mentioned in several sources that cannabidiol can act as an antagonist of the side effects of THC.
Some studies have found evidence that high-THC strains of cannabis can cause long-term psychiatric effects when consumed by adolescents. Others have even found that high use of THC during adolescence may be associated with schizophrenia.
A recent investigation of the research examining the safety and broad effects of CBD concluded that the CBD is safe in humans and animals. Even the chronic use of CBD by humans proved not to cause adverse neurological, psychiatric or clinical effects.
Thanks to the research of the last years a great variety of CBD properties was found, some with greater support than others. The most noteworthy are: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, neuroprotective, anticonvulsant, anti tumor and immunomodulatory.
Due to the previously mentioned properties, CBD is used to treat certain diseases, such as epilepsy, anxiety, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, sclerosis, inflammatory diseases or psychosis, and as a complement to some treatments, such as chemotherapy. In addition to its therapeutic uses, some specialists recommend it as a food supplement.
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