Updated: 2019, Jul 17

CBD Vs THC: Differences Based on their Effect on the Endocannabinoid System

By - Reviewed by CHD Team
CBD Vs THC

While the cannabis plant is believed to contain more than 100 cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most noticeable. These two are unique especially based on how they interact with the endocannabinoid system in as much as their effects are worlds apart.

The ECS system is responsible for the regulation of different body functions such as memory, sleep, mood, appetite, pain, immune response and life cycles.

As a result, the two have attracted a lot of interest in the world, especially CBD oil effects rich in therapeutic and recreational benefits. The chemical makeup or THC and CBD resemble that of the body’s endocannabinoid system, making it possible to bond and interact with the ECS receptors, altering the functioning of brain’s neurotransmitters. They, however, interact differently with ECS, giving very opposite outcomes.

Interaction with CB1 Receptors

For many years, THC was the mainly known cannabinoid, mainly because of its psychoactive effect. This is what marijuana is associated with generally. You can feel high after using. The euphoric effect that marijuana smokers feel doesn’t, however, occur in case of CBD.

THC directly binds with the CB1 receptors that are found in the central nervous system and the brain. This is the mechanism under which recreational and medical marijuana functions on.

On the other hand, CBD does not directly bind with the CB1 receptors. Actually, it is mechanism is antagonistic in nature of the CB1 agonists. As a result, using CBD infused products doesn’t cause the high efficiency that is associated with THC.

It doesn’t matter what volumes of this product one consumes, you will never get high. Instead, it will suppress the effects of THC on CB1 receptors

Cannabis Vs Hemp Plant

CBD VS THC Info

You will find the two chemical compounds on various parts of the marijuana plant; from seeds, flowers and even stalks. The two are dominant compounds as stated earlier. The main difference, however, lies in the quantities of their existence in these plants.

While marijuana is rich in THC, the hemp plant has high percentages of CBD compared to THC, which is estimated to be 0.3% or even less. The higher quantities of CBD in the hemp plant is the reason why the best CBD supplement you will ever come across was manufactured from this plant.

On the other hand, THC is the dominant compound in typical cannabis plant; the main reason why this plant is cultivated. In fact, the demand for more potent marijuana products has led to regular cloning to ensure that the strongest THC strains can be achieved. Today, you will find approximately 12% THC concentration in marijuana plants being cultivated. Naturally, that would be approximately 3%.

This means that if you come across CBD oil NC with high THC concentration, then it is possible it wasn’t entirely extracted from the hemp plant. There are industrial hemp products being grown for commercial production.

The Structural Differences

While the two compounds are isomers, i.e. have a similar chemical composition, the arrangements of atoms in each differ, though slightly. They have the same molecular formula; C21H30O2.

They are cyclic compounds with CBD having an open hydroxyl and alkene group ring while THC with a closed ester group ring. It is from this difference on the arrangement of atoms that the two draw their main difference from on how they interact with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system.

Interaction with Receptors

CBD Receptors

The interaction of THC and CBD with CB1 and CB2 receptors is what draws them apart; as they tend to pull towards different directions of the same system. As THC directly binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD doesn’t. Taking CBD infused products therefore doesn’t cause any direct interaction with the receptors.

Instead, they tend to suppress effects of THC on the same receptors. Based on that, they can be used to manage conditions such as paranoia caused by THC, which is very common. CBD also interact with other receptors such as TRPV-1 and 5-HT1A receptors, which are non-cannabinoid.

Legal Status

CBD oil products are legal in the United States of America, so long as the THC strength in these products doesn’t exceed 0.03% of the product’s volume. However, specific states have come up with state-specific regulations depending on their areas of priority.

These policies are informed by the need to regulate the industry, which is prone to abuse, especially THC-rich products. The use of medical marijuana, for example, is legal in states such as Washington. Furthermore, some gone ahead and legalized recreational use of these products. This means that you don’t need a prescription to purchase the best CBD supplement.

The legality of CBD infused products, therefore, depends on the source. What is legal in all the 50 states, and not banned as per the Controlled Substance Act are products manufactured from industrial low-THC, high CBD hemp plant. Any other products might not be illegal to use but have to be obtained from select medical facilities under programs that have been put in place to regulate this sensitive industry.

CBD vs THC Side Effects

CBD VS THC Side Effects

Due to the psychoactive nature of THC, there are some side effects associated with its use such as impairment of memory, red eyes, dry mouth, problems with coordination, increase heart rate, among others.

However, despite these side effects, there are very low risks of them turning fatal. On the other hand, CBD is considered to be safe, easy to tolerate and doesn’t cause dependency. There are however reported cases of lightheadedness, dry mouth, and drowsiness. All these are manageable and not fatal

Read Next: Hemp Vs Marijuana: The Real Difference Between CBD Hemp Oil & Marijuana

Bottom Line

It is important to note that there are some THC-rich products and cbd in nc market. However, before purchasing any of these products, you should understand the legal status of their use in your country.

First-time users are encouraged to understand how these products affect the body’s system. Ideally, it is very crucial that you read and understand the label instruction to get the best out of every dose. Despite the seemingly strict regulations, these products have gained a lot of acceptance world over.

Image Credits
Feature Image: Shutterstock.com
In-Post Image: Shutterstock.com, Ecohealthsource.com & Image given by author
Author

Evan Gregorius

Evan Gregorius is a Fellow at the well-renowned company Green Roads World, a writer who

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