May 29, 2017 | by Staff
The business of cannabis is booming both on recreational and medicinal fronts. The year 2015 witnessed an increase of 17.4% in the sales of legal cannabis in the US, which touched the $5.4 billion mark, according to CNBC.
Cannabis is a perplexing substance since it has around 500 active compounds out of which, 113 belong to a family of distinct chemical compounds, commonly referred to as cannabinoids. From this group, the two most common compounds are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-however, they are greatly different.
As new product offerings are now available in the legal cannabis industry, it’s pertinent for investors, physicians and users to know the differences between these compounds.
THC is the major component of cannabis and is the main agent that gives a feeling of “high” when administered. The compound basically imitates the effects of anandamide, a fatty acid neurotransmitter that is naturally produced in the human body, which adjusts sleeping and eating habits.
CBD accounts for approximately 40% of cannabis extract. It has the same chemical formula as that of THC; however, the arrangement of atoms is different for each. Because of this slight variance, THC creates a psychoactive effect while CBD does not have such an influence.
As mentioned above, THC and CBD have the same chemical composition but the arrangement of atoms in each of these compounds is different. In a layman’s language, there’s a ring that opens and closes. If that ring is open, it’s CBD and if it’s closed, it’s THC.
Cannabinoid receptors are present in the entire body-in bones, join tissues, immune cells and organs. These receptors behave like locks on our cells. When cannabinoid get attached to the receptors, they unlock a certain response like pain relief.
Now, the way THC and CBD work on the receptors is different. THC gets directly attached to CB-1 and CB-2, while CBD takes an indirect approach by using other non-receptor mechanisms.
THC is best known for being the psychoactive element in the marijuana plant.
The effects of THC include:
CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive, indicating that it does not give you a high. For recreational users, this can be a strong disappointment. This unique feature has made it appealing as a medicine.
The effects of CBD include:
CBD also functions as an antidepressant and works on similar receptors to drugs that act on serotonin receptors.
Cannabis is often used as a sleeping aid. THC is responsible for most of the sleep inducing effect of cannabis. CBD, on the contrary, promotes wakefulness, making it a poor choice as a sleep medicine. These opposite effects of CBD and THC on sleep shows why some strains of marijuana cause drowsiness among users while others boost energy.
Besides being non-psychoactive, CBD has many antipsychotic properties. According to researchers, CBD can protect marijuana smokers from getting too high by cutting down the psychosis-like effects of THC. CBD is also now being tested for treating people suffering from schizophrenia.
Here’s an infographic that best represents the difference between CBD and THC.
To conclude, products made from strains that contain high levels of THC can give you an ultimate high. However, if you want to get the medical benefits of marijuana, consume products made from strains high in CBD. Note that all cannabinoids have a medical benefit and it’s important to know which strains contain which levels of cannabinoids.
Finding the ideal cannabinoid balance that works best for you can be a trial and error method. Licensed producers, usually have an in-house pharmacist who answers questions about dosing and strains. It’s best to experiment with different concentrations of THC and CBD and see which one works best for you.
Categories: Cannabis Medicine
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