While marijuana has hundreds of natural compounds in it, it is the presence of two specific cannabinoids among them –THC and CBD –that makes it so valuable for medicinal purposes. All cannabis products contain different ratios of these two chemical compounds which interact differently with the cannabinoid receptors in the human body and produce different kinds of effects or highs. It is the particular amount of THC-CBD concentration in a specific marijuana product that makes it better suited for certain purposes and quite ineffective for others. Whether for recreational or medical purposes, being a regular marijuana user requires a fair understanding of these two extremely potent components present in your cannabis. Keep reading this post to know the exact properties of THC and CBD as well as the different effects these two cannabinoids produce on our body and mind.
Chemical properties of THC and CBD
Scientifically speaking, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol(also called delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD or cannabidiol, have the same molecules – 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms – and similar molecular mass – 314.469 g/mol and 314.464 g/mol respectively. It is the different arrangements of the same sets of atoms in the two cannabinoids that make THC and CBD distinct from each other. Both the compounds are also similar to the endocannabinoids present in our body. This enables the cannabinoid receptors in our body to interact with the THC-CBD and produce neurotransmitters in our brains thereby creating different types of effects and sensations.
According to medical professionals and cannabis experts, THC is a psychoactive compound that binds with the receptors controlling mood and pain in the human body. Studies have shown that by interacting with CB1 or Cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in our brains, THC produces the euphoric or exhilarating sensation. CBD, on the other hand, is considered to be a non-psychoactive component that does not bind with CB1 receptors very well. Both of these two cannabinoids are to be found in marijuana in acidic forms.
Effects and Benefits of THC
The endocannabinoid system in our body helps to keep various biological functions like sleep, appetite, pain management and immunity in balance by releasing different endocannabinoids. As THC and CBD imitate the endocannabinoids present within our own system, they can be very effective for various therapeutic purposes. Both THC and CBD affect mood, sleep, memory, muscles and immune functions but quite differently.
THC, being a body-high and euphoria-inducing psychoactive cannabinoid is best suited for recreational purposes. The marijuana strains meant for recreational uses are therefore usually tetrahydrocannabinol heavy products. However, it has also a number of medical benefits as well:
- THC is a strong anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving component. As an anti-inflammatory agent, it is twice more effective than hydrocortisone and at least twenty times more than aspirin.
- It helps to reduce glaucoma symptoms.
- THC-heavy products are used to treat nausea and appetite loss associated with various medical conditions.
- It is a powerful antispasmodic and muscle relaxant compound as well as an amazing bronchodilator, neuroprotectant and antioxidant.
- Some experts also believe that while CBD dominant products are useful to treat neuropathic pain and inflammation, THC products are more suited to deal with camp-related pains and muscle spasms.
Effects and benefits of CBD
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), cannabidiol has a soothing and relaxing effect on the user’s body and mind which makes it very useful in treating a range of medical issues. Not only does it bind weakly with the CB1 receptors, but it also blocks the binding of THC. A high concentration of CBD in a particular marijuana strain therefore vastly weakens the exhilarating effect generated by the THC in it. This makes CBD highly useful for therapeutic purposes, even more than THC. CBD is very effective in alleviating medical symptoms such as:
- Inflammatory and neuropathic pains associated with severe medical health conditions like multiple sclerosis or cancer
- Pain and inflammations due to various forms of arthritis
- Dermatological conditions like Psoriasis or Acne
- Seizures including rare and severe forms of epilepsies like the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome or the Dravet Syndrome
- Various neurodegenerative diseases like schizophrenia, Alzhiemer’s and Parkinson’s.
Side-effects of THC and CBD
While both THC and CBD have a number of favorable effects on our body and brain, long-term uses of the two cannabinoids can have some side-effects as well. Though they are not fatal in any respect, it is useful to ponder over them a little before you start taking marijuana on a regular basis.
Being a psychoactive component, it is believed that THC has more long-term side-effects on our body than its counterpart. They include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Coordination issues and poor motor functions
- Balance problems
- Dizziness or drowsiness
- Dry mouth and red eyes
- Negative effects on cognitive abilities
- Memory loss
CBD, with its non-psychoactive character, has fewer side-effects in comparison to THC. Some experts believe that CBD consumption can only affect you negatively when it reacts to other medications you are taking simultaneously. However, the few known side-effects of long-term CBD use are:
- Low blood pressure
- Diarrhea or other stomach and liver issues
- Fatigue and cranky mood
You need to decide between THC and CBD heavy marijuana based on the specific purpose of your cannabis consumption. THC-high products are more popular among recreational users whereas the CBD-high strains are more useful to treat various medical conditions. Generally speaking, marijuana products with high CBD and low THC concentrations have fewer side-effects than their counterparts. However, it is a fact that each human body and mind can respond to the same THC-CBD ratio quite differently. Therefore, it is always best to consult a trained medical professional to find out the correct THC-CBD ratio that your body requires for alleviating its particular ailments. Once you do that, you are free to choose the most appropriate product from a range of varieties available in the market and make your life a lot better!