There are a total of 113 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant which aren’t found anywhere else in nature. Scientists call these chemical compounds ‘cannabinoids’. THC and CBD are two of the most prominent of these compounds, and each has different properties (and some striking differences) to the other. Here we examine the difference between THC and CBD to give you a greater understanding of these chemical compounds. Arming yourself with knowledge gives you the power of understanding!
What is THC?
How Does THC Get You High?
What Else Does THC Do?
The cannabinoid THC is so inextricably linked with recreational cannabis users that it is sometimes overlooked as being beneficial for anything else in the body. Whilst cannabis users experience changes in the brain from ingesting THC, there are also ECS receptors all through the body and so THC has certain other physiological effects, not just in the brain. Studies have shown that THC (and other cannabinoids such as CBD) can have anti-inflammatory effects on the body which can lead to a reduction in pain. Studies into this fascinating area of research are ongoing, but the early indications of cannabinoids as having medicinal benefits are promising.
Is THC Legal in the UK?
What is CBD?
Is CBD Legal in the UK?
Both THC and CBD have the exact same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The molecular mass of each compound is practically identical, with THC and CBD having masses of 314.469 g/mol 314.464 g/mol, respectively.
The different effects on your body are accounted for by the slight difference in how the atoms are arranged. Both compounds are what is known as ‘cyclic compounds’ which mean their atoms form a ring. CBD has an open ring, whilst THC has a closed ring.
The Chemistry of THC
The molecular formula is C₂₁H₃₀O₂. THC (Δ9- tetrahydrocannabinol) is the active chemical in cannabis. Dronabinol is an isomer of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is the main and most active isomer found in the Cannabis plant. Dronabinol can be used orally via a capsule to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy as well as weight loss and poor appetite in patients with AIDS. There is also some experimentation with using THC to help treat anorexia and other eating disorders as it is known to increase appetite in the user.
The Chemistry of CBD
Just like THC, the molecular formula of CBD is also C₂₁H₃₀O₂. CBD is a phytocannabinoid that binds to a variety of targets of the endocannabinoid system within the body. According to the National Centre of Biotechnology Information, CBD has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic and chemopreventive activities. There are clinical indications (and swathes of anecdotal evidence) that show CBD to have neuroprotective, antiepileptic, antipsychotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, and antitumor properties.