With the rising popularity of marijuana products today, it should come as no surprise that people are suddenly so interested in learning more about anything related to marijuana. When browsing through sources on the matter, two of the most common acronyms that come up are CBD and THC. These stand for cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol, respectively.
What do these acronyms represent, and what’s the difference between both? Read more below to get your answers.
First, What Does The General Term ‘Cannabinoids’ Mean?
Cannabinoids are essential to discuss as a precursor, as both CBD and THC are specific types of cannabinoids. These refer to the compounds that naturally occur in the marijuana plant. When applied to the body, these interact with specific receptors to create physiological effects.
In the cannabis or hemp plant, there are over 100 cannabinoids. But, two of the most common types are CBD and THC.
What Is CBD?
CBD is the short term used to refer to cannabidiol. This is extracted from the hemp or marijuana plant. Through strict and rigorous processing, the CBD, as you know it and get to use it, isn’t psychoactive. This means that it won’t get you high or addicted to marijuana.
Because it isn’t psychoactive, CBD comprises the most common types of marijuana products legally sold in dispensaries. These can either be in the form of soft gels, pills, capsules, candies, food, tinctures, oils, creams and lotions, and even beverages. Because of these many forms, CBD also has quite a varied delivery method, in comparison with THC.
What Is THC?
THC, on the other hand, refers to tetrahydrocannabinol. This refers to the chemical composition of the marijuana plant that will get the user high. When the marijuana product has over 0.3% of THC, this is enough to get them high.
The most common forms of taking it in the body are smoking and vaping. But, there are now also other types of products such as capsules, edibles, and tinctures.
What Is The Difference Between CBD And THC?
As can be concluded from the definitions above, the main distinction between CBD and THC is in the fact that THC can get you high, while CBD doesn’t. This makes CBD the more popular choice, especially for those who want to use marijuana products as a medicinal alternative to synthetic drugs.
This difference highly stems from the differing ways that CBD and THC interact in your body. THC interacts with the parts of the body that will get you high. While, on the other hand, CBD interacts with the receptors that reduce inflammation, and all the other benefits of marijuana minus the high sensation.
Here’s a brief explanation of the difference between CBD and THC’s interactions in the different parts of the body:
- There are two types of receptors in the human body, classified as CB1 and CB2 receptors. The former is prominent in the central nervous system. While the latter is in the peripheral nervous system.
- CBD tends to bind more with the CB2 receptors of the body. This means because the CB2 is prominent in the peripheral nervous system, whatever interacts with it also affects the rest of the body. The effects, therefore, are spread throughout the rest of the body, such as reduction of inflammation, without being able to feel the sensation of feeling “high,” as marijuana normally would.
- THC, on the other hand, binds with the CB1 receptors of the body. Any interaction with the CB1 receptors are more likely to produce a psychoactive effect, for the reason that it interacts more with the brain and the spinal cord. The effects aren’t spread out to the rest of the body. Through this interaction, your brain gets triggered to let out a euphoric “high” feeling.
What Is The Chemical Structure of CBD and THC?
The chemical structure is also a fundamental fact to highlight here because it also helps to better understand what makes both so different from each other. CBD and THC, however, have the same chemical structure. Both have two oxygen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and 30 hydrogen atoms.
Although both are exactly the same as to chemical structure, the difference lies in how the atoms are arranged in CBD and THC. Because of this difference in the arrangement, the effects in the body are also different. THC gets you high, while CBD doesn’t.
CBD and THC are necessarily two of the most common options that users can get through marijuana use. CBD is without the psychoactive component, while THC is. Hence the general opinion that for medical use, CBD is naturally the better choice.
But, if you’re opting to use marijuana for recreational purposes in places and states where it’s legal, then there’s not much of a difference between both. The key is in using it moderation. Importantly also, always use marijuana with the advice of a medical expert.