CBD Versus THC – Differences & Benefits of Each

CBD and THC have gained quite a good level of publicity since their discovery and successful isolation in 1940. This is because they are the largest members of the cannabinoid family and can play active roles in producing a wide range of therapeutic activities in living systems. CBD and THC are known for their interaction with the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) to produce these possible therapeutic effects, including those relating to antioxidant, anticancer, anti-microbial, anti-tumor, antidepressant, anxiolytic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory effects.

While THC interacts directly with the CB1 receptors (primarily concentrated in the Central Nervous System and peripheral organs like the liver), CBD tends to produce an active effect by interacting with CB2 receptors (found in the immune system). THC interacts directly with the CB1 receptors, thus producing some psychoactive effects while CBD plays a modulatory role in the systems. THC reacts much faster, anywhere from immediately upon smoking to 2 hours after ingestion, while the effects of CBD can take much longer. In this article, we shall take a look at the possible benefits & in-depth information on CBD and THC.

What are the benefits of THC?

Aside from the enjoyment many cannabis users get from smoking marijuana (or other THC-related products), there are several ways in which THC can have a positive effect on mental & physical issues. While it is commonly believed that Sativa cannabis helps with the mind, while Indica strains produces a “body-high”, the benefits of THC go much further than the general Sativa vs Indica argument. CB1 produces a vast array of benefits, all thanks to its interaction with the CB1 receptor of the endocannabinoid system. The CB1 receptors are found in active concentration in the Central Nervous system (CNS) and peripheral organs like the pancreas. These receptors are responsible for several benefits and side effects of THC including those relating to the following;

  • Pain relief:

THC and anandamide are active ingredients for producing a calming effect on the brain and the body. They tend to interact with the brain to trigger the release of feel-good hormones that can keep the body relaxed with reduced pain. There is a growing body of research indicating how THC will be useful in reducing the intensity of neuropathic pain. In another research, it was discovered that THC improved symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis.

  • Anxiety control

The CB1 receptors have been identified to play important roles in modulating animal responses to impulsive behaviors, thereby reducing the rate of anxiety and depression. The interaction between THC and this receptor can serve to stimulate the brain’s rest center to trigger relaxation.

  • Glaucoma

Some researchers have reported the role of THC in reducing intraocular pressure in people suffering from glaucoma. The downside of this activity is that most people will have to ingest a large concentration of THC, usually around 18 to 20mg, eight to six times per day. This increases the chances of experiencing a psychoactive effect.

  • Promote gastrointestinal activity

Cannabinoids like THC and anandamide can facilitate the release of hunger hormones (ghrelin), thus promoting appetite in users. There are also reports of THC assisting people with nausea.

What are the benefits of CBD?

CBD seems to be everywhere, but what exactly is CBD? Its widespread usage can be attributed to the non-psychoactive properties with little to no side effects. Although there is a growing body of evidence indicating how CBD can interact with both receptors of the endocannabinoid system, its activity is primarily exhibited in interaction with the CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors are found in active concentration and circulation in the immune system. They play modulatory functions on the body. Read our extensive breakdown of CBD oil benefits, or continue with our summary of cannabidiol’s commonly encountered benefits:

  1. Anti-inflammatory property

CBD is great at modulating immune responses, thus keeping the body balanced with a reduced possibility of inflammatory diseases. This can help in improving symptoms related to inflammation-induced conditions like arthritis and Irritable Bowel syndrome.

  • Relaxation and sleep promotion

The interaction between CBD and neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA have been reported by several researchers. CBD can interact with the receptors of these neurotransmitters to promote relaxation. CBD can also interact with hormones like melatonin to promote help. This activity is very important in providing relief from insomnia. 

  • Antioxidant effect

CBD possesses an excellent antioxidant activity over free radicals. They can neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals, thus promoting internal balance and cellular health. The antioxidant effect of CBD is being explored as a possible cure for cancer.

  • Seizures

Drugs like epidiolex have shown great promise in reducing chronic seizures associated with Dragnet syndrome and other severe cases of epilepsy. Epidiolex is the first FDA approved CBD -based drug for the treatment of a disease condition. It contains about 98% oil-based CBD extract.

  • Skincare

The use of CBD has been reported in skincare. CBD can serve to reduce the sign of aging. It can also produce a beneficial effect in providing relief from skin based diseases.

  • Anxiety and depression

CBD can interact with the CB1 receptors to boost mood and also reduce the causes of anxiety and depression.

Others include pain relief, prevention of nausea, improving cardiovascular health, appetite regulation, and brain health.

What happens when we combine CBD and THC?

Combining CBD and THC can bring about a lot of reactions and improved benefits to the body. One of the most common effects is the “entourage effect,” where members of the cannabinoid family interact to inhibit the psychoactive properties of THC and other psychoactive members of the cannabinoid family. This is a typical example of what happens in full-spectrum CBD products containing CBD, THC, terpenes, and other minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, and CBN.

When we combine CBD and THC, it tends to increase the bioavailability of the compound and produce a better effect with wider coverage. As a sign of regulation, all CBD products are required by the law to contain no more than 0.3% THC. This is enough to produce the effects of THC without the usual psychoactive effect.

CBD and THC; which is legal?

CBD was recently removed from the banned substances on WADA’s (World Anti-Doping Agency) list. This means the use of CBD is legal in all parts of Canada. THC is still regarded as an illegal compound in the US and may show up in a drug test, but is now legal in Canada up to certain quantities. The law requires that only industrial hemp with less than 0.3% THC should be used for manufacturing CBD products.

CBD and THC, which is better?

Both compounds are great at what they do. While THC can give the user a long-lasting high, CBD can trigger nausea, weight loss, irregular eating habit in users, and above all, it can produce negative drug interaction when combined with aspirin, warfarin, alcohol, theophylline, and clobazam. CBD is legal and can be used in all parts of the world, while THC is not.