The marijuana plant has been known to the European world since journeys of Marco Polo. Still, people are not even close to discovering the entire potential of cannabis.
The most famous “ingredients” of cannabis, THC and CBD, have only been scientifically identified in the late 20th century. Today, people use both of them for a variety of purposes, so distinguishing their qualities can be difficult. This article sheds light on these two most desired marijuana components.
So, What is THC?
There are more than 100 active chemical components in marijuana. They are called cannabinoids.
Neurons in the human brain have cannabinoid receptors. When a person smokes cannabis, cannabinoids get into the blood system from the lungs and then go to the brain, binding the receptors and activating a number of brain parts.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC, is one of the most famous active chemical substances of cannabis. It is the main psychoactive component in marijuana. THC is responsible for producing a euphoric feeling in its users.
The “high” appears because THC stimulates several different brain parts:
- The Amygdala – this brain part is responsible for emotions. By stimulating it, THC produces the feeling of tranquility and relaxation. However, some people may experience paranoia or anxiety.
- Cerebral Cortex, Hippocampus – these areas power cognitive functions (acquisition and understanding of knowledge) and memory. Researchers have shown that THC can cause short-term memory loss.
- Basal Ganglia and Cerebellum -– both parts control coordination and movement. Smoking cannabis may produce the feeling of clumsiness and slow motion.
Other effects of THC include:
- Acute senses (colors look brighter, music seems louder, food tastes better);
- Distorted time perception;
CBD vs THC: How Are They Different?
The second most common component of medical marijuana, CBD, is derived from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant.
The ratio of THC and CBD in the marijuana plant varies from strain to strain. While both chemical substances are widely known for their effects on the human body, CBD doesn’t produce any psychoactive conditions.
CBD is an active anticonvulsant that helps to decrease pain and seizure, prevent insomnia, anxiety, and nausea. That’s why CBD is used as a food supplement to reduce symptoms related to cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
CBD vs THC: Ways to Consume
People have been extremely ingenious in finding ways of consuming marijuana. Today, cannabis comes in all forms and shapes, from THC pills to chewing gum.
Smoking remains the easiest and most popular method here. There are different approaches to smoking cannabis:
- In a cigarette filled with marijuana (a blunt);
- Through a glass water pipe (bong);
- Dabbing concentrated resins that have been drawn from the cannabis plant, and more.
With the rise of the vaping culture, cannabis lovers started vaping THC oil through vape pens and other devices. The main differences between smoking and vaporizing cannabis are:
- No burning, which makes vapes safer for lungs;
- Less of the tell-tale smell;
- Greater efficiency – smoking wastes up to 50% of the cannabinoids due to combustion.
CBD oil is used in body cosmetics; it can be mixed into different foods or drinks, taken using a dropper, or consumed in e-liquids for vaporizing.
CBD vs THC: Laws
Remember that consuming marijuana is strictly regulated by law. While CBD is legal in most states, allowing to use cannabis for medical purposes, THC-rich products (produced mostly for recreational use) are only legal in 6 states.
Drug-impaired conditions can create danger in situations like driving. That’s why the state of Colorado passed a law that made driving under the influence of pot illegal. We should expect more laws like this one in the future.
Besides the law itself, marijuana consumers can face social problems. Testing positive for it when an employer drug tests you can be an issue.
How long does THC stay in your blood?
Everybody who decided to consume THC should know that to avoid trouble. Weed is typically detectable in your blood for 1-2 days. However, the longer and the heavier you use it, the longer its signs stay in the blood (up to 25 days.) Other than blood tests, THC can also be detected through saliva testing and hair testing.
CBD vs THC: Mind the Difference
Marijuana is a complex plant, and people are just beginning to discover its potential. Today, it’s important to know about the most popular and desired cannabinoids, THC and CBD, and be able to differentiate them.
Though both CBD and THC activate several brain parts, CBD doesn’t produce any “high” effect. While THC can help you to enjoy your meal and feel deep relaxation, CBD has strong anti-seizure and anti-anxiety properties. Remember though that CBD is a dietary supplement and shouldn’t replace actual medical treatment.