The cannabis plant contains more than 120 cannabinoids. Two of the most well-known are CBD and THC. These two compounds, both of which come from CBGA, share the same molecular formula. Even so, they produce very different effects on the body. Here, we’ll take a look at CBD vs THC effects to watch for when you use a cannabis product.
Where CBD and THC Come From
CBD and THC both come from the “mother” cannabinoid CBGA. As a cannabis plant matures, CBGA gets exposed to various enzymes, which convert it into CBDA, THCA, and CBCA. Exposing CBDA and THCA to heat and light (such as lighting a joint or decarboxylation in the oven) causes these compounds to convert into CBD and THC, the active cannabinoids we all know and love.
While CBD and THC are molecularly the same, they do provide some different benefits. They also produce very different effects on the body.
Benefits of CBD and THC
CBD and THC produce some significant benefits, helping users to relax, sleep, ease pain, and so much more. Benefits of CBD include:
- Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant
Benefits of THC include:
- Pain relief
- Muscle relaxant (may help with muscle spasticity)
- Sleep aid
- Appetite enhancer
Working Together: The Entourage Effect
While CBD and THC are effective on their own, there’s anecdotal evidence showing the two cannabinoids may be more effective together. This theory, known as the entourage effect, states that the various compounds in the cannabis plant enhance the effects of one another. For instance, a high CBD product is more effective when there’s even a small amount of THC present. For those who take high THC products, including CBD in the mix can be quite beneficial. CBD blocks some of your CB1 receptors, keeping THC molecules from binding to them. With fewer THC molecules attaching to your CB1 receptors, your high is more mellow and enjoyable.
Effects to Watch For
There are a few effects you might notice when you’re using CBD or THC. With THC, the most noticeable effect is the high the plant produces. Generally, you might expect products with a high THC content to the most potent. The truth, however, is that other compounds in the plant or product will determine the experience you have. For instance, a product with a balanced CBD to THC ratio will trigger a more balanced, mellow high than a strain or product that’s high in THC and features little to no CBD.
Other effects of THC you might notice include:
- Dry mouth (also called cottonmouth)
- Red eyes
- An increased appetite
- Slower reaction times
- Impaired coordination
The exact effects you feel will depend on the THC percentage. Other factors that will impact the effects you feel include other cannabinoids and terpenes in the product and how much you use.
Unlike THC, CBD does not cause you to get high. In general, most people won’t feel any adverse effects. You may notice an increased sense of calm as the cannabinoid helps to alleviate stress and anxiety. Some users do experience some unwanted side effects, such as fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in appetite. In general, however, CBD is well-tolerated.
CBD and THC provide some similar benefits, but they produce very different effects on the body. Where THC gets you high, CBD doesn’t. Understanding these effects and knowing what to watch for can help you to choose the best products for your needs.