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THC vs CBD – Everything You Need to Learn

In the marijuana plant, there are more than 100 cannabinoids. The plant’s medicinal effects are due to these chemical compounds, which work by stimulating the endocannabinoid system. THC & CBD are the two most important cannabinoids. With medical marijuana getting popular countrywide, more people are interested in learning about the health benefits, risks, etc. of THC & CBD.

Cannabis products containing THC and CBD can help ease anxiety, stress, depression, ADHD, etc. A medical marijuana doctor can help you with the right strains with optimal levels of THC and CBD to alleviate your symptoms.

What’s THC?

THC, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a major ingredient in marijuana, which causes psychoactive effects. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that it accelerates the release of dopamine by activating the reward system of the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for happiness and pleasure. By releasing dopamine, THC delivers euphoria effects.

Medical studies say that THC mimics anandamide, a natural chemical produced by the brain. Thus, it can help influence normal brain functioning, thus changing various processes.

What’s CBD?

CBD, cannabidiol, is another most prevalent chemical compound in marijuana. It was first discovered in the 1940s and gained popularity as a natural treatment for various illnesses. It’s obtained from both the marijuana plants and hemp plants. However, CBD products derived from hemp still contain some THC content.

CBD has the same chemical structure as THC, i.e. 21 Carbon, 30 Hydrogen, and 2 Oxygen atoms. However, the major difference is the arrangement of these atoms. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, it won’t make you high.

Major Differences Between THC & CBD

Both CBD and THC interact with the endocannabinoid system of the body, thus maintaining proper function. Actually, these cannabinoids can influence different bodily processes linked to mood, memory, sleep, appetite, etc.

Related- 6 Facts You Surely Didn’t Know About Cannabis And Sleep

When you take THC, it binds to cannabinoid receptors, particularly CB1 and CB2 receptors, thus delivering medicinal effects. On the other hand, CBD doesn’t interact with either of these receptors directly. Instead, it increases the ability of the chemical compounds to bind to the receptors.

THC and CBD have the same chemical structure as endocannabinoids produced by the body naturally. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between cells. They play a key role in controlling various bodily functions, such as mood, memory, the immune system.

Health Benefits of THC & CBD

Both THC and CBD are packed with amazing health benefits. THC can increase appetite, thus helping patients with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa. Medical studies have found that THC can be beneficial for managing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. THC can also be used for conditions, such as insomnia, tremors, glaucoma, pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, etc.

According to a 2008 study, THC can help improve sleep. Participants who smoked or ingested THC orally were able to reduce the amount of REM sleep and increase deep sleep. However, it’s important to note that too little REM sleep can interfere with memory and mood in some cases.

The FDA has approved Marinol and Syndros for treating nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. These drugs contain dronabinol—a synthetic form of THC. Another FDA-approved medicine Cesamet containing nabilone is effective for weight loss and appetite issues linked to HIV/AIDS.

CBD is known for its amazing pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. In a recent review, researchers checked the effects of CBD in managing chronic pain. The results were based on the studies conducted between 1975 to 2018. Researchers found that CBD can help manage different types of pain without causing side-effects.

The FDA has approved a CBD-based drug Epidiolex for treating two severe forms of epilepsy in patients aged 1 year and more.

It’s important to note that mixing CBD with other medications isn’t safe. There’s some evidence that CBD may interact with certain medications to increase/decrease their concentration in the blood. So, talk to a professional medical marijuana doctor regarding using CBD with medications you are taking.

Side Effects

THC and CBD can be used as effective treatments for various conditions. However, they can cause side-effects in some cases. Some studies show that taking higher doses of CBD can worsen the symptoms. THC can cause certain side-effects, but may not be addictive.

Major side-effects associated with THC are-

  • Memory problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Coordination issues
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sleepiness

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, THC can influence the functioning of the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex regions of the brain. These regions are responsible for creating & retrieving memories and attention.

Major side-effects associated with CBD are-

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Change in appetite

Different Methods to Take THC And CBD

There are various ways to consume THC and CBD. Most consumers prefer smoking for quick delivery of cannabinoids into the system. However, it’s not safe, especially for individuals with lung problems. Some smokeless methods of cannabis consumption are-

  • Oils
  • Capsules & tablets
  • Sprays and lotions
  • Vaping cartridges
  • Edibles such as gummies, brownies, etc. containing cannabinoids

Vaping THC or CBD oils enables you to enjoy medicinal benefits without inhaling toxins and carcinogens. In some vaporizers, you can set the vaping temperature, thus adjusting the quality of vapors.

Related- Smoking vs Vaping – Which is Better?

When buying CBD products, you have various options to choose from. Isolate CBD oils contain only CBD while broad-spectrum oils have other cannabinoids in addition to CBD. However, full-spectrum CBD products are packed with CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids.

Accessing THC & CBD Legally

In the United States, THC use is legal in 33 states. Each state has different MMJ qualifying conditions and regulations for medical users. To access state-licensed dispensaries, you must have MMJ recs signed by a medical marijuana doctor. In the majority of cannabis legalized states, an MMJ card is valid for 12 months. After that, you need to renew it for another year to access benefits such as age relaxation, cannabis tax saving, high potency products, etc.

Now, you can see a doctor online to apply for a new card or MMJ card renewal. It’s very simple and takes less than 10 minutes. The process includes 3 simple steps-

  • Sign up an account
  • Talk to a licensed doctor through HIPAA-compliant software
  • Receive MMJ recs in PDF format via email

CBD can be derived from both cannabis and hemp plants. As per the Farm Bill of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal in the United States. However, there are some conditions. The hemp must be grown by licensed growers and it must contain less than 0.3 percent THC. If the CBD products contain more than 0.3 percent THC, they will be considered as cannabis. Thus, you need to follow the local marijuana laws for purchase, use, and possession.

Key Takeaways

Both THC and CBD can help change different bodily functions by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. They are similar to neurotransmitters produced by the body. CBD is effective for managing pain and inflammation. THC can help boost sleep, ease symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and glaucoma.

THC provides psychoactive effects while CBD is non-psychoactive. If you want to alleviate your symptoms without experiencing high effects, go for CBD products. However, taking both THC and CBD can help you with stronger effects. So, choose strains with optimal levels of THC and CBD carefully for managing your symptoms.

Talk to a licensed medical marijuana doctor to get MMJ recs online.