CBD Education

THC and CBD: Two Sides of the Same Leaf

Marijuana usage rates are up; 1 in 7 US adults admitted to smoking it in 2017, so it’s understandable to think everyone and quite literally their mom are giving marijuana a shot. But what’s the reason for this? The first may be the most obvious, and that’s the psychotropic “high” associated with cannabis consumption.

But another trend has increased the demand: the view that marijuana is primarily medicine, not a drug. Two different compounds are present in marijuana. These compounds produce the plant’s varied mental, physiological, and therapeutic effects. They are called THC and CBD. Read on to learn more.


Tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known by its acronym THC, is a psychoactive chemical compound present in marijuana. THC is very similar in formula to an endemic brain hormone known as anandamide, allowing it to bind to receptors located in the brain. Once THC attaches itself to these receptors, normal physiological function is interrupted. 

THC cells stimulate the production of dopamine and reduce normal activity in the hippocampus. This produces minor cardiorespiratory effects and the “high” that many people enjoy after consuming cannabis products, characterized by feelings of relaxation and euphoria, and impacting the ability to normally process memories. THC can be smoked, taken orally in edibles or as THC oil, or vaporized.


Cannabidiol is the second important compound produced in marijuana. Much like THC, CBD attaches itself to the aforementioned endocannabinoid receptor system in the brain and other locations in the body. Cannabinoid consumption, therefore, creates an uptick in dopamine production, much like THC, but does not alter hippocampus activity. 

The result is a very clear-headed, pain-relieving effect that does not carry the same psychoactive “high” that THC produces. CBD can be smoked, taken orally as CBD oil or concentrates, or vaporized in the same manner that THC can be.

Why does the difference matter?

Since stigma still surrounds marijuana use, regardless of legality, many people who could benefit from marijuana consumption (like those suffering from epilepsy, for example) may not try it as an alternative form of treatment. However, CBD-rich or CBD-exclusive products have filled an important niche in the form of a non-intoxicating personal medication. 

Since CBD does not induce intoxication, people who may benefit from cannabinoid treatments can try these products without concern for being “stoned” or coming across as a drug user to other people. More CBD research and products have the chance to help make possible medicine more available to more people, and the world a healthier place as a result.

For more information, visit Sun State Hemp.

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