When buying recreational cannabis for the first time it’s easy to get confused. Countless terms are thrown around, many of which are difficult to understand, with two being used more than any other – THC and CBD. Knowing what each one is and the differences between them is very useful for cannabis consumers, as it means you know exactly what to expect from your cannabis.
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis plants known as a cannabinoid. THC reacts with part of the brain called the endocannabinoid system, interacting with a CB1 receptor whenever you consume cannabis. This interaction leads to various effects on the mind and body, some that are like CBD and others that are completely different.
The most notable example of this is that THC is psychoactive. It’s the compound in cannabis responsible for the high you get and all subsequent side-effects from this high. Because the high from THC is so desirable among recreational cannabis users, cannabis strains are usually bred to have the highest THC levels possible
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most prominent cannabinoid in cannabis behind THC. The biggest difference between CBD and THC is that CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not get you high. For instance, if you were to consume a pure CBD oil with no THC content, you won’t get any type of high or psychoactive effects.
CBD works similarly to THC in that it reacts with our endocannabinoid system. However, it reacts with a different receptor from THC, interacting with CB2 receptor, which causes a variety of effects on the mind and body.
Different Side-Effects of CBD and THC
As mentioned, the biggest difference between CBD and THC is that one gets you high while the other doesn’t. Therefore, the side-effects from each one tends to differ, although there are a few similar side-effects between THC and CBD too.
For example, the high produced from THC causes a variety of effects on the mind and body that CBD doesn’t. These are classic side-effects of being high, such as increased appetite, creative thinking, feeling relaxed, and enhanced senses like touch, smell, and taste.
THC isn’t always enjoyable of course – not everyone likes to look of red eyes and the feeling of dry mouth it produces.
Also, some people feel too overwhelmed by the high it produces, leading to feelings of paranoia and anxiety. However, these effects are influenced by the individual, so anyone with a history of anxiety may find that THC makes it worse.
CBD has no negative side-effects as it doesn’t get you high. It actually works as an effective anti-anxiety treatment, with CBD oils, tinctures, and similar products helping to lower stress and anxiety when consumed.
It also provides a range of medical benefits, working as treatment for seizures, inflammation, pain, depression, and much more. THC also has medical benefits too, including treatment for side-effects of chemotherapy, chronic pain, sleeping problems, nausea, and muscle spasticity.