Are you confused about the differences between CBD and THC? They are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Both Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of over 60 cannabinoids or naturally-occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana. Cannabinoids interact with natural receptors in the brain and body, affecting mood, appetite, pain response, and immunity, among other effects.
Cannabinoids work with the body’s own endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays a very important role in maintaining homeostasis, which is the body’s efforts to maintain stable functionality and operate optimally regardless of any changes in its environment. The ECS is made up of three components: endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes.
Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses. Endocannabinoids influence pleasure, memory, concentration, and sensory and time perception, for example. Cannabinoid receptors reside on cell surfaces and interact with endocannabinoids synthesized by the body or phytocannabinoids, which come from plants. The two main cannabinoids receptors are CB1 receptors, which mostly is localized in the central nervous system, and CB2 receptors, found mostly in the peripheral nervous system (outside the brain and spinal cord). Enzymes that help to break down endocannabinoids once they have carried out their function the third component of the ECS.
THC, The Feel-Good Cannabinoid
We’ve known about THC for a long time. That’s because it’s the mind-altering phytocannabinoid that enables marijuana users to get “high.” Chemically, THC is similar to the endocannabinoid anandamide, which impacts a host of physiological mechanisms, including appetite stimulation, mood fluctuation and pain management. THC can attach to CB-1 receptors on brain neurons to change mental and physical functions and affect memory, pleasure, concentration, and sensory and time perception.
This interaction of THC with the brain’s cannabinoid receptors stimulates the production of dopamine, which the chemical in the brain often called the "feel good chemical.” When marijuana is smoked or vaporized, THC quickly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries it to organs throughout the body, including the brain. Its effects begin almost immediately and can last from 1 to 3 hours.
CBD, Growing in Popularity
For many consumers seeking alternative medicines and green living, CBD is the answer to their health and wellness needs. Like THC, CBD is either derived from industrial hemp plants or marijuana plants. However, unlike THC, CBD is not mind-altering or habit-forming. It is absorbed through the skin where it interacts with the body’s own CB-2 receptors, which play an important role in fighting inflammation. Once it connects with these receptors, CBD has a pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
CBD is now considered part of advanced clinical care and increasingly taking its place at the table of medical professionals along with massage therapists and chiropractors. At retail, CBD also can be found in health products, pet snacks and supplements and beverages. Food manufacturers also are looking at CBD as an ingredient.
CDB products work well for all ages. While not everyone will respond the same, there have been breakthroughs in pain treatment using CBD that have allowed patients to give up prescriptive narcotics and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
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