THC and CBD are both cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant. Different strains contain different ratios of these two cannabinoids. This is important recreationally as THC is responsible for the well-known “high” associated with marijuana. Medicinally, THC and CBD function differently. While they are both potential treatments for a range of diseases, their overlap is less than you’d expect.
THC is naturally found in rather low concentrations. More commonly, it’s found in the raw cannabis plant as THCV, and through heating converts into THC. THC affects the cannabinoid 1 receptor, in our body. When it interacts with the receptors in your endocannabinoid system, it alters the release of different chemicals in your body. The dopamine release that’s triggered by THC is one of the causes of the “high”.
In high doses, THC affects your feeling of pleasure, thinking, concentration and other sensory organs. It can also result in anxiety or elation. THC is the compound that made marijuana an illicit drug by the Food and Drug Administration. Although psychoactive, the use of THC-derived products is still popular with recreational users and even for patients that suffer in some severe disease. There are plenty of reasons why THC can be used for medical purposes.
In smaller doses, however, THC has been used as an anti-inflammatory, for treating ADHD, and a plethora of other conditions. It’s recognised as an antiemetic treatment that is often used alongside chemotherapy to reduce nausea and vomiting. It’s been shown to be effective as an appetite controller (and has been marketed as a pharmaceutical to do so). Additionally, it has gained interest as a potential therapy for spasms, arthritis, pain, epilepsy, and many more. Dosage is everything.
There is another compound that was discovered alongside THC, and it is called CBD. CBD or cannabidiol is the counterpart of THC, CBD does not contain any psychotic effects to your body. CBD has an antipsychotic effect and it provides some function in the prevention of the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties and there’s evidence that says it can also help with managing the pain of other medical conditions. However, the way it works in your body is different.
Just like THC, CBD also interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) receptors. The ECS has two receptors known as CB1 and CB2. CB1 is generally located around the central nervous system. CB2, however, is more prevalent in the immune system and the peripheral nervous systems.
CBD research has identified possible usage in treating chronic pain and even sexually transmitted diseases. CBD can reduce inflammation of problems like a migraine, muscle spasm, arthritis and even reduce the outbreaks of herpes virus. It also has shown potential for killing cancer cells and decreasing blood pressure. CBD can be bought in a variety of products such as creams, lotions, oils, tincture, edibles, and concentrates. CBD is approved for use in many states and dispensaries as it’s strongly supported by science and seems to lack serious side-effects.
There are still some minor side effects to be wary of. CBD can cause dry mouth for those patients that use CBD in treatment. Though staying hydrated solves this without much hassle. However, for Parkinson’s patients, a high dose of CBD can sometimes result in increased tremor. High doses of CBD can also lower a user blood pressure resulting in drowsiness and lightheadedness. And lastly, it can also inhibit the metabolism of some hepatic drugs. It’s always important to check for drug interactions if you take any new drug with existing medication.