When it comes to understanding the cannabis plant, there are still many things yet to be discovered. With nearly 500 different compounds found within the cannabis plant, over 100 of them are cannabinoids. Today we will only be discussing two of these cannabinoids; tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Understanding CBD and THC
Both are distinct cannabinoids found naturally in the cannabis plant. They are said to be the substances, which affect the human body when ingested or smoked. The plant causes these effects due to recreating naturally occurring compounds, which are within our bodies already. They are referred to as endocannabinoids.
Most often, you will see CBD used as a form of medical treatment. Whereas, THC you will typically see more in recreational use. Although both have medicinal properties, CBD is more commonly in the healthcare industry.
What is THC?
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid or a chemical compound within cannabis plants. These chemical compounds send signals to the body’s endocannabinoid system. By doing so, they begin to interact and produce various mental and physical effects.
With THC, there are profound psychoactive effects that occur in the body. These typically include feelings of euphoria or as some like to say a “high” feeling. The amount of THC in cannabis depends on the plant: indica, sativa, and ruderalis. Typically, you find more THC in indica leaning plants compared to ruderalis or sativa. Although, that may not always be 100% true.
How does THC work?
Our brains produce a chemical called anandamide, which has a similar structure to THC chemicals. The brain, therefore, interprets THC similarly as it would anandamide, producing psychoactive effects. When THC enters the body, chemical messages get sent between nerve cells as if it were the chemical anandamide, and neurons get activated. This produces physical and mental effects on the host.
What are the effects of THC?
THC can be responsible for a euphoric sensation amongst users. It has also served as a form of pain relief and reduces inflammation. THC also causes senses of both physical and mental relaxation, drowsiness and appetite stimulation. These are the effects of THC interacting with the nerve cells in our body.
What are the medical benefits of THC?
THC combats the following:
- bodily pain,
- reduces inflammation,
- encourages sleep
- and relieves stress.
Those affected by glaucoma, chemotherapy, AIDS and other diseases state that THC has been responsible for relieving bodily pain. Even spinal injuries and back pain become relieved when THC begins interacting with the body’s natural chemicals.
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What is CBD?
CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical within the cannabis plant. And, until recently hasn’t received much attention. Due to it not producing the euphoric effect that THC does, CBD has remained out of the spotlight. That is until the health benefits of CBD were uncovered. Helping those with anxiety, nausea, inflammation, chemotherapy, and much more. Therefore, proving to be much more powerful for healing benefits.
Additionally, hemp plants produce more CBD compared to cannabis plants. Hemp is, in fact, selectively bred sativa plants made to be much stronger, taller and more fibrous. A standard cannabis plant contains far less CBD than a hemp plant will. Currently, many produce CBD hemp to transform into medicine for a variety of ailments within the United States.
How does CBD work?
While there are still many studies going on to fully understand how CBD interacts with the brain, we do know a few things about how it affects the human body. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system such as THC does, but it does not produce a “high” effect. More specifically, CBD targets two receptors, the CB1, and CB2 receptors. Both of these receptors handle a variety of bodily functions.
- CB1 Receptor: These receptors handle an individual’s mood, memory, sleep, appetite and pain sensation functions within the body.
- CB2 Receptor: Typically, these receptors are in an individual’s immune system. This is why CBD can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
CBD activates and interacts with these receptors in the body. Additionally, it allows adenosine to release more dopamine and glutamate. This is what aids in the relief of mental disorders and other health complications.
What are the effects of CBD?
When CBD interacts with the bodily chemicals found in the endocannabinoid system, there are a number of symptoms that can be remedied.
- mental psychosis
- cancer or tumor cells
- nausea and vomiting
What are the medical benefits of CBD?
A common use for CBD is an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication. Additionally, patients suffering from cancer or tumors in the body can use CBD. This is because CBD combats these cells.
If a patient is suffering from constant nausea, CBD can suppress it. This is also true for patients suffering from seizures, physical pain or inflammation and a number of other medical conditions. Some medical professionals have even seen patients with schizophrenia make large improvements in their condition of life by implementing a daily dose of CBD medication.
All in all, CBD has proven to be far more useful in the healthcare industry than it’s counterpart; THC.