CBD and THC are the two chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant.
The most notable difference between CBD and THC is the lack of psychoactive effects for CBD. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high sensation. It can be consumed by smoking cannabis. It’s also available in oils, edibles, tinctures, capsules, and more.
Both interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, but they have very different effects.
The Chemical structure of CBD and THC
CBD and THC have the exact same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. A slight difference in how the atoms are arranged accounts for the differing effects on your body.
Both CBD and THC are chemically similar to your body’s endocannabinoids. This allows them to interact with your cannabinoid receptors.
The interaction affects the release of neurotransmitters in your brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals responsible for relaying messages between cells and have roles in function of immune system, pain, stress, and sleep.ody, CBD and THC interact with cannabinoid receptors to help treat or limit the effects of various conditions.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two types of cannabinoids found naturally in the resin of the marijuana plant, both of which interact with the cannabinoid receptors that are found throughout the body.
Although THC and CBD have been the most studied cannabinoids, there are many others identified to date including cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), CBDV, and THCV that can be found within the medical cannabis.
While both CBD and THC are used for medicinal purposes, they have different receptor activity, function, and physiological effects. If not provided in their activated form (such as through synthetic forms of THC, THC and CBD are obtained through conversion from their precursors, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid-A (THCA-A) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), through decarboxylation reactions. This can be achieved through heating, smoking, vaporization, or baking of dried unfertilized female cannabis flowers.
The primary psychoactive component of Cannabis, delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), demonstrates its effects through weak partial agonist activity at Cannabinoid-1 (CB1R) and Cannabinoid-2 (CB2R) receptors. This activity results in the well-known effects of smoking cannabis such as increased appetite, reduced pain, and changes in emotional and cognitive processes. In contrast to THC's weak agonist activity, CBD has been shown to act as a negative allosteric modulator of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor, the most abundant G-Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) in the body. Allosteric regulation is achieved through the modulation of receptor activity on a functionally distinct site from the agonist or antagonist binding site which is clinically significant as direct agonists (such as THC) are limited by their psychomimetic effects such as changes to mood, memory, and anxiety. In addition to the well-known activity on CB1 and CB2 receptors, there is further evidence that CBD also activates 5-HT1A/2A/3A serotonergic and TRPV1–2 vanilloid receptors, antagonizes alpha-1 adrenergic and µ-opioid receptors, inhibits synaptosomal uptake of noradrenaline, dopamine, serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and cellular uptake of anandamide, acts on mitochondria Ca2+ stores, blocks low-voltage-activated (T-type) Ca2+ channels, stimulates activity of the inhibitory glycine-receptor, and inhibits activity of fatty amide hydrolase (FAAH).
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