With Cannabis legalization becoming mainstream, many people have been talking about CBD and THC – the 2 fundamental chemical components of marijuana. Before we start to distinguish distinction between the 2 important constituents of marijuana and their benefits in medical paths, we must know how marijuana affects us.
Inside everyone is a biological pathway called the “Endocannabinoid system” that helps in regulating your mood, appetite, and memory and pain sensation? THC and CBD takes over this system and gives us a sensation of being happy and content. Although the names THC and CBD might sound like they have similar effects and have almost the same molecular structure, there’s a vast difference between them.
CBD Does Not Make You High While THC Does!
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) consist of an almost identical chemical structure and same molecular formula C₂₁H₃₀O₂, but there’s one very important structural difference between THC and CBD. THC consist of a cyclic ring while CBD consists of a Hydroxyl group and this difference is vital in determining whether you will feel “high” or not.
Let’s take a look at the CB1 receptor first. When you are not high, a neurotransmitter named “Anandamide” affects the CB1 receptor in your body. This neurotransmitter’s job is to make you feel good and motivated. It also influences other behavior. When you exercise, the release of Anandamide causes you to feel energetic and puts you in a state known as “Runner’s high.”
The structure of THC is very much like the Anandamide, therefore, they go perfectly well together. That’s why it can also make you feel buzzed. CBD, on the contrary has a different shape because of the Hydroxyl group, which does not let it fit in the CB1 receptor. So, CBD won’t make you high but it will bind to some other receptors in the cannabinoid system and affect you in other ways. Therefore, it is just a myth that all of the strains and types make you high, it is not true.
Medical properties of THC and CBD
CBD is a great anti-inflammatory when it comes to joint inflammation or any type of inflammation in the body. CBD can be used instead of ibuprofen and different anti-inflammatory drugs that treat swelling, redness, and soreness. It’s also good for anxiety (anti-anxiolytic). Patients suffering from anxiety issues are usually given pills like Xanax and Valium. It’s also good for pain and is an analgesic as well as an antioxidant that helps boost the immunity system and heals glaucoma.
On the contrary, THC is Antineoplastic (it can help to shrink tumors and decrease metastasis i.e. Anti-Cancer property), Antispasmodic (helps with muscle spasm), Analgesic (pain killer), Anti-nausea (helps with nausea, vomiting and stimulating people’s appetite) and aids in sleep. The consumer sales of THC reached $238 M in 2018. Research provides a conclusive ground that THC aggravates psychotic symptoms while CBD helps with psychosis. A research was conducted where a bunch of people with social anxiety were asked to do some public speaking in front of massive crowd. These people were either given CBD or Placebo. Those who were given CBD were reported to be less anxious and performed better.
Consuming them at the same time
One study found that due to CBS’s biochemical shape it can bind with the CB1 receptor and turn it off that is biologically known as “Allosteric Inhibition.” CBD therefore actually stops the THC from binding with the CB1 receptor and reduces the feeling of being high or euphoria. If you vaporize marijuana THC 25% with 0.1% of CBD you could get high. If you vaporize 25% of THC and 12% of CBD then it could decrease the feeling of euphoria. Where cannabis is sold legally, percentages are mentioned on the products.
Products of THC and CBD
CBD and THC can both be used in a plethora of products that either can be vaporized, taken orally or in the form of lotions and lip balms. THC and CBD are used in soaps, edibles, lip balms, lotions, creams, oils, beverages, vapes and can also be consumed with instruments and burnt through bongs and rolling papers. Recently FDA has allowed Epidiolex, a Cannabidiol that is used to cure epilepsy and seizures. Though states might have legalized marijuana, it is still illegal to have it in your drinks, but the DEA won’t prosecute you. Many Rap sensations like Wiz Khalifa have their types of cannabis that includes THC rich vaping sticks, strains, and cannabis oil.
Legal Status in the US
The medical use of cannabis is legalized in 33 states. 14 other states have laws that limit THC content. The recreational use of marijuana is legalized in 11 states of the US including Alaska, California, Nevada, Washington, Illinois, and Michigan. There have been several meaningful documentaries like The emperor of Hemp (1999), The Culture High (2014) and Weed The People (2018) written on CBD, marijuana legalization and the need for more research and usage in the medical sector, especially for cancer patients.
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Wrapping it up!
Although, THC has a lot of benefits, but there’s less data on how effectively CBD treats a variety of conditions from anxiety to acne. Though the US is still evolving on this matter and there are changing laws by the minute, so it is essential to understand the laws and practices revolving around marijuana and its use.
Although marijuana can be abused and can be dangerous and illegal, Kudos to health departments as it’s now being used as a very good substitute for curing conditions. Let’s hope that we can keep using marijuana for a good purpose and it proves to be the best for us.