In the eternal struggle, CBD weed versus THC weed, let’s take a look. CBD, is the source of the benefits we lend it. Further research actually shows that despite completely separate effects, differences between CBD and THC are more subtle than they seem.

Hemp is at the center of many debates, and almost everyone has a clear opinion about its use. Yet it is still little known. What we do know is that its molecular structure is complex. At least eighty-five different cannabinoids have already been identified. These are molecules, or more precisely acids, exclusive to the hemp plant. These chemicals are very different from each other acting on certain receptors in the human body, causing effects that we know more or less.

Among the most famous cannabinoids we obviously find THC whose full name is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the most common naturally occurring molecule in sativa. We owe it particularly to its psychoactive effect, that is, hovering. THC, generally opposes CBD, or cannabidiol. Sometimes dubbed therapeutic cannabis because of its calming effects, it is the second most studied cannabinoid after THC.

Having more prospects for large-scale research will allow a better understanding of the effects and differences between CBD and THC. Expanding the list of countries that allow cannabis use will allow many new studies to emerge. In this regard, many eyes are on Canada, the first major Western country to have fully legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use.

CBD vs THC: a molecular difference

When we study the CBD vs THC molecules in detail, we quickly realize their structure is very close. Their chemical composition is really exactly the same. A THC molecule and a CBD molecule each have 21 carbon atoms, 3 hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. The only seemingly tiny contradiction lies in the arrangement of these atoms with each other and more specifically in the position of a single hydrogen atom. On a human scale, it seems possible to ignore. In fact, the differences caused by the change in position of this atom are immense.

The scientist behind the isolation of the THC molecule is Raphael Mechoulam. A year earlier, in 1963, this Israeli researcher had already succeeded in determining the structure of cannabidiol, then only isolated. Thanks to him and his team, the differences between CBD and THC could be better understood, particularly regarding their respective effects.

The human body has an endocannabinoid system. Identified in the 1990s, it contains two types of receptors: CB-1 and CB-2. The former are present in certain areas of our brain while the latter are distributed between our immune system and our nervous system. Because of their molecular difference, THC and CBD do not interact in the same way with these receptors. Thus, the differentiation of their effects lies mainly in this small detail.

The different effects between CBD weed and THC weed

THC weed therefore gets us high. It is part of the tetrahydrocannabinols, listed as narcotics and therefore strictly prohibited by law. It is primarily responsible for what is called recreational use of cannabis, which is totally prohibited by Italian law.

CBD is said to be a sedative and anxiolytic. Cannabidiol is in fact a cannabinoid whose certain effects are recognized but still unknown. This lack of scientifically proven data still places it as an outsider whose apparent benefits are not sufficient to elevate it to the status of conventional medicine. However, CBD is not psychoactive. and therefore not listed as a narcotic. It is therefore not illegal.

Thus, the differences between CBD and THC occur mainly in their effects. However, some studies suggest that the two molecules would be more complementary than expected. CBD thus appears to slow and even counteract the effects of THC. Its calming effect, for example, limits the feeling of anxiety sometimes caused by taking tetrahydrocannabinol. These studies, which still require further investigation, even seem to show that CBD limits the feeling of addiction and could, in the right dosage, act as a substitute for getting rid of the feeling of lack. Instead of contrasting them, the differences between CBD and THC instead enhance their complementarity.

Legal CBD Weed versus illegal THC Weed ?

THC vs. CBD: common questions

Is it possible to distinguish CBD Weed from THC Cannabis with the naked eye?

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish CBD Weed from black market THC cannabis with the naked eye. While a head that is neither wilted nor moldy and offers nice sticky trichomes is usually a sign of quality weed, it does not say much about its THC or CBD content. If in doubt, at least one sample of the product should be tested.

Do THC and CBD smell the same?

Quality cannabis should smell good. However, this floral, fruity or sweet scent depending on the variety is mainly the work of terpenes and flavonoids. However, these are not specific to cannabis and are found in most plant species (fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc.). Finally, THC and CBD have no particular smell. Therefore, it is impossible to recognize them by nose.

Are THC and CBD the only two cannabis molecules that cause effects on humans?

No, and far from it. THC and CBD are just two cannabinoids among more than a hundred. While some of them are well known such as CBG (cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromene) or CBN (cannabinol), many others have yet to be discovered and studied. However, THC and CBD remain by far the best known and present in cannabis in its natural state. The others are present in more or less anecdotal amounts, which explains why they are (much) less talked about and why they are also less present on the market. Not to mention that not all of them have effects as interesting as those of CBD.

How to separate THC from CBD?

THC and CBD are two cannabinoids naturally produced by hemp. Therefore, they are ultimately just molecules that need to be extracted in order to isolate and enjoy them independently. There are several techniques for extracting THC and CBD from a cannabis plant. CO2 extraction is often preferred because it is cleaner than solvent extraction and preserves the properties of the cannabinoids better than oil extraction. To ensure that products containing THC are not sold, European law requires the use of plants that contain no more than 0.2 percent THC. There is then no longer a need to separate THC from CBD.

Do cannabis-based medicines contain THC or CBD?

Potentially both. In fact, there are medicines containing CBD, others containing THC, and some that combine the two molecules to take advantage of their combined effects. Medicinal cannabis is not licensed in Italy, however, three different cannabinoid-based treatments have already been approved: Sativex (containing CBD and THC and used against multiple sclerosis), Epidiolex (CBD oral solution against epilepsy), and Marinol (based on Dronabinol, against neuropathic pain).