CBD Versus THC: Know Your Cannabinoids!
Cannabis is an herbal medication as old as agriculture itself and its exciting implications to modern medicines have restored this ancient remedy to its rightful place at the forefront of alternative health treatments. Why is cannabis such an effective medication? Due to the way its special phytocompounds interact with the living body.
The cannabis plant produces a wide array of phytocompounds called cannabinoids and these organic molecules interact with a very important intrinsic neural messaging system in the body of most vertebrates, the endocannabinoid system. This regulatory system affects the way the body adapts to what is experiencing.
Two of the cannabinoids of the cannabis plant have garnered more attention than the over 100 other cannabinoids. These are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) which have been studied extensively for their capacity to impact biochemistry in beneficial and psychoactive ways.
Let’s take a closer look at how THC and CBD impact the body differently.
CBD Versus THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol
Famous for its capacity to alter states of mind and induce feelings of euphoria and intense relaxation, THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that has empowered religious, cultural and artistic revolutions since prehistory.
THC has this effect on the body due to its capacity to impersonate an endocannabinoid, a chemical messenger created within the human body. Anandamide is a feel good chemical messenger that is released in the body during times of happiness. Anandamide connects with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system which are scattered throughout the brain and body systems and creates the rosy-cozy feelings of bliss experienced during times of happiness.
The feeling of elation and empowerment that follows an intensive exercise routine is also caused by anandamide. When THC arrives in the body through the lungs or digestive system, it binds with the same CB1 receptors that anandamide and causes the same feelings to be evoked. Because its effects are not quite as balanced as an organic peaceful easy feeling, some people can find the THC high very intense and even uncomfortable.
CBD Versus THC: Cannabidiol
Cannabidiol, on the other hand, does not hijack the same endocannabinoid receptors that THC does. Actually the effects of CBD within the body are very different than those of THC. CBD does not fit the CB1 or CB2 receptors like THC does. Instead it acts as an agonist to CB2 receptors and several other neurotransmitter receptors located in the brain and body, such as the TRPV1 Vanilloid/Capsaicin receptor, 5HT1A serotonin receptors and a few others.
CBD modulates the activities of these receptors with a number of benefits that improve homeostasis and promote better health. In various rat models CBD was found to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, neuroprotective and anticancer properties.
One of the most important benefits of CBD is that its various potential health benefits can be provided without THC and therefore without the potentially psychoactive properties that are not best suited to every situation.
Furthermore, CBD can be applied topically, ingested in an edible form or taken sublingually in an array of drops tinctures and oral sprays now available from the expanding cannabis industry.