If you’ve been shopping around for recreational cannabis products there are two terms you’ve probably seen more than any other – THC and CBD. These are two substances found in cannabis called cannabinoids, with THC and CBD being the two most common and understood types of cannabinoids.
While they are both a cannabinoid, THC and CBD have very different effects on the mind and body, which is why they’re always labelled on cannabis products. Most cannabis has very high THC and little to no CBD. There are certain types of strains and products that have just CBD, while some also have an equal amount of THC and CBD, so knowing the difference between each one and what this means is very useful.
What are the Differences Between CBD and THC?
The biggest difference between CBD and THC is that THC is psychoactive so produces the high cannabis is known for, while CBD doesn’t produce this effect. Basically, THC gets you high while CBD doesn’t.
For instance, getting high produces a variety of effects on the mind and body, such as relaxation, increased appetite, enhanced senses (e.g. smell, taste, sight), sleepiness, and fatigue. These are caused by THC and not CBD.
CBD does have its own unique effects too, however. For example, CBD provides an uplifting effect that often provides energy. It’s also known to counteract the effects of THC, so cannabis strains with more CBD tend to get you less high.
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and the one responsible for its famous psychoactive effects. This is caused by a unique reaction in the brain’s nervous system, where compounds like THC interact with receptors of the endocannabinoid system.
THC reacts with CB1 receptors, with the subsequent reactions causing the high effect associated with cannabis. Because this is the main component of recreational cannabis use, many cannabis strains are bred to have very high THC content with very little or no CBD.
So, if you see THC on cannabis packaging it’s referring to the psychoactive compound responsible for getting you high. The higher the THC the higher you get, with strong strains producing intense effects on the mind and body.
It’s also worth nothing that THC is believed to provide range of health benefits to the body, so it does more than just get you high. For example, THC is known as an effective treatment against the side-effects of chemotherapy, helping to increase appetite, lower pain, and reduce vomiting and nausea.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the other main cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. It’s effects on the mind and body are still only being discovered, with research helping us discover the amazing impact CBD has when consumed.
Like THC, it reacts with endocannabinoid systems present in the nervous system, with CBD reacting with CB2 receptors. This interaction has different effects compared to THC and CB1 receptors, causing no psychoactive effects, so we don’t get any type of high from CBD.
In fact, CBD is shown to counter the effects of THC, so a balanced strain with equal parts THC and CBD will get you less high than a strain with the same amount of THC but no CBD.
However, CBD does have various non-psychoactive effects, all of which are beneficial in some form. For example, CBD has a calming effect on the mind, helping lower stress and anxiety, with many people using concentrated CBD with no THC as natural form of anti-anxiety medicine.
CBD is also known for anti-inflammatory effects, making it a powerful pain killer for various ailments, both chronic and temporary.