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Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two major cannabinoid compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Both these active cannabinoids have a significant effect on the human body. Millions of people around the world are using different forms of CBD products for the treatment of several health disorders.
Many studies have shown that THC also possesses some therapeutic properties like CBD but it is not widely used as a remedy for the health problems because of its psychoactive properties. Both CBD and THC are present in the hemp and the cannabis plants. However, the hemp plant is mainly used to extract CBD. The amount of THC present in the cannabis plant is very high than that of the hemp plant.
Both CBD and THC are available in the form of gummies, oils, tinctures, topicals, and salves, etc. In the United States, the THC content in the CBD products has to be less than 0.3 % to be considered as legal. Studies have found that both these cannabinoid compounds interact with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system. Keep on reading this article to find out the major differences between CBD and THC.
The Chemical Structure
The molecular structure of CBD and THC is the same and both the compounds have 30 hydrogen atoms, 2 oxygen atoms, and 21 carbon atoms. The only difference in the chemical structure is the arrangement of these atoms. This slight difference in the arrangement is the main reason for the different effects of CBD and THC in the human body.
For the endocannabinoid system of your body, both THC and CBD are chemically similar. That is why both the cannabinoids can interact with the cannabinoid receptors present in the endocannabinoid system. The neurotransmitter release in your brain is the result of this interaction. The neurotransmitters help in the regulation of stress, sleep, and pain perception, etc.
The CBD and THC do not have the same psychoactive properties even though they both have similar chemical structures. Many people believe that CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid however, it is psychoactive; but its effect is not as same as that of THC. CBD won’t produce the high that is usually associated with THC.
Unlike THC, the psychoactive effects of CBD help in reducing anxiety, seizures, and depression. THC produces a sense of euphoria because of its interaction with the CB1 cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system. CBD cannot bind with the CB1 receptors as strongly as THC.
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Legality Of THC And CBD
The cannabis laws in the United States are evolving rapidly but the federal law still placed CBD under the Schedule I drug. According to the Farm Bill of 2018, the hemp-derived products became federally legal. However, the Food and Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Administration still consider cannabidiol as a Schedule I drug.
A total of 33 states and Washington D.C have passed cannabis laws that made medical use of THC legal. In addition to that several states also legalized the recreational use of THC. You can easily buy CBD in states where the recreational and medical use of cannabis is legal. It is extremely important to check your state cannabis laws before you decide to buy CBD or THC products. If you are caught with a cannabis product in a state where it is illegal or you do not have a medical prescription to use cannabis, you may face legal penalties.
Health Benefits Of CBD and THC
Both of these cannabinoid compounds offer a lot of health benefits. CBD and THC can provide relief from several health conditions but most people prefer CBD because of the psychoactive effects of THC. Today, CBD is being used as a treatment option for health disorders like anxiety, depression, seizures, pain, inflammation, migraine, nausea, insomnia, and skin problems, etc.
Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug, has been recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which are two rare forms of epilepsy usually affecting children. THC is also helpful in alleviating health problems like nausea, anxiety, glaucoma, muscle spasticity, and pain, etc.
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CBD And THC Side Effects
Unlike THC, CBD is well tolerated by the human body even in high doses. Studies have shown that most of the side effects that CBD causes are due to its interaction with other drugs. Some of the side effects caused by THC are dry mouth, red eyes, elevated heart rate, anxiety, memory loss, and lack of coordination.
Some of the possible side effects of CBD are weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, and dizziness, etc. However, most of these side effects are caused by using CBD in very high doses. Some studies have shown that using THC in high doses may cause negative psychiatric effects. It is always better to talk with a doctor before you start using CBD or THC products because he/she can advise you on the safe amount of CBD and THC you can take.