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There’s plenty of confusion surrounding the differences and commonalities between CBD and THC. Properly known as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), these two, out of over 480 compounds of cannabinoids, are the most commonly known of the cannabis plants.

THC is the most prevalent compound and the one responsible for the psychoactive effects that cannabis has been known for, where CBD does not get your “high”. Besides their fundamental difference as a compound, CBD and THC also affect our brains and body in different ways.

THC is known to activate the cannabinoid 1 (CBD1) receptor in our brain. We’ve learned that CB1 receptors are necessary to experience “intoxication” produced by cannabis. THC intoxication increases blood flow to the prefrontal cortex  (the region responsible for decision-making, attention, motor skills, and other executive functions).

Cannabis also activates the brain’s reward system, producing sensations of euphoria and other feel-good sensation that increases the likelihood to do it again. THC binding to the CB1 receptors is essential in cannabis’ ability to activate the pleasurable sensations or “high” users experience. THC has also been found to suppress appetites and show benefits in fighting glaucoma, insomnia, PTSD, anxiety, and treatments of Cancer.

By definition, anything that affects the brain is considered “psychoactive”. While CBD does affect the brain, it does not produce the intoxicating effects that THC does. That’s because CBD does not activate the CB1 receptor - in fact, it almost produces the opposite effect. Scientific studies suggest CBD actually interferes with CB1 receptor activity in the presence of THC. If THC activates, CBD inhibits - balancing the effects.

CBD is the second most prevalent cannabinoid in Cannabis and has been found to have anti-seizure, anti-anxiety, and medicinal properties including preventing seizures in epileptic children. Hemp is rich with CBD and some may contain almost 0% trace of THC, where some strains are THC-heavy. To maximize and “purify” CBD, oils are extracted from the flowers are being used to produce CBD tinctures and CBD edibles. Since legally, hemp CBD contains less than .3% THC is legal in most states (be sure to check your individual state legislation).

While we are still learning the complex makeup of Cannabis and there is much research to be continued. But the difference, commonalities, and the relationship between CBD and THC are becoming clearer and expanding its application to human health and beyond. When looking at strains that best suit your needs, we recommend paying close attention to levels of THC compared to CBD for desired benefits.

What other differences have you found between CBD and THC? Which do you prefer? If you have any further questions regarding CBD, visit our FAQs page to learn more.
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