CBD and THC are two of the most abundant, prominent and by far most studied cannabinoids of cannabis (the plant genus of marijuana and hemp). CBD is extracted from hemp, whereas THC is extracted from marijuana. There are over 100 different cannabinoids that have been identified by scientists. Of the 100, CBD and THC are the most extensively researched and understood. CBD and THC are similar in the way that they interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system, the vital signaling system that regulates a variety of functions. Some of these functions include:
- Immune response
Both CBD and THC’s chemical makeup is similar to the body’s cannabinoids, which allows them to interact with the endocannabinoid system’s cannabinoid receptors to release neurotransmitters of the brain. While this interaction is CBD and THC’s most significant similarity, the two cannabinoids differ greatly in how they influence and interact with the endocannbinoid system and the natural effects they induce.
CBD VS THC
One of the main differences that sets CBD apart from THC is its inability to create a euphoric “high” effect when consumed. CBD is completely non-psychoactive meaning it will not cause a state of
euphoria. This is due to CBD’s inability to bind to the CB1 receptor (a receptor found primarily in the brain and the central nervous system). CBD and THC’s different atomic arrangements interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors differently. In addition to THC’s ability to bind to CB1, THC is able to bind to CB2 receptors with a higher affinity to CB1 receptors. CBD has little affinity for the two cannabinoid receptors and actually serves as an indirect antagonist of the cannabinoid agonists. It is these slight atomic differences that greatly set CBD apart from psychoactive cannabinoids. The psychoactive properties of THC can potentially cause a temporary side effects which may include:
- Lowered reaction time
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Lack or little coordination
- Slower reaction time
Aside from the chemical makeup and the various ways these two cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system, CBD has a completely different legal status from THC. Marijuana and THC are listed in the U.S Controlled Substances Act and prohibited under federal law. Twenty-nine states and Washington D.C. have legalized the use of medical marijuana with high levels of THC. Eight of the 29 states and Washington D.C have legalized the use of recreational marijuana. CBD, unlike marijuana, is legal in 44 states for medical and recreational purposes.
Although CBD and THC are similar in their abilities to interact with our vital endocannabinoid system, the two cannabinoids offer vastly different chemical makeups. CBD is an entirely all-natural non psychoactive cannabinoid. It offers the similar health benefits as THC, without a “high” or uncomfortable side effects. If you are in need of an alternative to treating pain, anxiety, or
depression, consider CBD oil.