Overview of the Status of Marijuana in the U.S
The call for legalization of medical marijuana and similar products in the U.S continues to grow. However, as the push for the legislation continues to gain momentum, consumers of marijuana are anxious to about the available options. Some of the options they have to include cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The CBD is found by extracting it from the hemp plant and comes in the form of gels, oils, gummies, supplements, and extracts among others. On the other hand, THC is the main compound that occurs naturally in marijuana and which is known for giving consumers high sensation. One can obtain this compound by smoking marijuana, but it can also be found in compounds such as edibles, oils, tinctures, capsules among others. Both compounds work by interacting with a person’s endocannabinoid system except that their effects vary. The underlying differences between these two compounds cause them to be used differently. Here, we discuss some of the key differences ranging from their chemical structure, psychoactive components, legality, medical benefits, side effects, and drug testing. This background information will help existing consumers and would-be users to understand what to expect when they take the compound.
CBD vs. THC: Chemical structure
Both CBD and THC have a similar molecular structure. However, the thin line between the two is the arrangement of the elements which impacts differently on the body of the users. In addition, both compounds have the same chemical impact on the body’s endocannabinoid system in which sense they interact with the cannabinoid receptors to release neurotransmitters in the brain. Remember that transmitters are the chemical components known to relay messages between the cells, a factor that plays a significant role in managing stress, pain, and immune system among others.
Although both CBD and THC have the same molecular and chemical structure, they have different psychoactive effects on the body. CBD is known as a non-psychoactive compound, which means that it does not release high sensations known to be produced by the THC. THC works by binding with the cannabinoid 1 receptors found in the human brain to produce a feeling of euphoria. On the other hand, the CBD binds albeit weakly, if any, with the CB1 receptors. Research has shown that as THC binds with the receptors, it weakens the psychoactive effect of CBD.
The legality of CBD vs THC
The concept of legality or otherwise of medical marijuana, especially with regard to CBD and THC continues to change over time. Despite their effective medical properties, both THC and CBD are illegal in states that do not have a law in place allowing their production, distribution, and use. Since the federal government has classified marijuana and its compounds as controlled substances, they remain illegal.
However, numerous states and districts such as Washington, D.C have enacted laws relating to marijuana, legalizing medical marijuana (THC form). In such states, the patient registry is maintained to control the use and prescription of medical marijuana. In addition, the law restricts the prescription of medical marijuana to licensed physicians only. In addition to legalizing medical marijuana, some states have legislation in place that makes use of THC for recreational purposes legal. From the federal perspective, both THC and CBD remain illegal. However, it is worth noting that the federal government has had a special consideration for medical marijuana. For instance, it issued a statement to the extent that attorneys should consider all the circumstances before prosecuting the case. Where the CBD or THC is legal, consumers are expected to obtain them legally. If you’re trying to buy either product, it is essential to find out the legality of the product in your state. You stand to face hash legal repercussions if found in possession or using marijuana in states that do not have legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana.
Medical Benefits of THC vs CBD
Both THC and CBD have been found to have almost similar medical benefits. They are known to provide relief from pain and stress. However, CBD does not have the “high” sensation effects known to be associated with the THC. This is perhaps some people prefer using CBD because they do not have this effect. In June 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration gave an okay to Epidiolex, the first prescription medicine containing CBD. The medicine is known to treat or control particular types of epilepsy are difficult to handle using other types of medication.
Other conditions known to be treatable using CBD include:
• Nausea migraines
• Mental disorders
On the other hand, THC is used to deal with conditions such as:
• Muscle spasticity
• Loss of appetite
Side effects of CBD vs THC
Medically speaking, CBD is tolerated, even where large doze is used. Medical research has revealed that the side effects arising from the use of CBD are due to drug-to-drug interactions between the medication and other drugs a patient may be using.
Here are some of the temporary effects of THC:
• Dry mouth
• Coordination problems
• Increased heart rates
• Red eyes
• Slow reaction times
• Loss of memory
The above effects are some of the psychoactive properties. However, neither the compounds have a fatal effect except that THC may have long-term negative psychiatric effects, especially people who consume high amounts of the compound. Individuals who consume THC in large amounts increase the risk for psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia.