If you don’t already know, the legal use of cannabis and marijuana is growing. Consumers are now more interested to know the available options. Let’s compare CBD vs THC, both of which are compounds available in plants belonging to the cannabis subfamily.
Understanding CBD vs THC
THC(tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are compounds that connect with your body’s endocannabinoid system albeit with varying effects. These compounds have a lot in common but also feature various differences which dictate their use. Both CBD and THC come with a similar chemical composition that is; 30 hydrogen atoms, 2 oxygen atoms, and 21 carbon atoms. You’d be forgiven to suggest that they’re identical twins. But they also differ as we’re going to see below.
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Differences Between CBD Vs THC
The one thing that differentiates CBD from THC is the structure of one atom. You may already know that an atom is smaller than human hair by nearly a million times. What this means is that the difference is microscopic which may leave you trying to figure out the actual CBD vs THC difference. The answer to this question is; CBD and THC are quite different as we shall see below. But first, let’s get a deeper understanding of cannabinoids.
How do Cannabinoids Work with Your Body?
As at now, there are 85 well-studied cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, with CBD and THC being the most popular. As mentioned above, a cannabinoid is a compound that directly connects with the endocannabinoid system(ECS) in your body. The ECS is a chain of receptors which connect with cannabinoids to facilitate essential functions across your body.
The Discovery of Cannabinoid Receptors
The first cannabinoid receptor was discovered in 1988. By 1993, scientists had already discovered a second receptor. In 1995, both receptors were categorized as the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are readily available around the brain and facilitate physiological and mental processes such as emotion, high cognition, motor coordination, and memory.
CB2 receptors are available in the immune and central nervous systems. The connection between cannabinoids such as THC and CBD with CB1 and CB2 receptors stimulates various health benefits such as anxiety relief, pain relief, mood management, and appetite.
The CBD vs THC Differences Necessitated by the Single Atom
CBD and THC come with varying molecular structures and because of this, they don’t connect with CB1 and CB2 receptors in a similar manner. This means they have varying effects on your body and this is where the biggest difference comes in when comparing THC and CBD.
What about the Psychoactive Components?
While THC and CBD come with the same chemical structure, they have varying psychoactive effects. It’s important to know that cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound. What this means is that it doesn’t make consumers feel high as is the case with THC.
THC, on the other hand, connects with the CB1 receptors in a consumer’s brain to trigger a sense of euphoria or a high feeling. CBD however, hardly connects to CB1 receptors. You may want to know that CBD can restrict the attachment of THC and diminish the psychoactive effects.
What is the Chemical Structure of CBD Compared to THC?
CBD and THC come with the same molecular structure as we’ve already mentioned above but there’s a difference in the atom arrangement. What’s more, both compounds have the same chemical effects on your body’s endocannabinoids which facilitates the interaction with CBD receptors. The interaction triggers the discharge of neurotransmitters (chemicals which facilitate communication between cells) in the brain.
What are the Medical Benefits of CBD Vs THC Compounds?
THC and CBD offer similar medical benefits to your body. For starters, they can relieve you from pain. One thing you should understand is that CBD won’t offer euphoric effects as is the case with THC. this explains why many people choose CBD over THC.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) certified Trusted Source Epidiolex, the inaugural prescription drug that contains CBD in June 2018. The drug treats an unusual and hard-to-control type of epilepsy. CBD has been used for years to relieve a wide range of conditions such as; Inflammation, seizures, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, anxiety, and depression. On the other hand, THC helps relieve; glaucoma, pain, muscle spasticity, insomnia, anxiety, and nausea.
CBD vs THC for Pain Relief
Studies suggest that CBD is more effective when it comes to relieving neuropathic and inflammation pain. THC performs better when you use it to relieve cramp related or spasticity pain. One thing you should understand is that often, high THC doses can worsen pain symptoms. What this means is that should you consume THC, then you should do so with caution and in small doses.
Another vital fact you should remember is; many people won’t be able to reverse the side effects of THC which makes any potential benefits useless. A section of experts says that combining CBD and THC can help you relieve pain which leads us to the entourage effect. What is it? We shall explain later herewith.
Why is CBD Popularly used in Natural Supplements?
THC is an illicit drug and abusing it will present you with both long term and immediate mental side effects such as; impaired reasoning and thinking, disrupted decision making, inability to organize and plan, and decreased control over impulses. Again, prolonged use of THC can cause severe abnormalities in the brain and heart.
CBD doesn’t present the harmful effects of THC and can even bar the psychoactive reaction of THC. Cannabis plants that have increased amounts of THC and minimal amounts of CBD will give you a robust stoned feeling. On the contrary, plants with less THC and more CBD give you a more relaxed and weak reaction.
Use of Medical Cannabis
Today, you’ll notice a growing use of medical cannabis with breeders presently producing strains that contain high amounts of CBD as compared to THC. If you’re wondering why then it’s because they aim at cutting down the psychoactive side effects. To answer why CBD is used more in natural supplements as opposed to THC, the ideal answer would be because CBD is more effective and presents minimal health risks, making it the perfect candidate for use in natural applications.
Understanding the Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is an occurrence where the over 400 compounds available in cannabis collaborate to stimulate a specific effect in your body. For instance, 100mg of confined CBD is likely to be less effective as a symptom reliever as opposed to 100mgs of a CBD with cannabis extract.
A section of experts says that consuming the unrefined plant gives you the vital cofactors to promote adequate absorption. This, however, forms the basis of discussion regarding CBD oil from cannabis and CBD oil from hemp. You’ll find that extracting cannabinoid from industrial hemp is more cost effective but there is a catch as seen below.
The Downside of CBD from Hemp
Users will get minimal benefits because it lacks clinically significant amounts of terpenes, as well as other compounds that are available in CBD from cannabis.
CBD Oil from Cannabis
High cannabis CBD cultivars come with increased levels of diverse terpenes and cannabinoids. Still, using it presents some potential drawbacks. Agricultural hemp is far much similar to naturally occurring cannabis. On the other hand, growers cross breed high marijuana CBD to produce increased levels of the preferred compounds. When it comes to the entourage effect concept, there’s no scientific fact as yet and it’s up to the consumers to determine what option works for the best.
What’s the Legal Position of CBD Vs THC?
THC is classified under illegal substances in many countries across the globe. The reason for this is because it can stimulate mind altering reaction on the consumers. From a legal concept, using CBD is safer even though the compound is still hanging in the balance in terms of legality in various countries. It’s important to note that some countries have already legalized the use of cannabis and many more are likely to do so in the near future.
The 2014 US Farm Bill
According to this bill, CBD obtained from hemp is considered federally legal. It’s important to understand that this is but a federal law which doesn’t legalize CBD obtained from marijuana, neither does it invalidate state law. In the US, states can establish their laws regarding CBD and the contrast between marijuana and hemp is still a contentious subject to many people.
This explains why the legality of cannabinoid can be confusing from one state to the other. Even with the existing legality of CBD, the US has made major strides in the right direction. Future US Farm Bills may just put an end to the controversies surrounding the legality of CBD.
How Safe are CBD Products with no Traces of THC?
According to experts, CBD products that are THC free are as effective and safe as CBD products with some traces of THC. We must reiterate that both CBD and THC compounds undergo continuous research. A recent study indicated that both compounds present complimentary effects. What this means is that using them in collaboration complicates their effects. Many times, the beneficial properties of THC is understated because of its harmful effects.
This, together with CBD’s falsification as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, can convince you that THC is controversial, something that has barred the advancement of pf cannabis while advocating for the separation of THC.
What Happens when Traces of THC are Incorporated in CBD Products?
This makes the products more beneficial with some studies suggesting that THC free CBD isolates are unlikely to be as robust as those that contain THC traces and high CBD amounts. Small amounts of THC neither intoxicate nor leave users feeling high. Instead, they collaborate with CBD as well as other cannabinoid compounds available in the product to enhance beneficial effects.
Does CBD Relieve Anxiety?
Studies conducted on humans are beginning to provide proof to show that CBD is capable os enhancing some of the popular symptoms of anxiety disorder such as severe stress. It’s worth noting that these human studies are based on research conducted on animals.
How Does CBD Reduce Anxiety?
Researchers in Brazil carried out a minor double-blind study of patients affected by social anxiety. After taking CBD, the patients said they experienced a high drop in anxiety and the researchers conducted brain scans demonstrating cerebral blood circulation patterns compatible with an anti-anxiety reaction to affirm the patient’s reports.
In yet another minor study, researchers got patients with social anxiety disorder to execute a mock public speaking test. Participants disclosed reduced anxiety levels. Neutral anxiety indicators such as blood pressure and heart rate backed their feedback.
After completing the studies, the researchers concluded that CBD can reduce cognitive disability, anxiety, and enhance speech performance. On the other hand, CBD free medication is likely to increase cognitive disability, anxiety, and speech performance impairment.
Medical Cannabis Drug Interactions You Should Beware of
Did you know that both medical and scientific sectors are closely scrutinizing medical cannabis? Medical practitioners and researchers are seeking to establish the various conditions that medical cannabis can treat. One vital area of research could determine the difference between medical cannabis being harmful to a patient’s health or essential treatment.
When it comes to treating specific conditions, medical cannabis is likely to be used together with other drugs. Often, it may be used as a treatment option for patients with multiple conditions. Understanding the interaction between cannabis and other drugs is necessary. Below are various medical cannabis drug interactions that doctors should know before prescribing it to their patients.
Some Drugs can Elevate the Reaction of Medical Cannabis
Medical cannabis comes with THC, also known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. This compound is by far one of the most studied and popular cannabinoids which occur in different concentrations in varying preparations and strains of medical cannabis. THC triggers various cannabis reactions such as drowsiness, hunger, or a relaxing feeling. What’s more, it can enhance certain psychological reactions such as anxiety or paranoia because of the compound’s psychoactive properties.
Oxidization of THC
CYP mixed function oxidases oxidize THC and this means that the materials that minimize the accessibility of these oxidases can enhance THC’s bioavailability. What this can do is; make users more susceptible to THC associated side effects. Some medications that can trigger THC side effects on patients are; anti-depressants, macrolides, and proton pump inhibitors. Other medications include; HIV protease inhibitors, calcium antagonists, antimycotics, isoniazid, and amiodarone.
Certain Drugs can Minimize THC’s Bioavailability
Some drugs such as rifabutin, phenobarbital, Saint John’s Wort, and primidone can cut down THC’s bioavailability. These drugs expedite THC’s metabolization in the body by enhancing the accessibility of CYP oxidases. This way, THC is rapidly oxidized. This means that patients will hardly experience THC oriented side effects. However, it can be harmful under a therapeutic context. If the patient is attempting to relieve symptoms, they may have to exceed the prescribed dosage seeing that medical cannabis is less effective.
Medical Cannabis can Enhance the Bioavailability of Specific Drugs
Medical cannabis can have an impact on the metabolization of other drugs in the body. CBD, THC, and CBC hinder certain CYP isozymes such as CYP 1A2. CYP1A1, and CYP 1B1. By restricting these enzyme’s availability, these cannabinoids enhance the bioavailability of the materials they can metabolize.
These drugs include; dacarbazine, phenacetin, flutamide, and granisetron. Patients taking these drugs could report enhanced effectiveness. Doctors need to be cautious when recommending medical cannabis to patients who utilize the drugs mentioned herewith.
Cannabis can Interact with Opioids
There’s an ongoing opioid crisis in many parts of the globe with physicians and other players in the industry hoping that medical cannabis will one day counter it. Many patients say that combining opioids and medical cannabis helped them minimize and even eradicate their opioid dependency.
Still, physicians should be extra cautious with their prescriptions seeing that opioids interact with cannabis. Opioids such as oxycodone, and fentanyl, as well as other opioids, extend and magnify the high that patients get when using medical cannabis.
Anti-psychotic drugs such as clozapine can present a similar interaction with cannabis. However, some opioids such as morphine don’t interact with cannabinoids the same way as the aforementioned opioids.
What does this mean?
This means that as a physician, you should assess each of your patients individually. Drug interactions can present diverse effects which means doctors need to be careful to guarantee that patients on medical cannabis are safe.
Additional Drug Interactions to Beware of
CBD can interact with antiepileptics such as Clobazam. You should consult your physician about potential interactions. Further, using medical cannabis can reduce blood sugar. If you’re diabetic, you’ll need to monitor your blood sugar often during the initial stages of using cannabis. Combining cannabis with other sedating drugs can prolong the sedation and make you susceptible to falls or car accidents. Don’t drive while on sedating medications and more so if you’re using them together with cannabis.
Both CBD and THC are compounds available in the cannabis sativa plant family. CBD is on intoxicating while THC presents high mind altering reactions. Still, both compounds function in a similar manner. According to studies, combining cannabinoids can be more effective as opposed to using one. Always consult your physician before using medical cannabis. If you’re a physician, examine your patients and beware of cannabis interaction with certain drugs before prescribing it.