CBD is a buzzword taking the internet by storm at the moment, and for good reason. But, with so many terms being brought into the light, it might be hard to keep up with what exactly they all mean. CBD and THC may be used in the same sentence, and while they are structurally similar, they are worlds apart as compounds and can have polar opposite effects on the body.
Interestingly, it has been said that scientists have actually identified over 200 different cannabinoids within the cannabis plant family, though the cannabinoids you will most commonly hear about are CBD and THC.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the difference is between CBD and THC.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a compound found in the hemp plant. The hemp plant is part of the cannabis family. CBD can be extracted from many cannabis plants, but hemp itself contains higher concentrations of CBD, whereas other plants are higher in different compounds. When extracted from the plant, CBD is typically made into a universal oil. This oil can then be sold in a variety of different food supplements such as bottled oil, capsules, bites and plenty more options.
What is THC?
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, a chemical compound that is found in marijuana plants, relatives to hemp plants. Unlike the CBD compound, the THC compound creates a psychoactive effect on the brain, which is what causes the “high” sensation. It is because of this, there is also a chance of negative side effects.
THC is currently illegal in Britain, with the one exception of a prescription allowance from a specialist, when in dire cases, other medical treatment may not have worked.
CBD vs THC: Chemical Structure
Despite both compounds creating drastically different effects, interestingly, CBD and THC both are very similar molecules. However, THC’s molecule structure is fairly planar whereas CBD’s molecule has a bent arrangement. It is only a slight deviation in the arrangement of atoms that create such vastly different effects on the body.
Both CBD and THC belong to a group of molecules called cannabinoids, more precisely, as these molecules are produced by plants, they are called “phytocannabinoids” (“Phyto” means “of a plant”). These and other phytocannabinoids interact with your endocannabinoid system.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is a natural system in your body which plays an important role in various parts of functions and processes such as mood, memory, appetite and sleep. The interaction with cannabinoids also impacts the nervous system, by engaging with neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are responsible for relaying messages between the neurons (that is, the cells of the nervous system). Cannabinoids also help to modulate other vital functions such as the immune response, stress and sleep.
Our Bodies Naturally Produce Cannabinoids
Did you know our body produces our own cannabinoids? These molecules are called “endocannabinoids” (“Endo” meaning “internal”).
Fascinatingly, different compounds bind to different receptors and different receptors dictate what effects the compounds will have on the body.
CBD vs THC: Supporting the Body
Both CBD and THC compounds do work together, however, they both support the body in varying ways and can also be used completely separately to one another, though CBD by itself holds up much better than THC in terms of benefits.
The Difference in Medicine
THC is derived from the marijuana plant, and is used with a focus neurological conditions such as epilepsy, spasms, addictions, neurological pain and have been used to manage certain side effects of chemotherapy (such as vomit and nausea) and loss of appetite and weight loss in patients with HIV infection. THC can only be used when prescribed by a physician and it is rarely used.
CBD is Common
CBD derived from the hemp plant is now used as a food supplement across the world. Even in rather small amounts, CBD (cannabidiol) can support various functions of the body such as joints, and cellular health. It can also be beneficial to wellbeing and supports an active lifestyle.
CBD vs THC: Conclusion
While these compounds share almost an identical atom structure, they also offer very distinct differences on the body, and both come from different types of cannabis plants.
It’s important to know that CBD is non-psychoactive and completely legal to use as a food supplement in the UK.
CBD is growing in popularity, and as research is pushed to the forefront of mainstream news, there is a growing number of the variety of products that are available, such as CBD oil or CBD capsules, which means there is something to suit everyone’s needs and lifestyle. For more information on our products, take a look at our website.