What is the difference between THC and CBD?

thc and cbd legal cannabis

There are two words that are associated with cannabis. THC and CBD. If you use cannabis frequently, the chances are you might have come across them both from time to time. In fact, looking at the THC to CBD ratio is one of the critical factors in deciding whether or not a given strain is ideal for you or not.

Yet, there isn’t a lot of clarity among people about what CBD and THC actually mean and how are they different from one another. That’s understandable and a common theme among cannabis users.

We are here to teach you the difference between CBD versus THC. To just put it, there are an array of elements and chemicals in a cannabis plant. This includes over a hundred types of cannabinoids or CBD. While CBD is known to have no psychoactive effect and instead has a therapeutic effect on the body, THC is the compound that is responsible for making you feel high.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are compounds that are naturally found in the Cannabis sativa plant. While this plant has over 480 chemicals, over 66 of them are termed to be some type of cannabinoid. THC and CBD are just two of the many types of cannabinoids. Other categories include Cannabigerols (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabichromenes (CBC), Cannabinodiol (CBDL) etc.

Cannabinoids work by interacting with different types of cannabinoid receptors present in the human body. For instance, some of these receptors are found in the central nervous system of the human body. This includes CB1 and CB2 receptors. Cannabinoids work by binding onto them to yield the desired effect. This effect may vary depending on which area of the brain it triggers. This is why some cannabinoids make you feel high while others cause pain relief.

What is CBD?

CBD is the short form of cannabidiol. This naturally occurring compound can be used in edibles as well as tropical oils. It affects the body by making it feel relaxed and calm. This is a stark difference to the effect of THC, which causes a high. This is not the case with CBD since it is not psychoactive.

What is high CBD?

While CBD is usually the second-most abundant cannabinoid in any cannabis, this doesn’t mean that all cannabis plants and strains are high in CBD. Instead, the following ratio may be present.

  • High CBD, low THC (5-20% CBD, THC under 5%)
  • Balanced CBD/THC (5-15% THC and CBD)
  • High THC, low CBD (10-30% THC, trace amounts of CBD)

What is the difference between a high CBD strain and a low one? Well, it all comes down to the strength of effect they have on the body. High CBD strains will help you increase alertness and deliver clarity. It will offer functional effects of the cannabinoid without making you feel high. People prefer high-CBD strains if they get side effects to THC easily. Also, CBD helps in controlling pain, anxiety, muscle inflammation, and depression.

How does CBD effect the body?

Well, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system of the body. While THC directly stimulates CB1 and CB2 of the body, the same is not true for CBD. CBD interacts indirectly with the systems of the body in a process what is known as modulation. It works by enhancing the level of endocannabinoids produced in the body while inhibiting the actions of enzymes that break it.

thc and cbdWhat is THC?

THC refers to tetrahydrocannabinol. This is yet another compound that is naturally found in cannabinoid. What is the significant difference between CBD versus THC? It is that THC is psychoactive and CBD is not. In layman terms, psychoactive compounds are those that deliver the “high” feeling you get when you consume certain strains of cannabis.

THC is quite similar to the naturally occurring anandamide. This compound is produced by the brain and has a similar structure to THC. This is why THC attaches to the neurons in the brain, just like anandamide does. It changes the process of how the brain communicates. THC works by affecting memory, movement, pleasure, thinking, concentration and sensory, etc.

What is high THC?

Just like some strains have a high CBD strain, some tend to have a high quantity of THC. There was a time when a high THC content meant 10 percent of THC. However, now with elitist smoking on the rise, this ratio is now considered balanced or moderate at most. Now, when someone asks for a cannabis strain with a high THC content, they likely mean one which has over 18 percent of THC.

Here are some strains that feature high THC content.

  • Destroyer, with about 20 percent of THC
  • Kilimanjaro, with about 20 percent of THC
  • Thai, with 22 percent of THC
  • Sour Diesel, with 18 percent of THC
  • Rockstar, with 21 percent of THC
  • LA Confidential, with 19 percent of THC

How does THC effect the body?

THC interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system of the body and produces the following effects:

  • A euphoric feeling and intense relaxation
  • It acts as a painkiller
  • Aids in relaxing muscles
  • It helps in stimulating appetite and boosting mood

CBD versus THC: The psychological effect

As mentioned, there are two significant differences between CBD and THC. One is due to the psychological effect of the cause.

CBD is non-psychoactive and does not produce a high while THC does. THC makes you feel euphoric. This is because it binds to CB1 receptors of the brain, thereby producing a high. Since CBD does not bind to the receptor, it does not produce the effect. It instead works as an antidepressant due to its antipsychotic effect.

To sum it up

All in all, while CBD and THC may have similar chemical structures, they affect the body differently and hence produce different results. Which cannabis strain is right for you depends on which of the two elements you want more of. If you are looking only to get high, go for a strain that has high THC content. However, if you wish to consume cannabis for medicinal purposes, opt for ones with high CBD ratio.

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