For those new to cannabis, the different names and expressions used when referring to the plant and its many properties can be overwhelming. All this talk about CBD and THC can leave you saying WTF?
With the recent spike in CBD’s popularly, you’re probably wondering what the heck CBD is exactly, and how it differs from its cousin, THC.
Each cannabis flower or ‘bud’ contains several dozen cannabinoids- chemical compounds that are unique to, and comprise a cannabis plant. The primary and most recognized cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
Although the two compounds boast similar chemical makeups, they act very differently. Both CBD and THC interact with cannabinoid receptors naturally found in the body and brain, but are vastly different in their effects.
The varying levels of each cannabinoid within a single flower create what we know as different ‘strains’ with differing effects and potencies.
Containing the largest psychoactive properties in the cannabis plant, THC is responsible for the psychedelic effect you feel when ingesting cannabis. It does this by mimicking cannabinoid chemicals naturally produced by the brain.
THC attaches to our body’s cannabinoid receptors, stimulating them to release dopamine, responsible for the euphoric effect, commonly known as a ‘high’ felt when using cannabis. THC also acts on functions like thought pattern, movement, memory, pleasure, coordination, and concentration- sorry, what we were saying again?
Depending on the strain, the amount of THC contained in a flower can greatly vary ranging from as little as 0.5% in ‘weaker’ strains to 20% in more potent strains.
THC has proven greatly effective in treating chronic pain and ease side effects related to illness such a Chron’s disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, side effects of cancer treatment and epilepsy. THC has also proven effective in treating sleep disorders like insomnia, appetite disorders, and in some cases, PTSD.
From CBD infused coffee to beauty supplies, diet supplements, and even pet-friendly products, CBD is having a major moment. Spiking tremendously in popularity over recent years, CBD was lesser known than its cannabinoid counterpart, THC—but that is no longer the case.
CBD offers many of the same health benefits as THC, with one major difference—it lacks the psychedelic effect, meaning it will not get the user ‘high’. Because CBD does not cause psychedelic effects, it faces much looser regulations than THC based products, including actual cannabis flowers. With its newfound acceptance and accessibility, paired with a significantly less stringent set of legislation compared to THC, CBD is being hailed by many as ‘the miracle cannabis compound.’
Touted for its’ significant medical benefits, CBD an appealing option for patients seeking relief for inflammation, pain, anxiety and a plethora of other chronic ailments, without the feeling of an altered phycological state.
It is essential to test the levels of CBD & THC in your cannabis if you are after a specific effect. Some strains are higher in CBD than THC, and vice versa, while others are totally CBD or THC specific.
Keep in mind different flowers, even those labeled as belonging to the same strain, can vary in their CBD & THC levels from one batch to the next. Just because a strain is known to have a certain percentage of CBD or THC, is it highly unlikely every flower produced from that strain will have consistent THC and CBD ratios. Factors like grow methods including location and climate, can greatly impact the levels. That’s why consistent potency testing is important to achieve strain specificities and specializations.