The Marijuana plant contains over 113 different chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Of these compounds, the most important two are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). These compounds can be isolated and extracted from the plant, allowing them to be placed into a variety of products such as capsules, tinctures, oils, and edibles for more convenient consumption.
Both THC and CBD interact with our inner Endocannabinoid System (ECS), but do so in different ways, eliciting different responses, and producing different effects. As a result, both of these compounds have unique characteristics that allow them to treat a variety of psychological and physical conditions. The ECS is an important internal signaling system that is responsible for regulating a wide array of functions such as pain, appetite, mood, memory, immune response, sleep, and cycles of cellular life and death. It is important for medicinal users to familiarize themselves with these two compounds so as to determine which one, and how much of it, to incorporate into their individual treatment plan.
What is THC?
THC is the most recognized chemical compound found in the marijuana plant. It is a psychoactive compound which is responsible for the uplifting and euphoric high that is usually associated with marijuana. The strength of this effect is dependant on the amount of THC contained within the item being consumed. When measured within the plant, most cannabis strains have a THC percentage of around 10-30%. When isolated and extracted, some THC products, like distillates, can reach purity levels of close to 100% THC.
THC works by binding to CB1 (Cannabinoid 1) and CB2 (Cannabinoid 2) receptors in the brain and body, changing the way that they function, and producing a ‘high’. THC also stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain, which is responsible for the euphoric and uplifting aspects of the high. Through its interaction with the Endocannabinoid System, THC has the ability to regulate pain and immunes responses, allowing it to function as a painkiller, muscle relaxant, and anti-inflammatory. Additionally, THC can cause heightened sensory awareness, time distortion, and an increased desire for socialization.
THC is commonly used to treat conditions and illnesses like physical pain, inflammation, headaches, stress, depression, insomnia, glaucoma, nausea, and lack of appetite.
What is CBD?
CBD has gained a reputation for being an effective medical treatment option for a variety of illnesses and conditions. Similarly to THC, CBD effects the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body and brain, however, it does so indirectly. Unlike THC, CBD is not a psychoactive compound, meaning that it does not produce any kind of a ‘high’, or alter your conscience in any way. Instead, CBD produces a physically and psychologically calming sedative effect. CBD is not only more effective than THC in treating certain kinds of pain, but its lack of a psychoactive effect allows users to function as normal while medicating throughout the day. The diverse array of conditions that it treats, and the effectiveness with which it treats them, has put CBD at the forefront of medical marijuana research in the past decade. It has recently been proven to be one of the most effective treatments known to modern medicine for epilepsy.
CBD can treat conditions such as depression, anxiety, physical pain, inflammation, arthritis (joint pain), nausea, epilepsy, substance withdrawal, digestive problems, psychosis, and negative side effects from cancer treatment.
Why Not Both?
Separately, THC and CBD have been shown to successfully treat many different illnesses and symptoms thereof. However, research overwhelmingly confirms that, in areas where they are both effective, more benefit can be derived from taking them at the same time rather than separately. If purchasing cannabis products for medical purposes, consider purchasing a product with a more balanced THC/CBD ratio, it may prove to be a more effective treatment option.