Why is THC psychoactive and CBD not?
Written by Redacción Mota Radio on 25 April, 2020
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The two main active components of cannabis produce different effects, but they interact together, balancing each other out.
Cannabis contains more than 100 cannabinoids, but there are two that are the main ones, and they have very different effects and legal status. These are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Each produces something different and contributes to both the sensation of marijuana and its therapeutic applications. Knowing both compounds allows you to better choose the variety when growing, as well as knowing what to look for according to whether you want something recreational or medical.
What do they have in common?
Both TCH and CBD are cannabinoids and act on the endocannabinoid system, which all mammals have, including humans. This is an intercellular communication system, which is naturally activated to create homeostasis, but which can be stimulated by phytocannabinoids, that is, cannabinoids of plant origin, such as those found in the marijuana plant. These cause different effects than those that occur naturally in the body. The main receptors of the endocannabinoid system are CB-1 and CB-2, which are found in the central nervous system and the immune system.
THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis, and it is linked to these two receptors in the human brain. CB-1 influences pleasure, appetite, memory, and concentration, while CB-2 moderates the sensation of pain, and plays a role in homeostasis in certain parts of the body, such as the kidney and liver.
Also, THC is the component responsible for making you want to eat a pizza and go to sleep or just relax after smoking a joint. It increases your appetite and increases the feeling of pleasure when you eat, as well as making you sleepy. This is why it is used in treatments against insomnia and loss of appetite. It’s also THC that affects short-term memory, so blame it on that next time you say “what was I talking about” in the middle of a conversation when you’re smoking. In general, the higher THC varieties are the most sought after for recreational use.
CBD on the other hand interacts with receptors such as GPR55 or 5-HT1A. It is not psychoactive, although it works in many ways with THC to contribute to the effect of cannabis. In fact, it counteracts the effects of THC in several ways, so its ratio is important in determining how marijuana feels. CBD reduces the feeling of anxiety that THC typically causes, and has antipsychotic properties that balance the stronger effects of the high. In addition, it is associated with wakefulness and energy, so it is also complemented by THC, although if a sedative effect is sought, the CBD ratio is best kept low. In terms of memory, it also reduces the deterioration caused by THC, so the low CBD varieties are the ones that will make you wonder where you left the keys you actually have in your hand.
It’s also the most sought-after component in the medicinal varieties. It has anti-inflammatory properties far superior to those of THC and without the psychotropic effects, so it is safe for any patient. It is widely used in afflictions such as arthritis and rheumatism. It has an anticonvulsant effect and reduces muscle spasms, which is why it is often prescribed for refractory epilepsy. It is also an anxiolytic and antipsychotic, with studies supporting its use for the treatment of schizophrenia.
Both cannabinoids play important roles and work perfectly together, regulating each other, although depending on the effect and desired use, richer varieties of one compound will be chosen.
If you suffer from a disease or have taken a huge hit, you may want a lot of CBD, but if your plan is to watch a movie and finish just one bag of chips, THC is your thing.
Always remember to have the right balance. That’s the secret!