CBD and THC are the most famous components of hemp. Broadly speaking, THC is the psychoactive ingredient; and CBD is the active ingredient that is making it fashionable among all audiences, and to which all the benefits of medical hemp are attributed.

CBD vs. THC: The Basics

The most important thing to know about CBD and THC is that they are both cannabinoids. They are two of the more than 150 cannabinoids that have been discovered in hemp. And what are cannabinoids? Well, they are those chemical substances capable of binding with the cannabinoid receptors of the human body and brain through the endocannabinoid system.

They are, therefore, together with terpenes, those components of hemp that awaken an effect in us, either physically or mentally. They are responsible for making us laugh, relax or reduce our muscle pain when consuming hemp. Of all the chemical substances in hemp, CBD and THC are the best known because they have been the most studied by scientists to date. In fact, they were the first cannabinoids in hemp to be isolated and synthesized by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam.

What is CBD?

The full name of CBD is cannabidiol. This cannabinoid is one of the most famous components of hemp right now. It is the active ingredient that has revolutionized the perception of hemp worldwide for its therapeutic properties. The most important thing is that this cannabinoid does not arouse psychoactive effects. That is to say: it does not alter our cerebral capacities. And it is also capable of counteracting the psychoactive effects of THC.

It became famous for its proven anticonvulsant properties and has been studied as an active ingredient capable of curbing the seizures produced by some refractory epilepsies.

What is THC?

The full name of THC is 9 Delta-Tetrahydrocannabinol and although nowadays CBD seems to be eclipsing its fame, THC is the great star of hemp. It is the cannabinoid responsible for the “high” of hemp, and the active ingredient for which hemp has been considered a banned substance in so many countries.

But its effects go far beyond that. THC has important narcotic properties, is very effective to curb pain in chronic patients, and is a great ally to whet the appetite and curb nausea, so it is often recommended to people who are being treated with chemotherapy.

Where do CBD and THC come from?

Both cannabinoids come from the hemp Sativa plant, commonly known as hemp. CBD can also be found in the hemp plant, which is hemp’s first cousin, but THC is only produced by hemp.

Traditionally cannabidiol could only be found in hemp, but the growing demand for this cannabinoid among consumers has led breeders to work on hemp plants capable of producing CBD. So nowadays it is common to find hemp plants with no THC levels, but high percentages of CBD.

Let’s see what differentiates these plants from the same family.

Both plants belong to the Hemp Sativa family, but their morphology and composition are different. The most striking of their differences: hemp does not produce THC or any other cannabinoid with psychoactive effects, it only produces CBD, while hemp produces more than a hundred cannabinoids. Hemp is taller, stronger, and has fewer branches; and hemp is more compact, shorter, and has many more branches.

Hemp is that spiky plant that resembles hemp and has traditionally been used for fiber production (construction and textile sector) and for seed production (food sector), and hemp is that bushier plant that is grown for the purpose of harvesting cannabinoids.

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