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CBD vs THC

CBD and THC are found in the hemp and marijuana plants. CBD and the related cannabinoids (such as CBC, CBG, CBN, CBDV, etc.) produce a variety of wellness benefits, and are used by people and pets who want to improve stress, discomfort, inflammation, fitness, and sleep.

THC on the other hand, is mostly associated as the compound which produces a “high” or euphoric effect and is the well-known compound found in marijuana.

Hemp plants are high in CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids, and low in THC (0.3% or less). This amount of THC is the legal limit for Hemp under the Farm Bills of 2014 and 2018.

CBD and THC – the full-spectrum of wellness
A small amount of THC (less than 0.3%) is is believed to enhance the effect of CBD. This is not enough THC to produce a high.

Full-Spectrum CBD:
This type of product features CBD, THC, and other beneficial cannabinoids interacting with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to support wellness. These compounds work together to produce what is known as the “Entourage Effect”.

CBD Isolate:
We also produce products that include only the CBD compound and remove THC. This is for people who cannot take any amount of THC for professional or medical reasons. An example of some professionals who cannot take any amount of THC are pilots, air traffic controllers, active military or law enforcement, health care professionals and commercial drivers licensees (CDL).

Broad Spectrum CBD:
This refers to products that contain CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids (such as CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.) but without THC. High Falls Hemp will be creating some Broad Spectrum products in 2020.

Tetrahydrocannabinol

Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is one of the prominent cannabinoids that are present in the cannabis genus of plants. Evolutionary theorists believe that THC and other cannabinoids that are present in cannabis plants evolved within the plant to help fight off insects, protect the plant from ultraviolet light, and provide an extra layer of strength during extreme survival conditions. In essence, THC and all cannabinoids are part of the cannabis plant’s DNA and are there in order to assist the plant with survival and creating offspring so the species can continue to carry on the genes for generations to come. THC is also a plant-based compound that can cause a “high” in humans and mammals and provide other wellness benefits. 

Cannabidiol

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, was first discovered in 1940. Much like THC, it is one of the many cannabinoids that are present within the cannabis plant. Although THC and CBD are from the same plant species, and in the same family, they are very different from each other. Both compounds interact with the human endocannabinoid system in a way that affects the body, but CBD does not cause a “high.” Studies have shown evidence that suggests that CBD can help to invoke relaxation, relieve discomfort, and ease stress.

The molecular structure of THC and CBD is closely related, as are other cannabinoids found in the hemp or marijuana plants. These molecules often shift from one form to another as the plant’s chemistry evolves during the flowering cycle.

CBD, THC, and the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system, also known as ECS, is an intricate system of neurotransmitters and receptors that stretch throughout the body of most living beings that have spines (mammals). Science and medical experts still have a lot to learn about this mysterious, but complex system that dwells just under the skin of humans and or furry pets.

Interestingly enough... 

The fascinating thing about endocannabinoids, also known as endogenous cannabinoids, is that they are eerily similar to the cannabinoids that we find in the cannabis plant. These cannabinoids are ones that the body produces on its own. The reason why people find such great wellness benefits from exogenously introduced cannabinoids, like CBD, is usually when the body is not producing enough endocannabinoids on its own. Can it be that the reason why cannabinoids have such an effect on the human body and brain is that they are so similar to our own endocannabinoids?

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and Homeostasis

Humans, animals and most other creatures have a set sense of balance within their bodies that keep them alive, healthy, and safe. All humans, for instance, have a body temperature that has to stay in between a certain range of degrees, or else there could be catastrophic health problems. Anything below 94.5 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold, and anything above 98.5 degrees Fahrenheit is considered too warm. Functions like body temperature, heart rate, adrenal secretions for energy, endorphins for discomfort, and even appetite are all part of the body’s system which has to be kept within a certain balance, or problems happen. The endocannabinoid system helps to create an environment of homeostasis (balance) within the body. It is within that homeostasis, we find balance.

Millions of tiny neurotransmitters and receptors lie throughout the body in order for the brain to communicate with each and every nerve that we have. The receptors that send and receive information work with our self-made cannabinoids to deliver information that the body needs in order to maintain order is known as the ECS.

The ECS is An extremely complex system that delivers such a simple yet critical  result

THC and Endocannabinoid Receptors

Basically, there are two types of receptors that make the ECS work. CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor is predominantly located in the brain and throughout the central nervous system, and the CB2 receptor is predominantly throughout the body and ties into the bodies’ immune response activities. When THC is introduced into the human body it directly attaches itself to the CB1 receptors and causes what we know as a “high.” The way that THC directly attaches itself to the receptors and makes changes in the way that the brain operates is considered dangerous according to some healthcare professionals. This is why there is so much controversy behind the use of THC and marijuana. THC directly affects the brain and alters the perception of the person that is under the influence of it. 

CBD and Endocannabinoid Receptors

CBD also communicates with the endocannabinoid receptors, but in a different way. In simple terms, the central nervous system is a communication system that runs throughout the human body, brain, spinal cord, and everywhere else. Pulses of energy can travel through the system by means of nerves and neurotransmitters. The CB1 and CB2 receptors (and ECS) are part of this bigger whole. Receivers can either send signals or not. CBD does not attach itself to the receptors in the same way that THC does, but it can influence whether or not a receptor will send information or signals. For instance, if the body is sending out signals for muscles to be tense because of stress or discomfort, CBD can slow, or stop that signal from happening and allow the person taking CBD to remain calm and comfortable.

Smoking Cannabis

Although there are various ways to introduce CBD and THC into the body, the fastest, by far, is to smoke it.

Archeological evidence suggests that humans smoked cannabis as part of rituals in the Western part of China around 2,500 years ago. Throughout history, a plethora of different cultures partook in the smoking of cannabis. It is probably safe to assume that the people that smoked pot back then had no idea that it contained CBD, nor did they care about how it could possibly keep them calm. It wasn’t until many years later that scientists discovered the many cannabinoids found in the plant and how they affect the human brain. Cannabis is even referred to in the Bible (the old testament) which chronicled events over 5000 years ago.

There is a reason why people back then had to smoke cannabis in order to feel its effects, as opposed to eating it. How they knew about this little detail is still a mystery.

Cannabinoids and Decarboxylation

As we have already discussed, THC and CBD are one of over 100 different cannabinoids that are present in Cannabis Sativa, also known as the hemp plant. THC and CBD are the most sought-after cannabinoids because they both have an effect on the user. However, when inside of the cannabis flowers, the cannabinoids have an extra carboxyl molecule attached to them that alters their effects on humans, and animals. While still in the plant, the compounds are actually THCA and CBDA. The extra “A” symbolizes the acidic component that is still part of the molecular structure.

As the plant ages and dries out, this extra molecule slowly fades away and allows THC and CBD to become active. Alternatively, when the plant is heated to a high enough temperature, the cannabinoids immediately shed the extra molecule and morph into a compound that has greater efficacy to most humans. It should be noted that there is important research being done throughout the world, with a focus on Israel, which is showing that there are therapeutic benefits from the acidic form of both THC and CBD and the other cannabinoids. But on average, the greatest efficacy for most people is in the forms which do not have the acidic component included in the molecular structure.

In the process of extracting the hemp oil from the plants prior to turning it into usable formats such as tinctures, gummies, or topical formats, the buds and flowers of the hemp are heated until the transformation is complete, and the cannabinoids become more effective for most users of these products.

Another form of decarboxylation is when cannabis is smoked through a bong, a joint, or a pipe or when the oil is vaporized through a vape device.

The final verdict is that in order for both THC and CBD to have an effect on most humans, or animals is that they have to be heated to the point where they lose that extra little carboxyl molecule and become decarboxylated. 

CBD and THC May Work Together

We discussed the different spectrums that hemp extracts are available in. When an extract is classified as full-spectrum it has all of the cannabinoids that the hemp plant has to offer. When an individual takes a dose of a full-spectrum CBD product, such as a tincture or a gummy, they invite what we know as the “entourage effect.” What this means is that each and every component of the hemp extract comes together to bring a whole effect to the user. You can look at it from the perspective of a musician, or a cook. Each component is an instrument or an ingredient that makes up a whole song or a delicious dish.

Imagine that the CBD is the beautiful voice of the singer, the THC is the drums, CBG make up the string section, and CBC make up the brass section. If you take CBD by itself, all you will hear is the voice. It takes the whole band to create a beautiful song that you can enjoy and feel within your very soul as you appreciate the experience.  Full spectrum must include the other (minor cannabinoids) not the terpenes, although it can include terpenes, however, that is not a requirement to be full spectrum. High Falls Hemp NY full spectrum products are devoid of terpenes due to the filtration process we put our product through.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the tiny amount of THC that is present in a hemp extract is enough to assist and enhance the benefits CBD has to offer the body, mind, and spirit of the user.

Which is Better: THC or CBD?

Which cannabinoid is better all comes down to one’s point of view. Some parts of the United States still feel that THC is a dangerous drug that should be criminalized and controlled. However, there are just as many people, if not more, that love the effects of THC and can’t wait until they get the next hit. One thing that there is no debate over, is that THC causes a pretty intense high and changes the way that the user feels. CBD, however, does not traditionally cause the user to feel any kind of high, or cause a dramatic change in the way that they feel.

If you are the type of person that likes to get stoned, eat junk food, and laugh at people walking down the street, THC may be your preference. If you are the type of person that wants to relax after a long day of stress and work without becoming inebriated, CBD may be your best choice. 

Either way, as Americans become more willing to have an open mind about cannabis, hemp, and hemp products this country will continue to open more and more doors that lead to the complete acceptance of the majestic cannabinoids, THC, and CBD. In our next post, we delve into the topic of Minor Cannabinoids and their importance in formulating products intended for specific issues.