That is the question of the hour isn’t it, especially with the CBD phenomenon that is happening right now stocking up on our store shelves. THC and CBD are both cannabinoids that are found in hemp plants, although they have very different effects on the human body. CBD has been found to have many potentially beneficial effects, such as the alleviation of pain, anxiety, and epilepsy, whereas THC is the infamous substance that creates the high when cannabis is used recreationally. Another key difference between the two substances is that CBD is legal to purchase in many countries, including the UK, whereas THC is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
What are THC and CBD?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, often shortened to ‘THC’ and cannabidiol, also known as ‘CBD’ are both chemical compounds derived from the cannabis plant. These compounds belong to a family of chemicals called cannabinoids. THC and CBD are just two of over 100 different types of cannabinoids that are found in the marijuana plant. Although they come from the same source plant and both interact with the human body through the endocannabinoid system, the two substances have different chemical structures and cause different reactions within the human body.
What are the effects of THC?
THC is a psychoactive substance that causes a sense of euphoria known as a “high”. This is because THC is very chemically similar to a neurotransmitter found naturally in the brain called anandamide, named after the Sanskrit word for “bliss”. This means that when THC gets into the bloodstream, it can interact with the brain in the same way that anandamide does, creating a sense of euphoria and relaxation. It may also cause an occurrence called the “munchies” when a bag of Takis must be handy nearby. However, THC also causes many of the negative side effects of marijuana consumption, including anxiety or paranoia. This is because THC can alter the amygdala, the part of the brain that is responsible for stress, anger, and anxiety. It is also associated with the increased risk of psychosis, which is a risk factor of recreational cannabis use. It is because of these dangerous side effects that THC is a controlled substance in the UK. This is why using marijuana or other THC products for recreational purposes is illegal.
What are the effects of CBD?
Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects and won’t give you a high, but don’t get disappointed because some scientific studies have indicated that CBD reduces anxiety, rather than increasing it. This is because CBD imitates the neurotransmitter serotonin, not anandamide. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that affects things like sleep and mood. Since CBD interacts with the same part of the brain as serotonin, it may help with reducing anxiety and improving mood. This may also be why some people experience drowsiness as a side effect of taking CBD. CBD has also shown to be highly effective at treating some severe forms of epilepsy and there is already one FDA-approved medication (Epidiolex®) for treating epilepsy which uses CBD as the active ingredient. As long as it contains no THC, CBD products are legal to purchase in the UK.
What are the main differences between THC and CBD?
The main points to take away about THC and CBD are:
● THC and CBD are different chemicals and have very different effects on the human body, even though they come from the same plant
● THC is a psychoactive substance that causes a high, whereas CBD does not cause intoxication.
● THC can cause negative side effects such as paranoia, anxiety, and psychosis, whereas CBD does not.
● CBD is legal to purchase in the UK, whereas THC is a controlled substance and illegal to buy in the UK
● CBD is used as a treatment for epilepsy and has shown promise in treating ailments such as anxiety and insomnia
● When used together, CBD and THC can contribute to the ‘Entourage Effect’