In previous publications we explained what Cannabidiol is and what differences are found between industrial hemp and marijuana. In today’s article we will delve a little deeper into some of the most fundamental and significant differences that can be found between CBD and THC.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main cannabinoids present in cannabis, the plant species that includes both hemp and marijuana (cannabis sativa L). While there are over 100 different cannabinoids so far identified in cannabis, this two compounds are by far the most widely and extensively known, studied and best understood.
CBD and THC both interact with the human body through the endocannabinoid system, but they do it in different ways and elicit different natural effects. Specifically, this system is responsible for regulating a wide array of functions; such as pain, appetite, mood, memory, sleep, immune response, etc.
Despite their similarities, CBD and THC have distinct differences that influence how they interact with this system and subsequently the effects and behaviors they elicit.
Psychoactive vs. Non-psychoactive
One of the key differences between CBD and THC is whether the cannabinoid will cause a euphoric effect or the “high” feeling when consumed.
THC is the main psychoactive component of marijuana. It directly binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the human brain, which are found primarily in the central nervous system (governing the release of neurotransmitters) and the immune system (responsible for regulating body functions). In this case, THC has a higher affinity for CB1 receptors, the receptors responsible for producing the psychoactive effects that are most associated with the use of recreational or medical marijuana.
CBD, on the other hand, has little affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors, and is actually considered an antagonist of CB1 agonists. This means that CBD cannot cause a high, no matter how much is consumed, and that it also acts to suppress or block the CB1 and CB2 activating qualities of compounds like THC. In this case, CBD interacts with other receptors such as serotonin and adenosine, receptors that can play an important role in regulating body temperature, pain sensations and inflammations.
THC dominates Marijuana while CBD dominates Hemp
CBD and THC are each found throughout the seeds, stalks, and flowers of both types of cannabis plants. However, while THC is most plentiful in marijuana, CBD is present in higher quantities in hemp.
In marijuana, THC dominates the plant’s chemical makeup. While its THC content can be as low as 3%, on average, a batch of marijuana can contain approximately 12% THC.
Hemp’s chemical makeup, contrarily, is dominated by CBD. By definition, its THC content is no more than 0.3%, making it impossible to get “high” or feel any psychoactive effects of its consumption.
We can found another difference in their legal status, but we will address this issue in our next article.
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