As the legalization of marijuana becomes more mainstream throughout the world, and especially in the United States and Canada, more and more people are starting to learn about the benefits of both THC and CBD. But these two chemical compounds shouldn’t be confused with one another. And there are appropriate times and environments to try each.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding these substances. Luckily for you, we’re here to help clear the air and teach you the facts. This way, you’ll be able to figure out which substance is better for you when it comes to CBD vs THC.
Are you interested in learning more? If you are, then keep on reading. We’ll go over what each of these compounds is, how they work, what their benefits are, and which one is right for you.
What Is THC?
THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol. This is a cannabinoid and is found in the cannabis Sativa plant. THC is responsible for many of the psychoactive effects of marijuana.
Because it is a cannabinoid, it acts a lot like the cannabinoid chemicals that are already present in the human body.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
Within the human body is an intricate and complicated system known as the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. This system was first discovered by researchers about thirty years ago as they were trying to gain a stronger understanding of how THC worked.
While scientists are continuing to learn more about how the ECS works and what it actually is, there are several things that we do know. First, we know that the ECS plays a role in regulating a wide range of functions and processes. These functions and processes include:
reproduction and fertility
Even if you don’t use marijuana, the ECS system still exists and is active in the body.
How the Endocannabinoid System Works
There are three main parts that make up the endocannabinoid system. They are receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids.
An endocannabinoid is also known as an endogenous cannabinoid. It is a chemical compound that is naturally created in the human body.
A cannabinoid and endocannabinoid are very similar. The difference is that an endocannabinoid is made in the human body while a cannabinoid comes from a plant.
There are two main endocannabinoids worth knowing: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). These molecules help to keep our internal functions running correctly. Your body produces these chemicals as it needs them.
Receptors for endocannabinoids are all over the body. Endocannabinoids find receptors and bind to them. This signals the ECS that it needs to take action.
The two main ECS receptors are CB1 and CB2.
An endocannabinoid has the ability to bind to either a CB1 or a CB2 receptor. The effects that come from this binding are going to depend on which endocannabinoid and where the receptor is located.
An enzyme is then needed to break the endocannabinoid down after it has carried out its function. There are two main enzymes that are responsible for this.
First, there is monoacylglycerol acid lipase. This enzyme typically breaks 2-AG down.
There is also the fatty acid amide hydrolase. This enzyme breaks AEA down.
How Does THC Interact With the ECS?
It is thanks to the ECS that chemical compounds from plants are able to have psychological and therapeutic effects on the human body. When THC activates the CB1 receptor in the brain, the user then gets the feeling of being high.
If natural endocannabinoids also activate the CB1 receptors, then why aren’t people just naturally high all of the time? There are a couple of reasons why.
First off, the metabolic enzymes break the endocannabinoids very quickly. These enzymes aren’t able to break down THC as quickly, so THC is able to affect the brain for a longer period of time.
Also, THC doesn’t interact with ECS receptors in the exact same way that natural endocannabinoids do.
What Are the Functions of the Endocannabinoid System?
Because we are still learning about the ECS, we don’t know for sure everything that the ECS covers. However, do currently know some of the functions that the ECS is associated with. These functions include:
cardiovascular system function
learning and memory
inflammation and other immune system responses
skin and nerve function
digestion and appetite
reproductive system function
All of these functions have to do with homeostasis. Homeostasis is when the body balances all of the processes within the body. Scientists are under the impression that the point of the ECS is to achieve homeostasis.
The Effects of THC on the Body
Because THC has the ability to stimulate certain brain cells and lead to the release of dopamine, it is able to create a feeling of euphoria within people.
THC also affects how information is processed within the hippocampus. That is the part of the brain that’s responsible for creating new memories.
People who are high on THC might also experience hallucinations. They also might think differently than they normally would and experience delusions.
THC typically affects the brain for a couple of hours. The effects of THC usually kick in between twenty and forty minutes after ingestion.
After the high has worn off, the user still might experience psychomotor impairments. In some situations, the side effects of THC can include:
trouble with recalling short-term memory
rapid heart rate
There are other cannabinoids, as well as terpenes within cannabis, that can mitigate and reduce the negative effects of THC.
The cannabis Sativa plant has been used for a variety of medical purposes for thousands of years. A lot of states have legalized the marijuana plant for medical uses and some have even legalized the plant for recreational use.
While THC can be synthesized in a lab setting, it is usually extracted from marijuana. THC that is made in a lab is used to treat or prevent nausea and vomiting that usually comes from cancer treatment. People who have AIDS may use marijuana to help boost their appetites.
THC has many other medical uses, as well. One example is that THC can actually improve a user’s memory when taken in small doses. Many people also prefer cannabis to prescription pills because it is less addictive and more natural.
What Is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is another cannabinoid that is found in the cannabis Sativa plant. Both hemp and marijuana are varieties of this kind of plant.
The biggest difference between hemp and marijuana has to do with how much THC is in each plant. In order for a cannabis Sativa plant to be considered as hemp legally, it can’t have more than 0.3 percent THC in it.
This means that marijuana plants usually have high concentrations of THC and not a lot of CBD. People nowadays use CBD gummies, CBD edibles, CBD vape with full gram cartridge, etc for CBD intake.
There are hundreds and maybe thousands of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. CBD and THC are two of the most prevalent.
How Does CBD Interact With the ECS?
CBD has the ability to treat a wide variety of health conditions thanks to the endocannabinoid system. CBD has the ability to bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CBD also tends to interact with the body through several different biological pathways. The fact that CBD can activate multiple pathways at one time might be why it’s able to produce distinct medicinal effects.
CBD also has a very interesting relationship with THC. At a cellular level, CBD acts in a way that is the opposite of THC. For example, THC is an agonist of CB1 receptors while CBD is an inverse agonist.
When you take CBD and THC together, CBD has the ability to mitigate the negative side effects of THC. It can even reduce how high someone is by producing an inverse response from ECS receptors.
CBD Won’t Get You High
When it comes to deciding if THC or CBD is better for you, this is likely the main factor that you are going to want to consider. Unlike THC, CBD will not get you high.
CBD is psychoactive but it is not intoxicating. This means that while you might feel relaxed and less anxious, you won’t feel paranoid or euphoric from taking pure CBD. You’re not going to feel sedated or altered in any way.
It’s worth pointing out that there are a few exceptions to this. First off, there’s a chance that you’ll end up buying a CBD product that actually contains THC in it. This is why it is so important that you purchase CBD from a reputable and high-quality vendor.
Also, some people simply react differently to CBD. While most people don’t feel high after taking CBD, there are some people who do. These same people usually feel side effects from medications like Advil and Tylenol.
You never know exactly how your body is going to be affected by a new substance. Because of this, you should always start under the supervision of someone and take a small dose.
CBD Won’t Make You Fail a Drug Test
Another major difference between CBD and THC that you should consider is drug testing. Currently, there aren’t any drug tests out there that can detect CBD. Because CBD won’t affect your motor controls or your ability to think critically, you shouldn’t be worried about taking CBD in reasonable doses.
With that said, if you don’t buy your CBD from a reputable source, then you might end up with traces of THC in your CBD product. These traces of CBD may very well end up showing up on your drug test. If that happens, you might end up facing undesirable consequences, even if you don’t feel the effects of THC.
The Legality of CBD and THC
Another major difference between CBD and THC has to do with legality. In the United States, the legality of these two substances is very confusing. Ever since the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump, CBD became legal to sell and possess.
With that said, there are some states out there that have taken it upon themselves to make CBD illegal.
When it comes to marijuana, the drug is considered to be illegal to possess based on federal law. However, there are many states that have legalized the drug either medically or recreationally.
Before you buy either CBD or THC, it is important that you research your state and local laws to make sure that you don’t do anything that is considered illegal.
Because of an oversight in the Farm Bill, delta 8 THC products are also legal. Delta 8 THC is like regular (delta 9) THC, except it has less powerful effects.
The Importance of Understanding CBD vs THC
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better understanding when it comes to CBD vs THC. As we can see, both CBD and THC have major benefits that can help people who are in pain. But by understanding how they differ, you can figure out which chemical compound is going to be best for you.
Are you looking for other helpful and interesting health and science articles like this one? If you are, then you should definitely make sure to check out the rest of our site today for even more!