Cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol - otherwise respectively known as CBD and THC - are the two most abundant cannabinoids found in cannabis. They both interact with the endocannabinoid system, a vital signaling system that is responsible for regulating several different functions. Both CBD and THC are similar to the endocannabinoids that are naturally found in the human body, but they have distinct differences in how they interact with the endocannabinoid system and the effects that they have on the human body.
For most people, the effect that immediately comes to mind when they think about cannabis is the "high" that comes from using it. This is due to THC and the way it binds to the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain and creates a euphoric feeling. On the other hand, CBD barely binds to CB1 receptors if it binds to them at all. In fact, CBD often suppresses the CB1-activating properties of THC and other compounds. This is said to be the biggest difference between hemp and cannabis. The THC content in cannabis is much higher than it is in hemp, while CBD content is higher in hemp. Of course, this also means that you won't get high from consuming hemp like you would if you used cannabis.
The Medical Benefits
THC and CBD have many of the same medical benefits and can be used to treat many of the same conditions. The biggest difference is that CBD doesn't produce the same high as THC, and many people use medical CBD for that purpose. Both CBD and THC can be used to treat chronic pain, nausea, and anxiety, while CBD has been used to treat a slew of other ailments, conditions and diseases, such as migraines, seizures, mental disorders and tumors. Meanwhile, THC can be used to treat glaucoma, insomnia, and low appetite.
The Side Effects
CBD is usually well-tolerated, even when it is taken in large doses. Side effects have been reported, but research studies by the World Health Organization suggests that these were more likely due to drug-to-drug interactions in patients. This means that patients should speak to their doctors about other medications they are taking before they begin taking CBD.
On the other hand, THC has many well-documented side effects. Some of these include an increased heart rate, poor coordination, dry mouth, slow reaction times, and memory loss. This should come as no surprise since they are common in anybody who has ever used marijuana.
Neither CBD nor THC is fatal when taken in large doses, but high THC use may impact the brain chemistry in ways research is still uncovering. This is especially common in teenagers since their brains are still developing.
Both THC and CBD have medical benefits, but more testing needs to be done before they are widely prescribed. Some states have made medical cannabis with high THC content legal to use, but only if it is prescribed by a doctor. CBD products can usually be purchased and used in states where medical cannabis is legal, but every state is different. Before you decide to use CBD or THC medical products, check your state's laws to make sure that what you are doing is legal, and never begin a serious drug regimen without consulting your doctor. CBD and THC are relatively safe to use, but they will always be more effective if you use them according to your doctor's orders.
For more information on medical and commercial cannabis, check out the cannabis application page built by the cannabis experts at Metro.