CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference

CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol are two popular natural compounds found in the Cannabis genus or the marijuana plant. Now that the legal use of cannabis products is growing, there is a deep interest in these two compounds due to their medicinal benefits. Nevertheless, one can still not rule out its illegal use for recreational purposes. Nevertheless, today our area of discussion is solely from the perspective of their medicinal use.

CBD And THC - The Similarity

Before studying the difference, let’s first see how CBD and THC are similar. This little information will help you appreciate the difference between the two much more clearly.

1. Both are naturally occurring substances found in the Cannabis sativa plant.

2. They both are made up of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. Hence, it would be correct to assume they have a similar chemical composition.

This is where all the similarities end. Despite having an identical composition, the chemical structure of CBD and THC is completely different, and as a result, they vary considerably from each other.

CBD Vs. THC - The Differences

1. Chemical Structure

As you can now see from the chemical structure of THC and CBD, they differ, and hence, they have different properties.

2. Psychoactive Effect 

Similar composition but the different chemical structure of CBD and THC makes for the difference in their psychoactive effect. 

1. THC - Tetrahydrocannabinol gets you high due to its high THC content, which is between 5% to 35%. It binds with the CB1 neuroreceptors in the brain and generates a feeling of euphoria, commonly referred to as a “Mind High.” Needless to say, if used in high quantities, it has mind-altering effects and so is referred to as having psychoactive effects.

2. CBD - Cannabidiol high low THC content (<0.3%) and does not bind to the CB1 receptors. Instead, it interacts with the neuroreceptors. As a result, it does not give you a high like THC. Instead, CBD relaxes your body, giving you a “Body High.” Therefore, it is not psychoactive in nature.

3. Other Effects

THC and CBD have other effects as well. So let us briefly have a look at them.

1.THC - Other than producing euphoria, THC also stimulates appetite. However, it reduces cognitive ability and causes drowsiness and paranoia. Additionally, it increases the chances of breast cancer, anxiety, and testicular cancer. Substance abuse can also lead to fatalities.

2. CBD - This is more of a mood enhancer without making you feel high. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, calming, and neuroprotective properties. It is considered beneficial to those with Alzheimer’s, seizures, tumors, arthritis, and bone degeneration.

4. Application

Let us now talk about the applications of the two.

1. THC - THC has limited medical use. It is more popularly used for recreational purposes, which is illegal.

2. CBD - In addition to medical use, CBD is often used in creams, supplements, powders, oils, candles, etc. So it has more commercial use.

5. Legality

Everything is not black or white when it comes to the legality of THC and CBD. At the federal level, growing industrial hemp that has THC of less than 0.3% is legal. However, anything higher than that is illegal, and the same stands true for the products extracted from the said hemp. Grey areas come into play because different states follow different laws in the matter. In some states, medical marijuana is permitted by law, so high THC products may also become a part of those that are allowed. There’s no clear-cut legal or illegal in this matter. It differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

6. Medical Uses

1. THC - Medical uses of THC include relief from pain, insomnia, loss of appetite, anxiety, glaucoma, muscle spasticity, and nausea.

2. CBD - CBD is taken to alleviate the symptoms of inflammation, pain, seizures, depression, migraine, anxiety, inflammatory bowel disorders, and mental disorders.

7. Side Effects

When used over a long period of time, any drug will have some sort of undesirable effects, commonly known as side effects. In fact, those who are sensitive may experience them from the very beginning. Common side effects include:

1. THC - Dryness of mouth, redness of eyes, memory loss, slow reaction times, increased heart rate, coordination problems, and severe anxiety.

2. CBD - Diarrhea, lethargy or fatigue, changes in appetite, and dizziness or fainting spells.

8. Positivity In Drug Tests

The fat in our body stores both THC and CBD. They do not metabolize or get digested the same day. Hence, they may show up in a drug test even if you have not used or consumed them recently. Usually, CBD does not show up in a drug test due to its extremely low THC level. The vast majority of tests are built to detect only high THC levels. Nonetheless, there are CBD sensitive tests also. So, the test positivity will depend on the type of test being used. 

An important thing to keep in mind is that all products touted as THC-free may not actually be so, and hence, there is an excessive need for caution.

The Conclusion

As is clear from the above discussion, both CBD and THC have gains that can be a game-changer for the medical world. In controlled doses, both can give relief from a wide variety of illnesses and disorders. But, sadly, the lack of adequate in-depth studies is a roadblock yet to be overcome. Also, stricter rules and laws need to be formulated so that their recreational use is prohibited and medical use increases. 

As of the present day scenario, CBD and THC can only be taken or used as supplements. Even then, ideally, they should be taken only when prescribed by the doctor as both have a tendency to interfere with the other drugs that you might be taking at the time. 

Since the dosage is of critical importance here, the doctor will have to monitor your health until the appropriate dosage is known. Also, kids and teenagers must avoid THC completely as it is known to cause lasting damage to growing brains.