THC vs CBD: Understanding the Key Differences

If you’re new to cannabis, you’ve probably heard about CBD and THC. But do you know what is the difference between the two? 


For a long time, cannabis lovers cared about potency (potency means that a strain is high in THC)  the most. Because of its popularity, the demand for high-THC strains skyrocketed and many strains that were rich in THC started appearing. 


However, as the times change and become crazier in where we live, many people started to consume weed to wind down and relax. So, that’s where CBD comes into play. 


Today, some prefer stronger weed, and some prefer a more mellow one. 

So, what are the main differences between CBD and THC? 


Where both CBD and THC are cannabinoids that can be derived from the marijuana plant, they have a lot of differences that can play an important role next time you decide to visit one of the local coffeeshops in Amsterdam

Molecular differences


Chemically, THC and CBD are similar – they also have similarities to our own endocannabinoids that are present in our bodies. 


Both consisted of 21 atoms of carbon, 2 oxygen atoms and 30 hydrogen atoms, the difference is in how these atoms are connected. 


In other words, their structure is the main factor in how they connect to different receptors in our bodies and release the neurotransmitters that create different effects on us. 

Difference in Effects


Since they have different binding properties, that means both CBD and THC have different effects on our bodies. While the molecular structure of THC is compatible with the CB1 receptors that mimic the effect of our natural endocannabinoid called anandamide (which is in charge of dopamine release in our bodies), CBD does the exact opposite. 


But CBD also pairs with TRPV1 receptors which are known to influence our perception of pain, body temperature, and inflammation. 


Although both CBD and THC are most powerful when working together (including terpenes, known as the entourage effect) they also have powerful benefits on their own.


CBD effects


CBD helps with a plethora of medical conditions and the list of symptoms to which it offers relief is consistently growing. Although there is a constant need for more research to prove the benefits of CBD, some of the main issues that CBD can help with are: 


  • Anxiety and PTSD
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Insomnia
  • Pain and inflammation
  • Seizures
  • Epilepsy

CBD became famous for treating a unique and challenging form of pediatric epilepsy called Dravet’s Syndrome. This condition causes a lot of seizures which make day-to-day challenging and CBD has been shown to lower the number of seizures from 1200 to 3 a month in one patient. 


Although there is more research needed, CBD has a plethora of positive benefits for treating rare illnesses like this one. 


THC effects


THC, as it affects the release of dopamine, has a more important role when it comes to dealing with:


  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Glaucoma
  • Pain


Although a lot of people prefer a balance of both, THC has a stronger effect on the mood and produces a high, while CBD doesn’t. The high caused by THC also helps with mood regulation and many mental health conditions and symptoms.

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