THC vs CBD: Understanding the Differences
Between the Two Most Abundant Cannabinoids in Cannabis
As of this writing, there are over 113 known chemical compounds – commonly called cannabinoids – in the marijuana plant. Of these 113 cannabinoids, the two that are by far the most well-known are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Like most cannabinoids, THC and CBD affect our bodies via their interaction with the endocannabinoid system.
Both THC and CBD interact very differently from each other, and their effects are significant enough to make them stand out considerably from other cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. In this post, we take a closer look at the differences between the two in terms of their effects, as well as their respective medical and therapeutic values.
Psychoactive and Modulatory Properties in THC & CBD
It comes down to how each cannabinoid interacts with the endocannabinoid system: THC activates and binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which alters brain function. Its effects are modulated by terpene compounds, such that On the other hand, CBD alters endocannabinoid modulation by controlling (and in some cases inhibiting) enzyme production. This is why THC is considered to have “direct” interaction with the endocannabinoid system, while CBD's interaction is considered more indirect among scientists and researchers.
Differences in Medical Potential and Usage Between THC & CBD
The direct and indirect benefits of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol vary by the strain of medical marijuana in use. CBD is most commonly used to treat anxiety disorders and epilepsy, but is increasingly prescribed for other conditions such as:
· Seizures CBD possesses potent anti-convulsant properties that have proven effective in adults and children where more conventional forms of medication had failed.
· Chronic Pain and Swelling the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are consistent in relieving the symptoms of a number of conditions in adults, children and even pets.
· Recurring Tumors CBD's anti-tumoral properties have— in small studies—considerably improved rates of remission and overall quality of life after successful cancer treatment.
On the other hand, THC is usually prescribed for its relaxing and euphoric effects. While it's most commonly used to treat pain and depression, it's often also used for the following conditions:
· Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders cannabis is famous for the mellowing effect imparted to it by the THC cannabinoid. These days, THC is prescribed for a variety of sleep disorders brought about by stress, anxiety or even past traumas.
· Anorexia and Nausea THC is a known appetite stimulant with potent antiemetic properties that can calm nausea, vomiting, vertigo and other symptoms of inner ear-related conditions like motion sickness.
· Muscle Stiffness and Soreness now that the medical benefits of the marijuana plant are well-substantiated in scientific literature, athletes are increasingly turning to THC's muscle relaxant properties to aid them during the recovery phases after athletic competition. This is a particularly popular practice among swimmers and prize fighters.
Legality, Availability and Other Differences Between THC & CBD
Because of THC's psychoactive properties, it is legally classified and regulated as an intoxicant. This means it cannot be sold to minors or consumed in non-designated public spaces. The legal distinction between THC & CBD is the primary reason CBD has found its way into mainstream products (such as soaps and lotions) at a much more rapid pace than THC. It's also why the use of CBD-only products (such as isolates and tinctures) for the purpose of health supplementation is allowed in most states where recreational cannabis consumption is still illegal.
Finally, it's worth noting that CBD is not only found in cannabis. It's also commonly extracted from hemp, which is a variety of the cannabis plant grown specifically to be spun into fiber and other industrial uses.
While they are both cannabinoids, THC and CBD are markedly different from one another in terms of their respective functions, effects and availability. Depending on an individual's health needs, both or just one of the two cannabinoids could be enough to provide the relief they need.
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