Cannabis 101: CBD vs THC
A column by Dr. Pierre Milot, PhD.
It’s all about cannabinoids.
Yesterday as my wife and I were having lunch with dear friends, I reiterated the offer I made to their group of seniors to lecture them on the benefits of cannabis and the difference between CBD and THC (the psycho active element in cannabis). With a bit of embarrassment, she mentioned the resistance the leaders of the group had towards cannabis, and hence their hesitation to let me make my presentation. “This is exactly why I make these mini seminars I said in an effort to reassure her: to clarify the fact that CBD will never get you high like THC will and that there is no THC in the CBD products available on the market today”, hence ‘no high’.
The stories I could tell you about what CBD did for me are nothing but short of miraculous, but I will come back to this later. For now, let’s get started.
CB1 vs CB2
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two most prevalent compounds in marijuana, and are also known as ‘cannabinoids’. A cannabinoid is one of the chemical compounds that acts on cannabinoid receptors in the brain and throughout the body. The two most important are CB1 and CB2.
CB1 (psycho active THC) binds mainly with receptors in the brain, central nervous system and lungs while CB2 (non psycho active CBD) binds mainly with receptors located in the immune system and peripheral nerves.
Though they’re just two out of hundreds of other cannabinoids found in cannabis, they are present in the largest quantities among the different varieties of cannabis plants.
What is CBD?
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Unlike THC, CBD can either be derived from agricultural hemp or cannabis, though it’s often much more potent when it is derived from cannabis and require more advanced expertise to process it. We now know that CBD lacks the psycho active effect of THC because it doesn’t bind with the CB1 receptors.
CBD has the ability to reduce the high caused by THC. For this reason, many users who prefer cannabis with a high THC level, keep a bottle of CBD tincture close by in case they consume too much THC and want the intense high to dissipate more rapidly.
Conditions that CBD can help.
Folks who suffer from skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema find CBD-rich topicals such as creams, balms and salves help alleviate their symptoms.
CBD can reduce nausea and vomiting. Cancer sufferers who deal with nausea due to chemotherapy treatments, could turn to CBD to quell these symptoms.
CBD also has the ability to reduce seizures and muscle convulsions and spasms, possibly making it effective in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease and multiple sclerosis. In fact, GW Pharmaceutical (UK) markets a nose spray containing equal parts of CBD and THC called ‘Sativex’ for the treatment of MS. This product is approved by health Canada.
CBD is successful in promoting healthy bone growth and can help reduce vascular tension and artery blockage.
Studies show that CBD also help reduce blood sugar levels, making it helpful for diabetics or other conditions that require monitoring blood sugar levels such as hypoglycemia.
For anxiety sufferers, CBD has been shown to reduce the condition for people who have general anxiety or conditions such as PTSD.
Among other benefits, CBD:
Fights nicotine and other drug addictions
Protects nervous system degeneration
Kills and slows bacterial growth
Shrinks and attacks cancer cells / tumors
Helps with ADD / ADHD
Has anti-psychotic effects
Has sedative properties.
Very efficient is relieving pain and inflammation.
Has anti-seizures properties. In fact, the FDA (US) approved in 2018 a drug called Epidiolex CBD) for controlling seizures in people with difficult-to-treat childhood onset of epilepsy.
More and more benefits from the use of cannabis / hemp products are being discovered every day and the future looks brilliant for this virtually new industry.
In my next article, I will gladly share with you my ‘first contact’ with CBD and the totally awesome things it did for me.
Once again, I encourage you to email me any questions you might have on cannabis, request more explanations or share a success story with other readers at: email@example.com
Talk to you soon
Dr. Pierre Milot, PhD., is a Certified Medical Cannabis Counsellor and resident of Winchester, Ontario.