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Cannabidiol vs Tetrahydrocannabinol

Cannabidiol vs Tetrahydrocannabinol

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Cannabis and marijuana growers know that THC sells as it provides a floating euphoric feeling similar to party drugs like heroine and others.  But its non-psychoactive component referred to as Cannabidiol is now gaining prominence around the world due to its therapeutic benefits. Researchers state that the positive effect of CBD negates the negative effects of THC that exists in the same plant of cannabis. Both these components that coexist in cannabis plants and synergize the properties of each other and help create a combination that help calm down people with high stress levels like schizophrenia, epilepsy  and high blood pressure.

Both Cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol are among the most important compounds in the cannabis plant along with several others which exist in small quantities.


Though both CBD and THC have the same chemical formula their atoms are arranged in a different setting which affects their properties and so the latter has psychoactive effect while CBD does not any such influence. Though there are more than 80 cannabinoids in the cannabis/marijuana plant only THC and CBD are of interest to researchers and drug addicts. The amount of cannabinoid in a cannabis plant depends on the way the plant is sown and reared. Generally if the plant inherits both THC genes from each parent it is a THC variant and if both are CBD then it becomes CBD plant. If the plant gets one THC and one CBD from each parent then it will have ½ of THC and ½ CBD components.


Differences and similarities between Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabinol


Psychoactive qualities


THC is the component in cannabis plant which causes psychoactive behavior in humans and other animals and makes them behave in an erratic manner. Though CBD also is found in the same plant it does not have any side effects and in fact calms the patient down. It is this feature of CBD which is increasing its popularity in therapy clinics and hospices that treat patients in last stages of cancer as it numbs the pain and helps them sleep.  CBD does not have similar effect as THC as it does not affect the same brain pathways as THC which interferes with psychomotor and psychological functions.


Anxiety and paranoia


Studies show that CBD has the ability to counteract the stress and anxiety caused by THC which makes people become paranoid and anxious once the initial euphoria of the drug wears down. CBD provides natural protection against intoxication caused by THC like memory loss and sleepiness. Though both CBD and THC do not have dangers of lethal overdose but if a person has side effects of THC like anxiety and hallucinations then these can be reduced with a healthy dose of CBD.


Sleep and alertness inducing qualities


While marijuana induces sleep and drowsiness followed by hallucinogenic daze for several hours, CBD produces absolutely different effect on person that takes them. It promotes complete wakefulness and energy which is completely different effect when you compare it to effect caused by marijuana.


Both are illegal in some parts of the world


Though the therapeutic qualities of CBD are recognized all over the world the potential of its misuse by growing it with marijuana has made it difficult for several nations to allow cultivation of this plant in large scale. Pharmaceutical company GW pharmaceutical has managed to develop a cannabis based medicine called Sativex that is used for treatment of multiple sclerosis across 24 nations around the world. The firm is now researching a 98 percent CBD based drug with special permission from FDA to for treatment of a rare form of epilepsy among children after a few showed miraculous signs of recovery.

US Health and Human Services has also been given a patent for using CBD as a treatment of neurodegenerative problems and inflammatory diseases. While research in CBD has been allowed and pharmaceutical firms have been allowed to grow them in controlled conditions, all countries regard cultivation of marijuana as an illegal act. Marijuana is however grown illegally in some parts of the world along with cannabis and this compound is extracted for use as a recreational drug.


Pharmacological differences


Cannabidiol has very low affinity for certain brain receptors but sometimes acts as an indirect antagonist for THC. This only has the effect of reducing detrimental effects of THC by increasing density of receptors. Cannabidiol has antidepressant and neuroprotective effects on the brain so it can help to induce alertness in a person drugged by marijuana.


Anti-cancer effects of CBD


Researchers at California Pacific Medical Center have stated CBD has anti-cancer properties and it has the ability to turn off the gene that leads to spread of cancer. There is growing evidence that CBD can lead to symptomatic relief but not necessarily prevent cancer.  Skeptics state that CBD can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy only and cannot reverse cancers or prolong the spread of cancer in the body. CBD lacks the psychoactive effects of THC and can help in reliving pain and nausea without causing any dizziness.


Effect of THC and CBD on neurotransmitters of the brain


THC affects the brain directly by making the inhaler of its fumes high and euphoric. The compound induces fatigue, hunger and changes an individual’s sense of sight, smell and sound.  CBD assists in reducing anxiety and discomfort and can work to reduce social anxiety treatments like anti-depressants as it works much more quickly and does not have any withdrawal symptoms if taken occasionally.


Though most recent reports extolling the medicinal properties of CBD have downplayed the properties of THC but equal ratio of these two compounds has led to development of the Sativex drug which is considered the best treatment for managing multiple sclerosis till date. Studies have shown that CBD can help improve cognitive abilities of schizophrenic patients due to its antipsychotic properties. The most common reason for this effect is that CBD has the potential to reduce release of dopamine in the body that leads to psychosis but scientist are still investigating the idea and no concrete evidence or sample study has been carried out to support the belief.


FDA Disclosure Statement

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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