There’s been a lot of hype lately about both CBD, or cannabidiol, and THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. Cannabidiol is advertised in health food stores, spas, and coffee shops, and those places even offer to mix its oil in with your lotions, coffee, or other beverages. Both CBD and THC are important cannabinoids that are found in cannabis, the plant that includes hemp and marijuana. The cannabinoids have several similarities, so they often get confused. Take a look at some of the important differences between the two.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound that occurs naturally in cannabis plants. It’s sometimes taken from the same plant as marijuana and sometimes taken from hemp plants. But CBD is not the same thing as the drug marijuana, which consists of the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. Studies have shown that it’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that causes people to get high from marijuana, not CBD. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD is not addictive like THC in marijuana.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical that creates most of the psychological effects from marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it functions similarly to the cannabinoid chemicals that are made naturally by the body.
Cannabinoid receptors are located in specific spots within the brain that are associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination, and time perception. THC works by attaching to these receptors and prompting them to affect memory, pleasure, movements, thinking, concentration, coordination, and perception of senses and time.
How are CBD and THC similar?
Both CBD and THC use the endocannabinoid system to interact with the body. The endocannabinoid system is a signaling system that regulates many functions within the body, including pain, appetite, mood, memory, immune response, sleep, and cell life and death cycles. The chemical makeups of both are similar to the body’s natural endocannabinoids.
Differences Between CBD and THC
Despite their similarities, CBD and THC are actually quite different. The first major difference is that, when consumed, CBD does not create any kind of euphoric effect, or “high,” and THC does. THC directly affects the endocannabinoid system’s cannabinoid 1 receptors (CB1), which are located in the brain and the central nervous system (CNS). The psychoactive effect that people connect with both recreational and medical marijuana is created by the activation of CB1 receptors.
CBD does not bind with CB1 receptors. In fact, it goes directly against them. This means that CBD can never create a “high,” and furthermore, it actually blocks the qualities that activate CB-1 n THC.
It’s important to know that both of these cannabinoids have some side effects, most of them temporary.
The side effects of THC can include memory impairments, lowered reaction time, increased heart rate, coordination problems, dry mouth, and red eyes. According to the National Cancer Institute, it is impossible to overdose on it. CBD is typically safe and tolerated well, but some people may experience dry mouth, light-headedness, and drowsiness.