CBD vs THC: What's The Difference?

CBD vs THC: What's The Difference?

With prescription drug addiction on the rise, there is a growing demand for all natural alternatives. That is why there has been an explosion of interest in cannabis compounds like CBD and THC and their wide range of potential medical benefits. While they are closely related and may lead some people to assume they work the same way, they are actually quite the opposite.

CBD vs THC: The Difference

Tetrahydracannbidiol and Cannabidiol have the same chemical makeup of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. They are almost identical, the key word there being almost. What sets these two compounds apart is the arrangement of a single atom shown in the picture below.

If you remember what you learned in high school chemistry class, an atom is a million times smaller than a piece of sand, so we're talking about a very small difference here. So you're probably thinking to yourself if they are so similar how different can THC and CBD really be?

The quick answer - they are very different - and here's why.

What are Cannabinoids and The Endocannabinoid System?

Before we get into the difference between THC and CBD it's important to understand what these cannabinoids are and how they interact with your body.

There are currently at least 85 different types of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, many of which have known medicinal properties. Cannabinoids (i.e THC and CBD) are chemical compounds found in cannabis that provide a vast array of medical benefits for pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation just to name a few. These chemical compounds work by imitating compounds that our bodies naturally produce on their own, called endocannabinoids, which work to maintain balance and health in your body. They interact with our bodies Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which is a network of receptors throughout our body that work to maintain vital functions.

To sum this up in basic terms, they reconcile communication between cells, and when there is a problem or lake of cannabinoids that is when you experience unpleasant symptoms and physical problems.

When cannabinoids are consumed they bind to the CB-1 receptors in our brain and CBD-2 receptors in our body. Cannabinoids have different effects on the body depending on the receptor that they bind to. 

CB1 receptors are found in the brain and are responsible for mental and physiological development such as memory, cognition, emotions, and coordination. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are found through your bodies central nervous and immune systems.

When cannabinoids like THC and CBD interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors this is when the health benefits occur such as pain relief, anxiety relief, mood enhancement and so much more. Because CBD and THC have different structures they interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors differently. 

How CBD and THC Affect The Body

CBD and THC both bind to the CB2 receptor however they interact with the CB1 receptor in very different ways. The molecular structure of THC allows it to bind directly to the CB1 receptors. When this happens it sends signals to your brain which create the psychoactive effects of "feeling high."

On the contrary, research shows that CBD does not bind directly with CB1 receptors and it can in fact even negate the bond between THC and CB1 receptors essentially overriding the "high" from the THC.

THC is known to have tremendous health benefits however the psychoactive effects are not for everybody. CBD, however, can deliver many of the same medical benefits without the "high". CBD derived from hemp is also legal in all 50 states whereas THC is only legal in a select few states.

CBD vs THC: The Laws Explained

Because of the psychoactive effects that THC has it is classified as an illegal substance in most countries in the world and most states in the USA. Although there are many states in the US that currently have recreational and medical marijuana programs on a federal level THC is still illegal.

CBD, on the other hand, so long as it's derived from industrial hemp is federally legal based on the US Farm Bill of 2014. This does not make CBD derived from marijuana legal only CBD from industrial hemp that contains less than .3% THC. 

Hemp-derived CBD products can be bought online or from stores all across the US. This allows even those living in "illegal" states access to CBD and all the medical benefits that it has.

CBD vs THC: Conclusion

In conclusion, CBD and THC do have many similarities, but they also have stark differences. CBD or THC is not better or worse than the other. Both of these popular cannabinoids have tremendous medical benefits and can help provide you the relief you are looking for. Some people prefer the "high" you get from THC while other's stay away and prefer just pure CBD. We hope this post helped to clear up and confusion you had about the difference between THC vs CBD.


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