What is the difference between THC and CBD?

What is the difference between THC and CBD?

November 13, 2018

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two most common cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, found in cannabis.

Both THC and CBD interact with cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate a variety of physiological and cognitive processes. The ECS is composed of endocannabinoids, molecules that bind to cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoid receptor proteins found throughout the mammalian central nervous system and peripheral system.

The ECS is partially responsible for appetite, mood, memory and pain sensation.

Difference in chemical structure between THC and CBD

At first glance, THC and CBD may look identical. They have the same molecular formula, which is C21H30O2. They share the same molecular mass, which is 314.46 g/mol. But, if you look closely, there is one crucial difference. THC contains a cyclic ring, while CBD contains a hydroxyl group.

THC

thc-structure

CBD

cbd-structure

That one difference changes everything when it comes to…

The effects of THC vs CBD

A neurotransmitter called anandamide is released after exercise, and binds with an ECS receptor called the cannabinoid receptor 1, or CB1, affecting appetite and motivation.

It’s what causes a “runner’s high.”

Because THC is so similar in structure to anandamide, it binds perfectly with CB1 receptors and causes a high sensation.

CBD, because of the hydroxyl group, is different in shape and does not fit into the CB1 receptor. Therefore, it does not make one feel high. It does, however, bind to other receptors in the ECS and can relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

It’s almost being researched as a treatment for anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and a variety of other illnesses and ailments.

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