Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main components found in the cannabis plant. Both THC and CBD belong to a unique class of compounds that are known as cannabinoids.
While many strains of cannabis are known for having plentiful levels of THC, high-CBD strains are somewhat less common. But CBD has recently started drawing attention from the medical community, who seem to prefer the component over THC. Let us take a look at the differences between these two compounds.
THC is probably most popular for being the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. CBD, however, is non-psychoactive. This means that CBD cannot get you high. While this fact is disappointing to recreational users, it is this unique feature of CBD is that makes it so appealing for medicinal purposes.
Doctors prefer treatments with a minimum amount of side effects, which has been a major obstacle to the acceptance of medical cannabis.
THC is known to cause some anxiety and paranoia amongst users. But CBD is believed to have the total opposite effect. In fact, there are studies that show that CBD works to counteract the anxiety that is caused by ingesting THC. Several studies also suggest that CBD can effectively reduce anxiety when it is administered on its own.
In addition to being non-psychoactive, the CBD component seems to have antipsychotic properties. Researchers seem to believe that CBD could protect marijuana users from becoming too high by reducing the psychosis-like effects caused by THC. However, regulating the mind-altering activity of THC is not all that CBD is good for. Alone, CBD is being tested as an antipsychotic medicine that can be used to treat people with schizophrenia.
One of the most common uses of cannabis is as a sleep aid. THC is believed to be responsible for most of the cannabis’ sleep-inducing effects. On the other hand, there are studies that suggest CBD acts to promote wakefulness, making CBD a very poor choice for a sleep aid. The contradictory effects of THC and CBD on sleep may explain why some strains of cannabis have been known to cause users to feel drowsy while others have proven to boost energy.
While most countries have very strict laws surrounding cannabis and THC, the legal status of CBD is somewhat foggy. There are many countries that do allow CBD to be prescribed for medical purposes, especially for treating children with epilepsy and other illnesses like glaucoma.
However, as of very recently cannabis (both THC and CBD) is being made legal in certain areas of the US – not only for medicinal purposes but also for recreational purposes.