What are CBD and THC? Put simply, they are two of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant. The two compounds are so closely related, some have even taken to call THC the “evil twin” of CBD. However, that would be chemically unfair. The chemical composition of the two is remarkably similar: exactly the same amount of oxygen, carbon and hydrogen in the atomically structured count.
CBD v THC Effects
The molecular structures between the two compounds have a big say in the manner in which they affect our body. A cannabinoid is a compound that works for hand in hand with our very own endocannabinoid system. There is a network of receptors in CBD
and THC interacting with cannabinoids to affect the way we respond to the two cannabis compounds. It was in 1988 when scientific research discovered a receptor in the cannabis plant. Five years later, another one was discovered. These were later to become classified as CB1 and CB2 receptors.
- CB1 Receptor - The CB1 receptor is found in the brain. Any process that involves memory, cognitive behaviour, emotional feelings and the development of the immunity system is affected when the CB1 receptor is triggered.
- CB2 Receptor - This is found to be triggered where our central nervous and immune systems are. CBD and THC both stick to the CB2 receptor but the interaction with the way they behave on the CB1 receptor is different.
So, why does the THC compound make us “high” and the CBD does not? The ability of THC to bind perfectly with the CB1 receptor sends signals to the brain. Psychoactive effects
are felt. We will feel elation and euphoria. CBD, on the other hand, has no such special feature when it tries to bond to the CB1 receptor. When the two compounds (CBD and THC) are taken together the effect of THC on the CB1 receptor can be negated somewhat, by the CBD. This is especially noted where a much higher proportion of CBD is taken than THC. The effect is that all the physical benefits are still experienced like: enhanced feelings of mood, pain management, relief from anxiety and panic attacks, plus the enhancement of our appetite. One of the effects of recreational users of cannabis is a desire to eat (stoners would call this getting the “munchies”).
CBD v THC for Sleep
There are many chemicals within the cannabis compounds of CBD and THC that will have a direct effect on the way we sleep. Insomniac patients have been using cannabis to help them sleep for centuries. The plant has sedative effects similar to valerian root, hop strobile and passion flower. Only the cannabis plant is more dynamic and can help to radically reduce the time it takes to actually drop off to sleep. CBD promotes feelings of calmness and relaxation. This is achieved without the user actually getting high. Some studies performed on patients at sleep clinics have found it:
- Takes less time to fall asleep
- Promotes a reduction in REM sleep (this is when we dream and not considered quality sleep).
- Makes us feel less worried about the daily problems affecting our lives
- Allows us to fully appreciate sleeping music or reiki sounds played on a music app to help us fall asleep.
Even those of us who do not have trouble with sleep were found to enjoy a better quality
of sleep when consuming CBD and a small percentage of THC before going to bed.
CBD v THC for Anxiety
Anxiety has never been regarded as a good state to be in. However, it manifests itself as a defence mechanism to adapt to threats against our welfare or general wellbeing. We become anxious as threats loom. These anxieties allow us to become motivated to do more to overcome the pending worries or problems causing us pain. But as much as being anxious is a necessary defence mechanism, it can be a state that easily gets out of control. Drugs like Prozac, Xanax and Valium are often prescribed but not everyone responds well.
When using CBD for anxiety relief it is noted the powerful properties and dynamic relief that ensues. THC has many adverse effects which the CBD can easily temper. CBD appears to work well in treating panic attacks, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and general anxieties as well. THC works well for curing nausea and a combination of CBD and THC can be highly beneficial in treating depression and mood swings.
CBD v THC for Cancer
There has been so much interest in CBD and THC for treating many ailments, conditions and diseases. But what about one of the most prolific diseases of them all – cancer? In the UK, the Macmillan Trust
– a cancer charity have looked into how CBD and THC can help with patients suffering from cancer. Scientists have tested CBD and THC and found many startling results:
Chemotherapy and CBD
- Some cannabinoids cause cells to die and stop dividing
- Some cannabinoids prevent blood vessels forming
- Cannabinoids can damage some blood vessels and have no preventative qualities in slowing down cancerous cells
Several studies have been more encouraging in treating cancer patients who use CBD. It can help sufferers get through nausea and pain of chemotherapy treatment. Research has also discovered using cannabis actually protects against cancer. The chemicals found in the cannabis plant can interact with other cancer drugs you are prescribed to. Cancer patients should use CBD and THC for pain relief and nausea associated with their cancer. Remember, there is still no golden cure for cancer and CBD and THC will help to alleviate the symptoms of the disease and no more. Improve Appetite and Feeling less Sickness
After chemotherapy treatment, many cancer patients will feel sick and lose their appetite. CBD oil and even THC can help to bring back a patient’s appetite and make them feel less sickness and nausea. As CBD can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, it can go some way in helping cancer patients get through the more debilitating periods of recovery.