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The cannabinoids of cannabis

Diving into the world of cannabis can be daunting without having the proper knowledge. Though the plant is not a new discovery, more information is being revealed about it every year. One common question is, what’s the difference between CBD and THC? 

The two cannabinoids, the molecules that occur within the cannabis plant, have the same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. The difference? The way that the atoms are arranged causes different effects on the body. 

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of the compounds found in cannabis sativa plants. Often used in a medicinal form, CBD is not psychoactive nor considered a controlled substance. CBD is said to relieve pain, assist with mental health symptoms and more. In the U.S., the federal Controlled Substances Act legalized CBD if it comes from hemp. CBD can be consumed by vapor inhalation through vape pens, oils or topicals, edibles like gummies or smoke inhalation.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC, which stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol is another cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant. This compound is responsible for causing the ‘high,’ which is why it is a controlled substance. THC has a few different common forms, including Delta 8 and Delta 9. Both have very similar properties and effects on users. 

Delta 8

Delta 8 is one of the cannabinoids that became highly interesting with its similarities to Delta 9. One of the main attractions of Delta 8 is that it’s a legal alternative to Delta 9. Some effects include visual distortions, euphoria and relaxation. Delta 8 only occurs in small quantities in cannabis plants. Although federally legal, a lack of regulation of Delta 8 is still being studied. 

Delta 9

A more commonly abundant form of THC, Delta 9 is typically within all THC products and is known for being the cannabinoid to cause the ‘high.’ It may also benefit those who suffer from anxiety, low appetite, muscle spasticity, nausea, insomnia or pain. Side effects of using Delta 9 may include memory loss, red eyes, slowed reaction times, dry mouth and anxiety. Delta 9 is not federally legal in the U.S., but the law varies by state. 

Aside from CBD and THC, the marijuana plant creates numerous other cannabinoids. Some of those include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabicitran (CBT), cannabinodivarin (CBV) and cannabiripsol (CBR).


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