If you’re new to cannabis use or are considering whether it might be beneficial for you, the abbreviations CBD and THC are likely to have popped up. Knowing what they are and the difference between the two is vital in understanding which cannabis products could provide what you’re looking for from your experience.
What are CBD and THC?
In short, both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are compounds naturally found in cannabis plants.
These compounds impact a complex cell system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a modulator that regulates functions such as sleep, memory, mood and appetite. The ECS is active with or without cannabis use, but can be altered when using the drug.
Different weed plants will have different compound levels, whilst the extraction process used in products such as cannabis oils or edibles can also draw out varying concentrations of each compound.
Most modern weed products are available with a particular emphasis on either THC or CBD, or with a balance of the two.
What’s the difference between CBD and THC?
Although both CBD and THC have an identical molecular structure, the way their atoms are arranged is different, and this is what produces the varying effects they have on the body and mind.
THC is the compound responsible for the traditional ‘high’ associated with taking cannabis. It is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana and can produce a feeling of euphoria or help relax the body, whilst also possibly increasing brain function, appetite, and heart rate. Consuming high levels of THC has also been linked with possible feelings of paranoia due to this increased brain activity and other side effects may include a dry mouth, memory loss or red eyes.
CBD meanwhile has no psychotic effects and doesn’t result in intoxication. High doses may cause a relaxed feeling, however it is generally used for medicinal purposes. Although any unwanted side effects are less likely than with THC, some users may experience an upset stomach or feelings of tiredness.
5 Major benefits of CBD use
CBD is becoming increasingly common in modern medical practice and has been used to help treat a wide range of diseases and conditions. For more general use, it has also been known to have the following benefits:
Although there is an argument that both THC and CBD can help with anxiety problems, CBD is considered a safer option as it has been shown to be beneficial at a range of doses. Whereas high levels of THC could actually make things worse, CBD can have a relaxing effect, with some research suggesting it could alter serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in mental health.
Many of those that suffer from long term pain are turning to CBD products to manage this discomfort. As well as helping with inflammation, CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) could be what alters the receptors that cause us to feel pain and thus reduce its impact. There is also increasing evidence that it can help alleviate cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side effects such as nausea and vomiting, as well as pain.
Treat neurological disorders
CBD’s ability to alter our ECS and other brain signalling systems may also explain why it has shown promising results when treating neurological disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Although this research is still in its relative infancy, there is a suggestion it may also be able to help improve conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Help keep your heart healthy
Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels is important in preventing a number of health conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. CBD provides a number of benefits for the heart and circulatory system as a result of its stress-relieving and anti-inflammation properties, both of which can be major contributors to high blood pressure and heart problems.
Far from being just a concern for teenagers on the eve of their school prom, acne can prove a major issue in the physical and mental wellbeing of people across a range of ages. CBD has been shown to reduce activity in the glands responsible for producing the oils that can cause spots, whilst its anti-inflammatory qualities also help reduce redness in the skin.
Research into the known and hidden benefits of CBD is accelerating all the time, with new uses being tested and uncovered across many medical fields. With a number of potential advantages, the compound could provide a natural relief for many suffering, across a wide range of discomforts