Difference between THC and CBD

Marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes dating back hundreds of years. More recently, knowledge has come a long way, and we now know the difference in the various compounds that make up marijuana. Today, we are aware of over 100 cannabinoid compounds.

Cannabinoids are a naturally occurring chemical compound found in the marijuana plant. The cannabinoids found in a plant vary by strain and have different effects and use. The two most popular cannabinoids widely used and studied are CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).

Both CBD and THC have a chemical structure similar to humans’ natural endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that act in the brain. The main difference between CBD and THC is that they affect different receptors in the brain.

THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that triggers dopamine receptors and gives the “high” feature of marijuana. CBD does not produce a high effect and is more commonly known as the more medicinal cannabinoid.

The History of CBD versus THC

In 1940, Harvard chemist Roger Adams uncovered CBD through his research. He was the first to extract CBD successfully. Then in 1963, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, widely known as the “godfather of cannabis,” described the chemical structure of CBD. The following year, Mechoulan discovered the compound THC.

These discoveries were the foundations of cannabis research that lead to a better understanding of its medicinal properties. CBD was identified as the more therapeutic property, and THC was recognized with the psychoactive and euphoria effects. THC is the intoxicating compound, and CBD does not give people “high” effects.

By isolating each compound, Mechoulam and his team did more pharmacology research and clinical trials. In the 1980s, Mechoulan and other scientists made groundbreaking discoveries on CBD usage for epilepsy. Other benefits of both CBD and THC have been revealed over the years.

thc vs cbd chart showing the differences

THC vs. CBD Legality

Even though studies have proven the medical benefits of marijuana, the federal law says marijuana is considered an illegal substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. There is a house bill currently called the MORE Act (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act) that could change this.

The non-psychoactive version of marijuana known as hemp is legal. CBD is found in hemp and marijuana plants. Despite CBD being legal, there is only one drug containing CBD that is currently approved by the FDA. In 2018, the FDA finally approved the first-ever federally approved drug containing CBD called Epidiolex. It is used to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome.

What are the proven benefits of CBD?

Since CBD is legal and non-psychoactive, the popularity of this particular cannabinoid has boomed in recent years. CBD is now in lotions at the mall or an option as an add-on at coffee shops. This mainstream growth is because of all the research that has proven its benefits and medicinal results. As mentioned before, CBD does not cause a high or euphoria. It is not mind-altering, and it is not possible to overdose or become physically addicted to.

In 2015, the FDA eased CBD research regulations, and there was a growth of clinical trials. These studies have uncovered promising results showing CBD to treat ailments and illness beyond just epilepsy effectively.

CBD is proven to help with epilepsy, along with other neurological disorders. It has drastically reduced seizures in patients, leading to the approval of the first-ever pharmaceutical drug for rare forms of epilepsy. Epiodiolex does require a prescription from a doctor. Still, other CBD forms are so widely available that those suffering from neurological disorders have sought out CBD themselves and are seeing promising results.

There has been a lot of research and trial for the use of CBD and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists discovered that CBD impacts brain signaling and reduces neurological symptoms like seizures, tremors, muscle spasms, twitching, and more.

One study showed a 36% decrease in seizures for epilepsy patients. People suffering from Parkinson’s Disease experienced fewer tremors, overall improvement of quality of life, and better sleep. Another study showed that those suffering from multiple sclerosis experienced an improvement in their mobility. Its neuroprotective effects have been beneficial for mental health issues too, such as anxiety, stress, and psychiatric disorders.

CBD is proven to resolve inflammation, and more valuable uses are still being discovered. It can slow the growth of tumors and even cancer cells. It can help inflamed skin issues such as rosacea or acne. CBD has also been applauded for its anti-inflammatory effects and proven to be very effective for pain relief.

The National Institute of Health says CBD is a natural solution for pain relief. Many have turned to CBD for pain relief because it is much safer than alternative drugs such as prescription pain medication.

CBD has also proven to help those who have insomnia by helping people fall asleep and stay asleep. Those suffering from insomnia usually have high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. CBD reduces cortisol levels, acting as a sedative, helping those with insomnia, and reduces overall stress levels.

How Is CBD Used?

CBD is found in creams, pills, supplements, and even added to things like coffee and honey. It is found in an array of product options, allowing users to inhale, consume, apply, drink, vape, and more. When choosing a CBD product, it is best to consider what the goal is.

When used for skin ailments, for example, CBD is commonly found in lotions, creams, lip balms, facial products, or even bath bombs. When using it externally, it is often applied to the affected area or enjoyed in a relaxing bath.

CBD is more commonly consumed by eating or ingesting through a pill form, edible product like a gummy bear or chocolate, or even dropped onto the tongue as a tincture. There is also CBD-only bud that can be smoked. There are vape pens, and even inhalers of inhalation are preferred.

In states like Colorado, where marijuana is legal, you can find almost any form of CBD. CBD can also be purchased as an isolate to be added to homemade products. It is all up to the consumer how they wish to use it.

What are the proven benefits of THC?

THC is the chemical compound known to cause the euphoric effect of cannabis that so many people love. It often produces an enjoyable and mild high when taken at the right dosage to ebb creativity, reduces anxiety, and even improve moods. THC has also been proven to aid pain relief in an FDA-approved study.

THC has been beneficial for people suffering from cancer and chemotherapy and radiation treatments because it eases nausea and vomiting. It can help people suffering from gastrointestinal disorders with stomach pain and can even help those suffering from eating disorders.

THC has also been proven to be a neuroprotectant and has helped those with traumatic brain injuries. It has been proven as an effective sleep aid and can even help with breathing patterns which is great for those suffering from sleep apnea.

Another popular use for THC is treating mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, and especially PTSD. It is important to keep in mind though, that everyone can experience THC differently, and because it has psychoactive properties, it can sometimes be overwhelming and not suit people.

Overall though, there are many people who applaud the usage and benefits of THC, and there are currently 34 states with legal THC.

How is THC used?

Much like CBD, THC can be found in a wide variety of products to be used in a plethora of ways. Most commonly known are marijuana buds that are smoked in various ways like joints or even vaporizers. Today though, there are so many other ways to consume it.

At dispensaries in legal states, it is possible to find marijuana in just about any form you desire.

There are edible gummies, candies, chocolates, soda, and even butter and oils that can be added to just about any meal at home. It is also common for people to extract it as an oil and use it in vape pens, dabs, or even tinctures.

As a consumer, do your research.

When purchasing any cannabis product, whether it is THC or CBD, one thing to remember is to research before buying to ensure you are getting a trusted and high-quality product.

THC is only legal in certain states at regulated dispensaries that can provide you a lot of background knowledge. CBD is more widely available and can be found in gas stations, boutiques, stores, or online. It is that it is considered a dietary supplement, so you want to do research to ensure you are getting a tested and reliable product. If you do your research and find a trusted company, using cannabis products can be a safe addition to anyone’s life.  

One last word. Isomers like Delta-8 THC derived from the Hemp Plant have come onto the market. To learn more about D8 view this article, or click here to learn more about D8 products.


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