06-07-2018, 08:36 AM
CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) are the two most prominent compounds of cannabinoids found in cannabis (Marijuana) plant. Both these compounds interact with our bodies via a signaling system that is responsible for psychological and physical effects of marijuana and for regulation of a wide array of functions. In this article you will know that this system is known as the endocannabinoid system. However, both CBD and THC evoke different impacts on the body.
Hundred variants of cannabinoids have been recognized and discovered so far by several scientists and researchers. However, Cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol are by far the most substantially studied and best perceived. The chemical compositions of both the compounds might be similar, but THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is psychoactive, while CBD (Cannabidiol) is not.
What is CBD ?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the chemical compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as marijuana and it accounts for around 40% of the plants extract. CBD does not have toxic influence on the body as compared to THC. No matter how much it is consumed, it can never cause a “High”. In fact, it curbs the psychoactive effects of THC. It does not impact the mind in any circumstances. Its use is growing worldwide as it possesses nutritional and supplementary benefits.
CBD is present throughout the seeds, the flowers and the stalks of the marijuana (cannabis) plants- including the hemp. It occurs in huge quantities in the cannabis plant and so there are no hassles in extraction which usually happens in the form of the cannabis oil. Once extraction of CBD takes place as a component of cannabis oil, it can be then used to make several commercial items like medicinal capsules and medicinal liquids that possess therapeutic and anti - inflammatory effects. CBD-rich oil can be seen on the shelves of wellness dispensaries and stores, and online as well from several retailers.
What is THC ?
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a primary psychoactive component and a prominent chemical compound in cannabis plant that causes a euphoric high. Its functions are quite similar to the cannabinoid chemicals which are created naturally by the body, as per NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse). It causes mind altering effects that commonly vanish with the weed.
Cannabinoid sensory system is located in specific areas of the brain that perform functions like memory, coordination, ponder, happiness and time discernment. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) binds to these sensory receptors and triggers them and impacts an individual’s memory, coordination, ponder, happiness and time discernment, as per the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
THC is present in the resin, secreted by glands of the cannabis plant. These glands are usually located around the reproductive system of the cannabis plant. THC has short term impacts and different individuals respond differently to these effects. Some experience strong feelings of contentment, calm and peace, while others experience high anxiety levels due to it. It can be said, that one strain of THC induces displeasing thoughts and feelings, while another may turn out to induce a very pleasurable sensations. It also has some serious potential long-term effects like lung issues and heart risks.
CBD vs THC - Characteristics
Both CBD and THC occur in the crystalline resinous trichomes which envelopes the adult cannabis flower. Also, both the compounds are present in the cannabinoids which are found in abundance in the cannabis plant (marijuana). Both the compounds have the similar chemical formula and the differentiating characteristics are the arrangement of atoms in both. Also, thy have different effects on the body, since their interaction with the body’s but they have endocannabinoid system is different.
Both compounds show interactions with the body via the endocannabinoid system, which is a complex network of lipids consisting of endogenous ligands, their receptors, and the enzyme, responsible for performing several functions like:
- Ease pain
- Ease nausea
- Relief in chemo-induced neuropathy
- Relief in chemo-induced neuropathy
- Creates a state of relaxation and well-being
- Increase appetite
- Heal damaged brain cells
- Induce Sleep
- Fight neuro-degenerative disorders
Both the compounds of Marijuana have different impacts on the body and work in a different way.
What is CBD? How does it work?
CBD is a pleiotropic drug and it generates multiple effects through several molecular routes. Cannabidiol has antipsychotic effects. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system of the body that involved 2 categories of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CB1 (Cannabinoid receptor type 1) receptors are located in the central and peripheral nervous system and play a significant role in activities like memory, pain, sensation, sleep and appetite.
CB2 (Cannabinoid receptor type 2) receptors are usually present in the immune system and outside the brain like the reproductive organs, gut, liver, lymph cells, kidneys, spleen, bones, heart, blood vessels and endocrine glands. CB2 receptors are responsible for anti-inflammatory effects.
CBD does not show direct action on the cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it acts in an indirect way and augments and enhances the concentration of endocannabinoids in the body. CBD (Cannabidiol) can invigorate the release of endocannabinoids by interfering with their natural disintegration.
What is THC? How does it work?
THC is a very potent chemical compound as compared to other psychoactive drugs. It is the most powerful compound in the cannabis and is responsible for the “high” correlated with the drug. When someone smokes a marijuana, THC travels through the trachea into the lungs and eventually enters the blood stream. The heart pumps THC throughout the body and finally it penetrates the brain where it causes stimulation of the cells to release a substance called dopamine. THC activates the cannabinoid receptors that affect the brain in various ways. It also controls receptors in hypothalamus, often triggering the hunger senses in the user. It impacts the hippocampus (small organ sitting within the brain's medial temporal lobe) that is susceptible to THC as well. Thus, the short–term memory and coordination also get impacted.
The initial experience will be a relaxed one in combination with a mellow feeling. Tiny blood vessels pop into the eyes, making them dilated and red. Other senses will be enhanced as well. Some other affects include mix of emotions like pleasure, joy, elation, depression, anxiety, relaxation and relief from pain. THC impacts thinking, memory and the time discernment as well.
CBD vs THC – Effects
Both the compounds of Marijuana exhibit different effects on the body.
Main Effects of CBD
- Anxiolytic and Anti-depressant: CBD combats anxiety and nervousness
- Acts to promote homeostasis (i.e., balance)
- Reduces acne
- Decreases blood pressure (if it is too high)
- Anti-convulsant: CBD curbs seizure activity
- Destroys cancer cells through various apoptotic and anti-angiogenic mechanisms
- Antioxidant: CBD neutralizes the harmful effects of oxidative
- Acts as an antipsychotic i.e. CBD cures psychiatric illness
- Protects the neurons in the brain
- Controls the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands
- It gives relief from nausea and vomiting
- Acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and combats inflammation and pain
- Diabetes prevention
Main Effects of THC
- Analgesic: It gives relief from pain and swelling
- Acts as a relaxant: THC aids in relaxing the body and mind
- Feeling of fatigue and weariness: THC induces sleep
- Euphoria: THC triggers a state of intense happiness and self-confidence and causes a feeling of “High”
- Appetite stimulant: THC triggers the urge to eat
CBD vs THC - Difference
The Psychological High
While THC is responsible for the euphoric “High”, CBD possesses non-psychoactive medical benefits. THC binds to CB1 (Cannabinoid 1) receptors, located in the brain and that is why it leads to euphoric “High”. Whereas CBD does not attach to CB1 receptors and so does not have a similar psychoactive effect.
The side effects of CBD are negligible to in-existent. Dry mouth is one of the effects of using CBD, but when compared to the benefits associated with the use of CBD, it is a little price to pay. THC, on the other hand, is known to cause depression, anxious and paranoia.
THC Dominates Marijuana, CBD Dominates Hemp
Both THC and CBD are present in certain quantities in both the variants of the Cannabis (Marijuana) plants- hemp and marijuana. However, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is present in abundance in marijuana and CBD (Cannabidiol) is present in higher quantities in hemp.
It can be said that there is dominance of THC in marijuana’s chemical makeup and marijuana is carefully grown with the intentions of increasing THC quantity in the plant. Hemp’s chemical composition shows dominance of CBD. It shows only trace concentration of THC, that too below the psychotropic range.
CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) are structural isomers, i.e. they possess the same chemical makeup. However, they have different atomic arrangements. The two chemical substances have the formula of C21H30O2 and molecular weight is 314.4 gms /mol. Both are cyclic elements, i.e. atoms are attached to create a ring like structure.
CBD possesses an open ring with a hydroxyl (OH) and alkene (CnH2n) group, while THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) possesse a closed ring with an ester (RCOOR′) group. The difference in the atomic arrangement of these two compounds impacts the pattern in which they interact with the endocannabinoid system’s receptors.
Possession of cannabis is illegal in most of the countries. However, it is legal for medical purposes in 50% of the states, allowing items which are high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
CBD is considered as a Schedule I drug and is declared illegal under the federal law. Epidiolex, which is a medicinal form of CBD has been cleared by US Food and Drug Administration, to be administered to kids suffering from severe epilepsy. On the other hand, it is also found in hemp, that qualifies for legal importation and selling in the. This means, that the CBD is federally legal – only from the hemp and not marijuana. Some US states have made regulations of their own regarding CBD. However, hemp derived CBD is legally available in the U.S.
In the U.S, THC is listed as a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act and hence prohibited. 29 states and the District of Columbia, have their own regulations that allow the usage of medicinal marijuana comprising of THC, only if a licensed practitioner recommends it. 8 of those states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of THC.
CBD helps to give relief from inflammation, anxiety, depression, neurological disorder, cancer, schizophrenia (mental disease characterized by abnormal behavior and inability to understand reality), multiple sclerosis (MS) (MS is a disorder of the brain and spinal cord), acute headache, joint pain, the side effects of cancer treatments. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) helps to treat nausea, sleep apnea, anxiety disorders. It also helps in combating the symptoms and the side effects of chemotherapy, glaucoma, and spinal injuries.
THC and CBD influence the body in different ways. THC activates CB1 (Cannabinoid receptor type 1) and CB2 (Cannabinoid receptor type 2) receptors, while CBD shows its impact in an indirect way. Because THC binds with CB1 receptors with so much ease, it activates the body in a particular way. Some impacts include relaxation, altered senses, dizziness, and appetite stimulation. The “munchies” are a direct impact of Tetrahydrocannabinol.
Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol, CBD does not influence the CB1 and CB2 receptors directly. However, it stimulates these receptors in an indirect way and that is called as modulation. CBD elevates the concentration of the human body’s naturally-generated endocannabinoids by impeding the enzymes that disintegrate them
CBD vs THC– Structure
Because of the lingering stigma about the Cannabis plant, it is believed that THC is the “bad” cannabinoid and CBD is the “good” cannabinoid. Researchers and scientific experts claim that both of them possess certain therapeutic properties, and there exists evidence that both are able to function synergistically to increase their natural medicinal effects.
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