CBD VS THC: What’s the Difference?

cbd and thc chemical formulas and cannabis leafThe Cannabis plant (both Hemp and Marijuana) contains over 100 types of Phytocannabinoid molecules.  The most well-known of these are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) that function differently in the human body.

What is THC?

THC is the molecule responsible for the psychoactive effect, or ‘high’, that Cannabis is known for.

In strains classified as Marijuana, THC occurs in percentages around 16% on average.  Strains classified as Hemp, however, have THC of 0.3% or less.

The THC molecule targets CB1 receptors in the brain and nervous system that regulate mood, appetite, perception, and other cognitive functions.

As the human body naturally produces Cannabinoids already as part of the Endocannabinoid System (or ECS), THC molecules are not seen as invaders, but instead easily attach to these receptors.

How is THC Psychoactive?

Rather than regulating these functions as the ECS does, the THC actually overstimulates them, resulting in the elevated psychoactive experience.

While there are no lasting negative effects of this overstimulation, it can create a temporarily uncomfortable feeling for some people.

What is CBD?

CBD is commonly derived from Cannabis strains classified as Hemp, as these varieties have low THC, but large quantities of CBD and other minor cannabinoids.

Unlike THC, CBD does not target specific receptors in the ECS.

Instead, CBD modulates the efficacy of other cannabinoids to attach to these receptors.

For example, CBD hinders THC from binding to the CB1 receptors, therefore reducing the overstimulation caused by the molecule.

CBD is Not Psychoactive. 

On the other hand, it enhances the body's ability to produce naturally occurring Endocannabinoids that regulate and control bodily systems and reactions.

Essentially, CBD encourages the human body to function better, naturally.

Unlike the overstimulation felt as a result of the THC molecule, CBD has no psychoactive effects.

CBD & THC Work Together.

In addition to the abundant major cannabinoids, there are also minor cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN that are less abundant in the Cannabis plant.

The collective of these minor Cannabinoids, along with majors like CBD and THC, enables more efficient functioning of the entire system.  This is now known as the Entourage Effect.

Further research is needed to pinpoint the functionality of each individual Cannabinoid, but CBD and THC are becoming well-known Cannabis components.