The Difference Between THC and CBD

The Difference Between THC and CBD

Cannabis plants such as marijuana and hemp are known to contain chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Among the most important of these cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These two compounds, however, have several crucial differences.

Psychoactive Effects

Both THC and CBD chemical compounds interact with the cannabinoid receptors that can be found in the human body. Their interactions do not have the same effects, though. THC is the mind-altering compound, and it’s this compound that resulted in the banning of marijuana for so many years. Recreational users who take marijuana with high THC content may be so affected that they’re no longer able to drive or operate heavy machinery. 

On the other hand, CBD does not have any psychoactive properties at all. It has no recreational use. This is the reason why so many CBD products are openly sold in online markets today. People who take CBD remain clear-headed, and they are still able to act and behave normally.

Different Medical Benefits

While THC does have this marked effect of making people feel high, it’s also true that taking THC can have some beneficial medicinal effects.

  • People who are overly stressed may feel relaxed after taking THC. In fact, people are often so relaxed after taking marijuana with high THC content that they don’t feel any sort of aggression at all. Unlike with alcohol, people don’t usually get aggressive and start fights after taking THC.
  • THC’s effect as a relaxant also helps reduce the severity of pain and inflammation. This is one reason why marijuana has often been prescribed as a pain reliever.
  • It is also long been known to counter the side effects of chemotherapy. THC also helps fight against nausea and vomiting, which are among the more common side effects of cancer treatments.
  • Some people who consume marijuana often find themselves with serious food cravings. For those whose appetites have decreased, this effect can be helpful to make sure that the patient maintains their proper weight.
  • Artists have also been known to consume marijuana due to its mind-altering effects. The THC can open the mind and affect the senses, and some may enjoy surprising insights due to its consumption.

On the other hand, CBD’s beneficial effects have no effects on one’s cognitive state. Initial studies have indicated that CBD may help with the following medical conditions:

  • Acne
  • ADHD
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anxiety
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Broken Bones
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Dyskinesia
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart Disease
  • Inflammation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Mad Cow Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Nausea
  • Pain (neuropathic, chronic, cancer-related, etc.)
  • Parkinson’s
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance Abuse/Withdrawal

It’s a very long list, but admittedly not much has been definitive. These are just the medical conditions that CBD may help with. Patients still need to consult with their doctor first before taking CBD as a medicine. Taking CBD may also affect a patient’s other medications may work. 

The use of CBD can also result in very individualized responses and results. People can react in very different ways. It may or may not help with a person’s condition. In some people a tiny amount of CBD may result in great improvements, but for others a huge dose may only have minimal changes.

Using THC and CBD For Pain Relief

Studies show that both THC and CBD can be used to relieve pain. However, they don’t have exactly the same results when treating different kinds of pain.

Studies indicate that THC may be better in treating spasticity and other types of pain related to cramping. CBD, on the other hand, may be the better choice for treating inflammation and neuropathic pain.

In general, however, CBD is considered to be a much safer option. Another main difference between THC and CBD is that THC dosage must be monitored very closely. In some cases, consuming large amounts of THC can actually make pain symptoms feel much worse. It’s important that people who take THC for pain must first start with minimal doses before gradually increasing the dosage. 

Also, sometimes THC side effects can be rather difficult to manage. It’s because of this that some experts say that THC drawbacks outweigh their benefits.

However, other experts believe that using a combination of THC and CBD may have the best effects in managing pain. In fact, studies indicate that CBD that comes from the whole plant (and therefore contains other chemical compounds) may be more effective than pure CBD alone.

Side Effects

Scientists have long realized that THC consumption can have unwanted side effects. Some of these side effects are immediate, while others arise only after long term use.

It’s been found that THC can impair cognitive functions. People who take THC may no longer think clearly and reason logically. They may not be able to plan and organize. Their decisions may become faulty, and they may no longer have as much control over their impulses.

Long term THC consumption may also cause abnormalities in the human body. Some of those who have regularly consumed marijuana with high THC content have been found to have abnormalities in their brain and heart.

In contrast, CBD does not cause these cognitive side effects. Taking CBD can even negate the psychoactive effects of THC. This is why CBD products today contain extremely large amounts of CBD, while the THC content is minimized.

Federal law and many state laws also still regard THC as illegal. It’s also banned by many athletic organizations. Some companies even forbid its use even when the state allows for recreational use of marijuana.

THC is certainly not appropriate for young children. CBD, however, has often been designed with children in mind and they do not get high with CBD products.

Overall, CBD is a much safer option for everyone. It is legal to use, and it is not a mind-altering compound. It also do not cause the side effects that THC does.