CBD seems to be all the rage. Even large corporations like CVS are now getting in on the CBD craze by featuring these fantastic products on their shelves. Many, however, struggle to look past CBD’s close relation to marijuana. They often falsely assume that CBD contains the same psychoactive chemicals as THC – the main compound in marijuana. But what exactly are CBD and THC?
What is THC?
When most people think of cannabis, they often think of the psychological effects it has on individuals. This psychological effect is due to tetrahydrocannabinol – otherwise known as THC. THC is the primary psychoactive component found in the cannabis plant and works by mimicking the effects of two of the body’s natural neurotransmitters: anandamide and 2-AG. These neurotransmitters are essential for modulating both sleeping and eating habits, pain perceptions, and multiple other body functions. The mimicry of these neurotransmitters is what causes the classic side-effects of THC, namely increased appetite, fatigue, relaxation and altered states of sense, smell, touch, and hearing.
Clinical research has shown THC to be an effective treatment for several ailments and conditions, including:
- Chronic pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Alleviating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis
- Reducing the side effects of chemotherapy
These benefits, however, must be weighed against the side effects THC presents.
What is CBD and How Does it Differ from THC?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is also present in the cannabis plant. CBD is one of the essential cannabinoids in the entire cannabis plant and can be derived from both medical cannabis and agricultural hemp. CBD and THC share the same chemical formula, but the arrangement of their atoms differs. This different atomic arrangement causes the differing effects of CBD and THC.
Where THC offers relief for a wide array of physical ailments and chronic conditions, these benefits must be weighed against the psychoactive effects of the compound. CBD, on the other hand, does not have these psychoactive properties, meaning it will likely provide relief for a range of conditions, but without any noticeable side effects.
While scientific research into the uses of CBD is in its early stages, there have already been exciting finds concerning its effectiveness at treating a variety of conditions. These include:
- Chronic Pain
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep problems
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