CBD vs. THC: The Yin and Yang of Cannabis

What is CBD?

The cannabis plant contains more than 113 different chemical compounds. However, two of them are the most plentiful: CBD and THC. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive chemical, that shows significant promise as medicine. It is found in greatest concentrations in CBD-rich cannabis strains and hemp, and mounting evidence suggest that it has anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain relief) and anti-psychotic properties, among others.

These -and other- effects, are useful in a range of conditions, such as auto-immune diseases, arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression and seizures. Its medicinal uses are under investigation from the scientific and medical community, but preliminary evidence suggests that it is often an ideal alternative to powerful medicine. Side-effects are milder or non-existent, while CBD works naturally with the body to promote the release of serotonin in the brain.

Even though it comes from cannabis plants, CBD is not psychoactive. Especially hemp-derived CBD is not affected by a legal ban, meaning that it is easier to source and obtain. In fact, marijuana plant is persecuted because of its THC content, which is indeed, psychoactive. However, hemp contains way less than the legal THC limit (0.3%), making hemp-CBD extraction considerably easier.

What is THC?

Known and loved by millions of recreational marijuana users around the world, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabinoid found in greater concentrations in the resin of the female marijuana flower.. It is the most potent psychoactive compound of cannabis and is found in greatest concentrations on the flowers of the female plant. Needless to say, this is the chemical that creates the “high” effect that marijuana is most popular for.

THC acts in a similar way to the natural cannabinoids that are released by the human endocannabinoid system in the body. In fact, cannabinoid receptors are ubiquitous in our brains, and are associated with pretty much every aspect of our daily lives.  THC shows a great affinity for these receptors and activates them, affecting the pleasure, thinking and coordination centers in the brain. The release of dopamine in the brain cells creates a euphoric feeling, and in extreme cases, hallucinations or delusions. In some cases, you might even need to do some detox from marijuana, to get excess THC off your system.

Medicinal Or Recreational?

Although they are both very popular cannabinoids, there are many differences between THC and CBD. The biggest one is psychoactivity: THC incurs a feeling of euphoria, coupled by a distorted perception, whereas CBD works in a subtler way, counteracting to the extreme effects of THC. However, THC also has some medicinal benefits, mainly with conditions like depression, pain management and appetite loss. This basically comes down to the fact that THC activates CB1 receptors in our brain while CBD does not. CBD’s subtle effects are primarily felt in pain, inflammation, and anxiety relief, as well as other medicinal benefits.