When people think of cannabis, for most, the first thing that comes to mind is getting high. But, as more people are exploring the benefits of both CBD products (whether cannabis flowers or CBD oils) from hemp plants as well as cannabis products from medical marijuana, it is important to understand the difference between tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), the two main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
In this article we at uWeed will do just that, as well as explain how these two cannabinoids interact with the body, as well as how they work together to help ease the symptoms of a wide variety of conditions and diseases.
The Cannabinoids: CBD and THC
What is CBD ?
CBD is one of the most abundant and critical cannabinoids has a very similar chemical formula to THC, but the atoms are arranged slightly differently, meaning that CBD does not have psychoactive effects, and doesn’t cause the familiar “high” THC gives.
Medical Benefits of CBD
Medical CBD is probably one of the most research cannabinoids, having proven to be an effective treatment protocol for a wide variety of symptoms and diseases. The effects of CBD are more prevalent in the following medical conditions:
- Pain relief
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Depression and anxiety
- Attentional Hyperactivity Disorder
- Cardiovascular disease
What is THC
THC is the main psychotropic compound in cannabis, and arguably also the most well-known. It works by interacting with cannabinoid receptors, most predominantly CB1 receptors, helping to modulate mood, perception, sleep and a wide variety of other physiological and immune functions.
Medical Benefits of THC
Although people tend to associate THC with recreational use, it has also been shown to have several therapeutic properties (without the long term side effects often associated with pharmaceuticals), including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nausea and vomiting especially as a side effect of chemotherapy
- Chronic pain
- Digestive health
How & Why The Cannabinoids Work, including THC and CBD
The Endocannabinoid System
All vertebrates have something called an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that produces endocannabinoids - the human body’s very own set of cannabinoids. Plant cannabinoids like CBD and THC work because they have the ability to mimic these, and interact with our bodies through the ECS.
The ECS is crucial in maintaining homeostasis, a constant state of balance within the body which helps keep our bodies happy and healthy. Think of homeostasis as a kind of “Goldilocks zone” where all the conditions within the body’s cells, tissues and physiological systems function at their best, fight off disease and restore health from the inside out.
Unfortunately, just like anything else, the ECS can also become impaired, causing the body to become imbalanced, and in return fall ill.
Endocannabinoid Deficiency Disorder
In fact, scientists believe that the ECS is so critical to overall health, that they even coined the name clinical endocannabinoid deficiency disorder and that many of the symptoms and disorders people experience are because of something going wrong with the ECS.
This is also the reason why plant cannabinoids such as CBD and THC are such important therapeutic compounds. When phytocannabinoids are introduced into the body, it attaches to and interacts with the same receptor cells that endocannabinoids and other types of neurotransmitters do. And when this happens, they help kick-start the ECS back into action, rebalancing the body’s biological systems, while also directly modulating many of the neural signals that cause discomfort.
The Entourage Effect
THC and CBD are not the only therapeutic compounds found in cannabis. Whole-plant cannabis extracts also contain other types of cannabinoids and aromatic compounds called terpenes. These work together in such a way that the overall beneficial effects are much bigger when used together than they do individually.
This synergy between the different plant compounds is known as the “entourage effect” and becomes particularly interesting when you look at the way in which THC and CBD interact with each other. For instance, CBD mitigates the psychotropic and cognitive impairment effects of THC while potentially increasing its analgesic properties.
Final Thoughts on THC and CBD
Unfortunately there is still a lot of disinformation surrounding medical cannabis and CBD vs. THC, with many people thinking that high THC products are recreational and high CBD products are medicinal. This is unfortunate as, even in small amounts, both of these compounds have a potentially positive effects within the body, with research even showing that whole-plant extracts tend to be more therapeutically effective due to the entourage effect. So, if you’re not getting the relief you need from CBD-only products, try something with a THC content - it might just be what you need.