When you walk into a dispensary for the first time, one of the first things you’ll be struck with is the sheer number of options. Isn’t weed just weed? As it turns out, the beauty of marijuana lies in the complexity of the cannabis plant. Depending on the strain and chemical composition, marijuana can have very different effects on your mind and body, and you’ll want to understand a few basics to get you oriented to what’s right for you. A good place to start is the distinction between THC and CBD.
THC and CBD are just two of over 100 active chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, which have been discovered in marijuana. Inside the body, cannabinoids interact with receptors found throughout the nervous system and can affect experiences such as mood, memory, pain-sensation and hunger. Although the unique effects of each type of cannabinoid are still being explored, THC and CBD are the two most important compounds we know about, and you’re likely to see them listed when you look at a marijuana product.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most well known cannabinoid, and it is primarily responsible for the feeling of being high. Because THC acts on the brain and can affect your psychological experience, it is called a psychoactive chemical. That feeling of euphoria, the altered perception, the intensification of imagination, can mostly be attributed to THC. But for many people, too much THC at once can also lead to paranoid thoughts and anxiety. For this reason, if you’re new to cannabis, you might want to start with a lower dosage of THC until you understand how your body and mind react to it. In addition, you might consider something with some CBD to mellow out the psychological effects of THC.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in marijuana, and it has garnered a lot attention for its medical potential. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, so CBD by itself will not get you high. However, the way that CBD interacts with your nervous system can lead to a more relaxed feeling in the body, and it has been suggested to have a host of medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-psychotic qualities to name just a few. It should be noted that the exact medicinal effects of CBD are still being discovered, and some experts suggest that it is most effective when used in conjunction with other cannabinoids found in marijuana. Nonetheless, CBD shows huge therapeutic potential and is particularly appealing because it does not produce any significant side effects.
So next time you’re wondering what marijuana experience is right for you, remember to look at the relative content of THC versus CBD. If you’re looking for psychological effects, you’ll want something with THC. If you’re looking to relax your body or relieve pain, higher CBD might be the better choice. If you’re interested in the mind-altering effects of THC but you’re worried about getting paranoid, combining it with some CBD might do the trick. Remember that everyone reacts slightly differently to marijuana, and your experience will be unique to your body and mind. But knowing the basic distinction between THC and CBD will help you get started as you explore what combination is best for you.
Want more information on CBD and THC? Take a look at this fantastic infographic from our friends at GreenCamp.