Lamens Understanding of Pot
THC or CBD?
People often wonder what the difference is between THC and CBD, and why one remains available in many stores while the other is still federally illegal. Both come from marijuana plants, but the THC provides the high many associate with pot. CBD, in contrast, provides no high and continues to dominate the news thanks to its health benefits. Individuals turning to marijuana for medical purposes must understand the differences between the two to get the right product for their needs.
These differences remain significant, which many people can’t understand. How can one part of a plant produce one effect and another part a completely different one? From the effects on the body to the side effects, understanding the similarities and differences remains key to correct use of the substances.
THC and CBD share certain characteristics. Both come from the marijuana plant, are made in a similar chemical way, and are used the same way. What additional characteristics do the two share?
CBD and THC serve as plant-based cannabinoids, which means they are the active ingredients found in this plant. These cannabinoids provide the effects associated with pot and CBD oil, including the euphoria and increased appetite seen with pot use and the pain relief achieved with use of CBD oil.
THC and CBD begin as the same cannabinoid. Marijuana plants, in the early stages of growth, contain a large concentration of CBGA or cannabigerolic acid. CBGA serves as the precursor to CBG. However, thanks to an enzymatic reaction that takes place within the plant’s glandular trichomes, CBGA converts into THCA, CBCA, and CBDA. When exposed to heat, the cannabinoids turn into THC, CBD, and more, dropping the A from their name during the process. This process activates the effects of the cannabinoids.
THC and CBD share ingestion methods. This includes smoking, vaporization, edibles, and topicals. Each comes with its own benefits.
Individuals smoke marijuana to benefit from the significant levels of THC found in pot. However, dispensaries sell high-CBD strains created for medicinal use, and patients often smoke these strains. Vaporization remains a preferred method for many marijuana users. Some use a vaporizer with dry marijuana buds, but others vape an oil rich in THC, CBD, or a combination of the two.
Edibles offer another means of consuming CBD or THC, with the dry herb being used in a wide range of products. Try brownies, salad dressings, cannabutter, or marijuana cookies. Cooks find they can incorporate edible THC or CBD into a wide range of foods. They do so with the help of oils, tinctures, and more.
Individuals struggling with various skin conditions often turn to topicals containing THC or CBD for pain relief. Creams and lotions containing one or both of the substances provide this relief when the cannabinoids found in the product interact with receptors present in the human body. Individuals who want to avoid negative effects from use of the THC or CBD often choose this method.
Although the two substances possess many similarities, differences exist between them. Furthermore, the differences are seen quickly. For instance, THC and CBD differ in terms of their effects and their method of action. Users must know these differences and determine which best fulfills their needs.
How Each Works in the Human Body
The body contains CB1 and CB2 receptors, and TCH engages with these receptors to make the user high while minimizing or eliminating pain. While CBD also engages with these receptors, it fails to do so completely, and this helps to explain why it doesn’t provide the high associated with pot. CBD boosts the natural endocannabinoids present in the body to relax the user, relieve pain, and reduce anxiety.
How THC Affects the Body
The details of the working of THC in the body is quite comprehensive, but in simple terms, THC works by binding itself to the cannabinoid receptors present in the central nervous system and the brain to create the various psychoactive effects. THC will produce a wide range of both short term and long term effects and these will vary from one individual to another. For instance, others will find that HTC elicits feeling of great calm and peace while others may realize that their levels of anxiety increases upon taking HTC. The other short-term related effects of THC include:
Positive Side Effects
- Elation & Relaxation
- Sedation & Pain Relief
- Energy & Euphoria
- Creativity & Motivation
Negative Side Effects
- Increased heartbeat
- Increased feelings of hunger
- Memory loss
- Feelings of drowsiness
- Red eyes and dry mouth
- Slower perception of time
- Paranoia or anxiety
How CBD Affects The Body
While THC and CBD come from the same cannabinoid, they affect the body differently. Both provide pain relief while making the user relaxed and drowsy. However, THC produces the high many users seek, while the use of CBD doesn’t result in this euphoria. Rather, the person remains clear-headed. This is due to the way they engage with receptors in the body. THC only engages the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and CBD engages with these receptors and others present in humans.
The most notable short-term effects of CBD include:
Positive Side Effects
- Pain Reliever
- Combats Inflammation
- Reduces Anxiety & Depression
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Diabetes Prevention
- Promotes Relaxation
Negative Side Effects
- Changes in Appetite & Weight
- Fatigue / Drowsiness
- Dry Mouth
Individuals want to know if THC and CBD show up on drug tests. Drug tests look for THC in the sample, so marijuana use leads to a positive drug test. Users must know which test the provider uses and how long marijuana remains in the system to determine if they will test positive. For instance, urine tests show marijuana use in the last one to 30 days. In contrast, sampling a hair may lead to a positive test up to 90 days after marijuana use has been discontinued.
CBD in a sample doesn’t lead to a positive drug test. However, CBD oil made from marijuana often contains THC in a certain concentration. If this concentration remains high, a positive drug test becomes possible.
Hemp and Marijuana
Hemp and marijuana both are derived from the cannabis plant genus, but marijuana generates high amounts of THC. The amount present in the plant varies by the strain. Hemp has THC levels of 0.3 percent or less, which isn’t enough to show up on a drug test.
Users find CBD present in both hemp and marijuana. Recreational strains contain varying amounts of CBD, and breeders continue to experiment with the marijuana strains to create ones with high-CBD levels for medicinal use.
Hemp likewise contains CBD in plentiful quantities. In states where medical marijuana remains prohibited, hemp-derived CBD serves as a useful alternative. Nevertheless, proponents of medical cannabis continue to advocate for the legalization of this substance, stating it provides better results because of the full range of compounds found in it.
Users find there are significant differences when it comes to THC and CBD for medical purposes. Both substances treat many illnesses and conditions, thus users must know which works better for the symptoms they are experiencing.
Patients with anxiety respond very well to CBD, which is why many people choose this option rather than traditional pharmaceuticals. Many prescription medications leave the user groggy and feeling as if they cannot function. This isn’t the case with CBD. THC, however, often brings about anxiety or makes it worse.
Glaucoma patients find they can lower intraocular pressure with the help of marijuana, although doctors express concern over this treatment option. While accomplishing this goal, THC also lowers blood pressure within the eye, which can lead to a decrease in the blood supply to the eye and damage to the optic nerve. However, late-stage patients find THC helps with the pain associated with the later stages of this disease.
More Medicinal uses of THC
Marijuana has been in use for treating or offering relief to various ailments for close to 3000 years. In the United States, the use of medicinal marijuana is legal in most states while there are also a good number of states where using it for recreational purposes may not even get you in trouble with the law.
Currently, THC is obtained as an extract from marijuana or is it synthesized as is always the case for FDA approved medications such as dronbinol. Available in various formulations and under different trade names, THC is currently being used to prevent vomiting and nausea associated with cancer medication. According to the US National Library of Medicine, THC drugs can also be used to increase appetites of individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
CBD treats certain forms of epilepsy and continues to be very effective in doing so. In fact, pharmaceutical companies now take and purify CBD before concentrating it to treat rare forms of this disorder. This includes Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Patients with psychotic disorders could get relief with the use of CBD. The antipsychotic effects might benefit those individuals with schizophrenia. However, THC may increase a person’s chance of developing this disorder or bring about symptoms in individuals who have received a diagnosis of schizophrenia. For this reason, men and women with a known psychosis must take care when using THC or CBD products without a doctor’s supervision, and patients should report any use of these products to the doctor when a diagnosis is being made.
Multiple sclerosis patients often report tremors and muscle spasms, and THC helps to reduce these symptoms. As a result, research continues to be conducted to determine if THC serves as a viable alternative to conventional medications used to reduce these symptoms. CDB relieves spasms but not tremors. Generally indica cannabis is considered the most relaxing of the bunch, as the high really seems to have a body-oriented effect and is also very sedative.
Thanks to the many benefits associated with the use of THC and CBD, pharmaceutical companies continue to work on incorporating marijuana into medications. However, a one-size-fits-all approach fails here, and research continues in this field.
Medications on the market today use concentrated and purified cannabinoids pulled for the plant or synthetic versions of these cannabinoids. One benefit of using prescription medications containing THC or CBD is insurance companies cover these medications. They don’t cover medical marijuana.
Marinol or Dronabinol served as the world’s first THC-based prescription medication. This synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC helps individuals suffering from low appetite, vomiting, and nausea brought on by AIDS or chemotherapy.
The FDA approved Epidiolex in 2018 for use by individuals with rare forms of epilepsy, allowing it to be the first-CBD centric prescription using the whole plant to obtain approval by this agency. This drug now falls under the Schedule V classification as opposed to the Schedule 1 classification. CBD itself remains a Schedule 1 drug, and other Schedule 1 drugs include heroin and cocaine.
Certain prescription medications contain a mixture of THC and CBD, including Sativex or Nabiximols. This oral spray treats muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis. It’s also used for neuropathic pain in MS patients and cancer pain. Or course when you use products like this that are isolated lab-made chemicals, the effect may not be entirely the same as when consuming the whole bud harvested from a plant like Critical Kush, Lemon Thai or Cream Caramel. Nonetheless these are helpful tools in the medical field that are at least opening up new avenues for cannabinoids to help people with their health issues.
Combining THC And CBD
People often think CBD and THC work best when used independently. However, scientists believe they may provide more benefit when used together. While CBD counteracts common effects seen with THC, the entire spectrum of cannabinoids works best together as the mixture boosts the effects of the individual components. This comes as a result of the different substances working on different receptors, which allows some to work more effectively. This very phenomenon has been coined ‘the entourage effect’ and is seen in many other examples of cellular biology as well.
For a couple of excellent choices on seeds that we carry that offer such benefit consider our 1:1 Black Domina or 20:1 High CBD Feminized seeds. To understand THC, what it is, and how it works, one must understand what CBD is. Knowing the similarities and differences between the two ensures users choose the right cannabinoid for their specific wants and needs.
More on THC – Biological Interactions
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the chemical responsible for the euphoric high associated with marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, THC acts in the same way as cannabinoid chemicals found naturally in our bodies. Cannabinoids interact with receptors present in large numbers in the human brain. This ‘endocannabinoid system’ is associated with time perception, coordination, pleasure, memory and thinking.
THC normally gets attached to the receptors in these parts of the brain and once the receptors are activated, an individual’s pleasure, memory, time perception, coordination, movement, concentration, and thinking capabilities are affected.
Its initial isolation from marijuana was done in 1964 by an Israeli chemist known as Raphael Mechoulam. He managed to successfully isolate and synthesize THC from hashish from Lebanon and this marked the beginning of the numerous research and studies involving cannabinoids and the behavior of cannabinoid receptors throughout the body.