Marijuana leaves contain more than 113 chemical compounds. These compounds are referred to as cannabinoids which interact with our bodies through the endocannabinoid system.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the most well-known cannabinoids. It has been proven that THC is the reason why we get a cannabis high, but there hasn’t been much research gone into what CBD actually does. Recent studies have shown that CBD can counteract the effects of THC, and can provide a range of medical benefits and symptom relief.
Here are some of the differences between CBD and THC:
CBD is generally accepted for its non-psychoactive medical benefits while THC is the compound that is known to get you high. THC is the main component that is responsible for the mind-altering effects of the plant. You get high because your brain changes how it functions when the THC binds to CB1 (cannabinoid 1) receptors, which are found in your brain.
THC can bind with your CB1 receptors because it mimics an existing and naturally produced neurotransmitter called anandamide, also known as the bliss molecule. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid which activates your CB1 receptors. When your produce anandamide naturally, it increases your appetite and allows you to experience rewarding effects after you exercise (like when you experience a “high” after running a long distance). When you introduce THC to your body, it produces the blissful feelings because it can activate your CB1 receptors.
Although CBD doesn’t bind to your CB1 receptors (meaning you don’t get the same psychoactive effect as THC), it does give you other effects of the physiology of your mind and body. Research has been done that shows CBD may act as a mild antidepressant and as an antipsychotic because of how it interacts with your brain.
Your CB1 and CB2 receptors are activated by THC while CBD has a more indirect effect. In your endocannabinoid system, the cannabinoids from marijuana interact with your cannabinoid receptors. Some parts of your skin and muscles contain cannabinoid receptors, which is why external cannabis topicals work.
When THC binds with CB1 it stimulates your body in a certain way. The results will generally be fatigue, relaxation, altered senses, and hunger. On the other hand, CBD does not stimulate your CB1 and CB2 receptors directly, but they will interact with them indirectly which is called modulation.
CBD has the potential to increase the levels of your body’s own naturally produced endocannabinoids because of the way they indirectly interact with your CB1 and CB2 receptors. People use CBD for the therapeutic effects they have on many different receptor systems that run throughout the body.
CBD and THC have their own library of benefits and uses. CBD can be used to treat or relieve epilepsy, anxiety, and psychosis. THC is used more for its relaxing, pain-relieving, and euphoric effects. Here are a few of the different uses and benefits each of the two cannabinoids have:
Uses for CBD:
Uses for THC:
Sleep and drowsiness
Relaxation and euphoria