Components of Hemp
If you have done some research on hemp-based products to treat any health condition, chances are you have heard the terms “THC” and “CBD”. These acronyms refer to Tetrahydrocannabidiol and Cannabidiol respectively; two substances that can be found in the chemical composition of hemp plants.
But why is it so important to understand the difference between CBD and THC? Here is the answer:
THC: The Psychoactive Component of Hemp
Tetrahydrocannabidiol is the main responsible for the “high” effects commonly associated with the consumption of marijuana. Recreational cannabis products often have higher concentrations of this substance, as it alters the senses of smell, sight and hearing and induces a state of calm and relaxation.
While high levels of THC are illegal in many countries, scientific research has shown that Tetrahydrocannabidiol can be used to relieve the symptoms of multiple conditions, including nausea, sclerosis and chronic pain. In the United States, products containing less than 0.3% of THC can be legally sold and consumed, while there is no such restriction in Canada and Uruguay.
The way in which THC works to produce its characteristic effects is by imitating the chemical structure of anandamide, a neurotransmitter found in the human brain. Tetrahydrocannabidiol attaches to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system and activates them, altering their regular functioning. Areas of the brain such as the hippocampus and the orbitofrontal cortex are the most affected by THC products, leading to the disruption of memory, analytical thinking and other functions.
CBD: The Most Popular Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoid
Unlike THC, Cannabidiol does not have any psychoactive properties in its chemical structure despite being found in the same plant. It is usually extracted using a CO2 method which isolates it from other components. This substance is the main ingredient of most hemp-based products including vape liquids, sublingual tinctures and CBD oil capsules.
The legality of cannabidiol is much wider than that of THC in most countries. The United Nations does not consider it a psychotropic substance, and the World Health Organization concluded that “in its pure state, it does not appear to have any abuse potential or cause harm.” In the United States, hemp-derived CBD is not a controlled substance and can be legally sold and consumed across all 50 states of the country.
Ever since scientific research has clarified the broad differences between THC and CBD, the public awareness has grown and the cannabidiol industry is booming in most Western countries nowadays. In a similar way as THC does, cannabidiol interacts with specific receptors in the brain which are responsible for key functions. CBD´s activation of serotonin receptors, for instance, helps reducing anxiety, pain and nausea.
Because cannabidiol is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, its is a great product for anyone suffering from joint pains or sore muscles. Unlike THC, cannabidiol has little secondary effects which are usually limited to slight dizziness or fatigue.
The Entourage Effect: Bringing CBD and THC Together
Scientific research has shown that when cannabinoids act together, they can be even more beneficial for your health. Cannabidiol´s chemical composition can counteract THC´s side effects, with both substances working together to effectively treat acute pain, muscle spasticity and even the symptoms of certain types of cancer.
Before purchasing any CBD or THC product, it is important to be informed about the legal situation of both substances in your area, as well as the specific results you would like to achieve. Once you have done your research, you can choose among a wide variety of vape oils, sublingual tinctures, edibles and more!