CBD Vs THC – Whats the Difference?

Just a quick disclaimer; we don’t make health claims about CBD, we just share the research. You’ll always find references to scientific literature to substantiate what we share. This is for informational use only. Always speak to your doctor before making any changes to your healthcare regimen.  

THC and CBD are similar compounds that are commonly known as cannabinoids. You can find over 100  cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis. Cannabis tends to carry far more THC than hemp, which carries close to none.

Psychoactivity

The major difference between THC and CBD is their level of psychoactivity, which is basically the difference between being high or not.

While THC is psychoactive, CBD has demonstrated little to no psychoactivity. A lot of folks find the ‘high’ associated with THC a little unsettling, as it promotes a state of consciousness that can seem scary and unfamiliar if you’re not used to it.

THC can have a profound effect on mood, either for the best or worst, depending on whats going on in your life, prior experience(s), the environment you take it in and the amount you take.

This is in contrast to CBD which is considered to be mood stabilising due to its antipsychotic properties.

You could essentially think of hemp or cannabis oil that contains only CBD as basically a decaf coffee. Decaf still contains many antioxidants and plant compounds that are health promoting, just without the ‘rush’ for those who don’t like caffeine.

Therapeutic Potential

While both THC and CBD differ in psychoactivity, they may provide shared, and unique therapeutic properties. Bear in mind that clinical trials using cannabinoids are lacking, and much evidence is provided from using animals so far.

Property

THC

CBD

Psychoactive

Anti-inflammatory

(4)

(1), (2)

Antioxidant

(1)

(1)

Appetite

(4), (6)

Anti-anxiety

/(Dose)

(1), (2)

Anti-addiction

?

(1)

Muscle relaxant

(1)

?

Anti-seizure

? (5)

(1), (5)

Analgesic (Pain reduction)

(1), (3), (4)

(1), (2)

Antiemetic (vomiting)

(4)

(2)

Antipsychotic

(2)

Antidiabetic

(2)

Bone-stimulant

?

(2)

Anti-psoriasis

?

(2)

Antibacterial

(2)

Immune regulation

(2)

Neuroprotection

(3), (4)

(2)

Similar Compounds, Different Mechanisms

Cannabinoids like CBD and THC interact with your bodies very own cannabinoid system, also known as the Endocannabinoid System. THC and CBD are basically two different sets of keys which fit specific locks (receptors) throughout the Endocannabinoid system.

The reason CBD and THC have so many shared properties yet differ in psycoactivity is due to similar interaction with some receptors, but different interaction at others.

The cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1) is the most widely distributed receptor in the brain and nervous system. Mood, consciousness and psycoactivity are just a few things that are regulated through CB1 signalling.

While THC activates CB1, CBD has little to no interaction with this receptor. When it does interact with CB1 it tends to block it, which reduces THC’s ability to activate it. This is how CBD counteracts a ‘high’ and relieves anxiety from too much THC.

Besides CB1, THC and CBD have shared interactions with loads of other receptors, both within the Endocannabinoid system and outside of it. These other receptors modulate systems that do not involve psychoactivity.

PPARy Receptor

CBD & THC both activate this receptor (7), (8).

PPARy regulates:

TPRV2 Receptor

CBD & THC both activate this receptor (11).

TPRV2 regulates:

  • Intestinal function (12)
  • Blood pressure (12)
  • Blood sugar (12)
  • Body temperature (12)

Through cannabinoid receptors and the ones above, cannabinoids can impact health and wellbeing by influencing the way functional systems operate throughout the body.

This is how they produce the properties seen in the table above, by influencing core processes like blood pressure regulation (13).

Therefore, while THC and CBD differ in psychoactivity, they can also act as teammates across many functional systems in a way that prevents ill health and promotes wellbeing.

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