Article by Shanthi Rexaline , Benzinga
Whenever pot is discussed, two acronyms — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD — are usually mentioned in the same breath. The following is a look at how the substances differ.
Cannabis sativa, an annual herbaceous flowering plant, has numerous uses thanks to the multiple natural compounds present.
Cannabinoid, or phytocannabinoid, is the broader term used to refer to the more than 100 different chemical compounds in cannabis plants.
Incidentally, cannabinoids can also be produced in the body (endocannabinoids) or synthetically manufactured (synthetic cannabinoids).
These compounds act on the cannabinoid receptors in cells — CB1 in the brain and CB2 in the body — that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain.
THC and CBD are the two major phytocannabinoids. Among the different varieties of the cannabis family, a particular variety has a higher proportion of the mind-altering chemical THC: 5-20 percent compared to sub-5 percent levels of CBD.
Cannabis used for human consumption is usually obtained from the flower or bud. Some varieties may have a balance in the CBD-THC ratio, while others may have a higher proportion of THC relative to CBD.
Some of the other cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant are:
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV.
- Cannabidivarin, or CBDV.
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A, or THCA.
CBD occurs in the cannabis plant in the form of cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, which yields CBD when heated.
Given CBD’s low affinity for the cannabinoid receptors CB1, it lacks euphoric side effects. In other words, CBD does not produce a high.
It is being evaluated as a potential treatment option for conditions such as schizophrenia.
In 2018, the FDA approved GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR GWPH‘s plant-derived CBD with the brand name Epidiolex for treating seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome, two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, in patients two years or older.