During the 19th and 20th centuries, marijuana and cannabis have been used for both medical and recreational purposes. Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for clinicians to prescribe them as medicine. It was only recently when the government discovered that the excessive use of these substances could create negative effects, specifically on someone’s health.

Two cannabinoids are responsible for causing the effect these substances bring about: THC and CBD. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC, is a psychoactive chemical that is responsible for inducing an intoxicating effect, which can be found largely in marijuana. Cannabidiol or CBD, on the other hand, is a chemical that naturally occurs in a cannabis plant, and it does not induce the “high” THC does.

Although CBD and THC can often be mistakenly interchanged, it is important to know the differences between them. Let’s take a look at some of these: 

Effects 

Both CBD and THC have a similar chemical formula: two oxygen atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 21 carbon atoms. The only difference in their chemical structures is the way their atoms are arranged. Because of this, CBD and THC affect the body differently depending on how the brain translates the neurotransmitters released by the receptors each compound binds with. 

As mentioned, THC is responsible for creating that euphoric feeling users experience. On the other hand, CBD works with certain elements inside the body that are connected with feelings or emotions of well-being. In addition, the combination of these two creates another effect depending on their respective amounts.

CBD-dominant drugs enhance medicinal benefits compared to THC-dominant drugs, while having an equal amount of these substances can be greatly therapeutic and cause less impairment. 

Usage

With the proper dosage and the appropriate method of intake, CBD and THC have proven their benefits when used as treatments for certain types of diseases. CBD-based products are said to lessen chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia, as well as reduce inflammation when used as a localized treatment. Epidiolex, also a CBD-based drug is used as a treatment for severe and rare forms of childhood epilepsy. 


Some diseases that CBD has been prescribed for by clinicians are the following: 

  • Arthritis
  • Crohn’s disease 
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Diabetes 

On the other hand, medical marijuana or THC-based drugs have been prescribed for those who suffer from: 
  • Multiple sclerosis pain
  • Nausea
  • Nerve pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Parkinson’s disease tremors

The United Kingdom has even approved Nabiximols, which is an extract of cannabis that’s composed of THC. It comes in the form of an oral spray that helps lessen the neuropathic pain, overactive bladder, and spasticity suffered by those who have multiple sclerosis. The efficacy of CBD can depend on the delivery method you take, whether that’s through vaping, creams, or even shampoos, so be sure to pick one that will work best for your condition. 

Side Effects

The World Health Organization has claimed that CBD is safe in any amount or quantity. The only side effect it has is that it may react with other medications being taken. 

THC, on the other hand, could create problems for memory, concentration, and balance, as well as cause drowsiness, vomiting, and dizziness.

The short-term side effects of THC could range from increased heart rate to euphoria, red eyes, and dry mouth. However, excessive THC intake with inappropriate methods of use could cause a higher risk of generating schizophrenia and other long-term psychiatric effects, especially for adolescents. 

Legal Status

Since there is not enough evidence to fully substantiate the health benefits of CBD and THC, they remain prohibited in some countries. Asian countries, in particular, have regulated laws that prohibit the usage and selling of CBD- and THC-based products. 

In the US, some states have implemented laws regarding the use of medical and recreational marijuana. Unfortunately, THC products are still largely illegal and prohibited under US federal law even though some state laws might allow it. There is a conflict here since this creates a situation where you can be charged with a possible federal crime even though technically it is allowed in your home state. This is still an issue that needs further clarification from the government in the future. 

Meanwhile, CBD is federally legal and could be shipped locally as long as it doesn’t contain THC amounts greater than 0.3%.

Conclusion

It is important to know the differences between CBD and THC in order to become fully aware of how these substances can affect you once you decide to take them. While they can be relatively safe in proper doses, consulting with experts is still advised so you don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are thinking of taking CBD or THC as an alternative means of medication. This way, you can both share ideas and make better decisions.