05 Jan The Difference Between CBD and Marijuana
Now that most states have legalized marijuana in one form or another, many people are curious. What is it about marijuana that makes it medicinal? And can you reap therapeutic benefits without getting high? It can be confusing, but it really comes down to two chemicals found in cannabis plants: CBD and THC.
You may have heard the terms cannabis and marijuana used interchangeably, but that’s not exactly accurate. Cannabis refers to a species of plant, and marijuana is a variation of that species. Hemp is another variation. CBD and THC are found in both marijuana and hemp, but in varying concentrations. Marijuana contains the most THC, while hemp has much more CBD.
CBD and THC are chemically similar. They both work with receptors that release neurotransmitters in your brain, to affect things like memory, pain, mood, and sleep. However, the two chemicals affect your body differently.
THC is a psychoactive compound, and it’s what makes people feel “high” when they use marijuana. THC binds to receptors in your brain that control pain, mood, and feelings, and that’s why it has this affect. CBD works with other receptors, so while it can contribute to a sense of well-being, it doesn’t cause a euphoric feeling.
Both CBD and THC have therapeutic benefits. THC can fight inflammation and nausea, stimulate appetite, and promote sleep. As part of medical marijuana, THC helps with conditions like multiple sclerosis pain, nerve pain, Parkinson’s disease tremors, nausea, and glaucoma. CBD is good for pain and inflammation, works as an antipsychotic and anticonvulsant, reduces anxiety, fights cancer growth, relieves nausea, promotes cardiovascular health, and lowers the incidence of diabetes. It can help with multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and Crohn’s disease, and some people find it alleviates anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.
The side effects of THC and CBD are different. While CBD can cause nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, tiredness, lightheadedness, crankiness, and low blood pressure, it’s generally believed to be safe. THC is safe too, in that it’s impossible to fatally overdose on it. However, it’s classified as an illegal drug, and can cause both immediate and long-term cognitive side effects like impaired thinking and reasoning, altered decision-making, and reduced impulse control. Chronic use of THC is associated with heart and brain abnormalities. Before trying either, consult your primary physician.
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