Article by Jessica
Cannabis, marijuana, hemp, CBD, and THC. These are some of the standard terms you’ll stumble upon whenever you come across a cannabis-related article, and the words can be confusing.
Since cannabis products are mainly used for medicinal purposes, you must know what you’re buying before placing your order. Otherwise, you may purchase the wrong product and join the long list of people who doubt the therapeutic properties of cannabis.
This post shall examine the key differences between cannabis and THC.
Cannabis refers to a plant genus consisting of different species. The terms cannabis and marijuana are often used interchangeably, albeit erroneously.
Marijuana is a variety of cannabis, characterized by its significant levels of the psychoactive compound, THC. Hemp is another notable variant of cannabis. Unlike marijuana, hemp contains lower levels of THC.
THC is an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol. It refers to a compound derived from the cannabis plant, which is characterized by its psychoactive properties. THC is the cannabis product responsible for the great euphoria, also known as the ‘high.’
If you’re a cannabis cultivator interested in producing higher yields of THC, you may need to invest in marijuana plants. All you have to do is buy the best marijuana seeds and grow your plants under all of the ideal conditions.
Unlike cannabis that has been used for more than 2,500 years, THC was only isolated in 1964. However, since THC is a component of cannabis, it enjoys the same history of use. Nonetheless, here are five of the main differences between Cannabis and THC.
1. Cannabis vs. THC: Structure and Constituent Compounds
The chemical structure of cannabis depends on the individual compounds comprising the plant. Generally, cannabis is a hydrocarbon, which means that it contains carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms.
In terms of its constituent compounds, researchers have been able to identify more than 480 compounds in cannabis. These compounds are divided into two distinct groups known as cannabinoids/phytocannabinoids and terpenes.
Cannabinoids account for the medicinal properties of cannabis, whereas terpenes give cannabinoids their distinct tastes and flavors. THC, along with cannabidiol (THC), are the most popular cannabinoids. Others include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinol (CBN), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), etc.
Now, THC is a distinct compound and isn’t made up of smaller components. The fact that THC is one of the constituent compounds of cannabis means that it shares similar chemical properties with the plant. THC’s molecular formula comprises 21 carbon atoms, which bond covalently with 30 hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms.
2. Cannabis vs. THC: Interactions with the Body
Both cannabis and THC interact with the body by affecting the functions of the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system regulates the body’s normal homeostatic balance. It plays a fundamental role in pain management, anxiety relief, alleviation of inflammation, regulation of circadian rhythms, etc.
The endocannabinoid system contains its cannabinoids, known as endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids. The method also comprises a series of receptors known as endocannabinoid receptors and various enzymes that synthesize and degrade the endocannabinoids.
How cannabis affects your endocannabinoid system depends on the individual cannabinoids in a cannabis product. For instance, THC interacts with endocannabinoid receptors known as CB1 receptors located near the brain. Other cannabinoids like CBD interact with CB2 receptors located in the peripheral regions of the body.
3. Cannabis vs. THC: Medicinal Properties
As you might have guessed, cannabis comes with more therapeutic properties than THC. That’s because the plant produces hundreds of cannabinoids, each delivering unique effects.
For instance, cannabidiol is effective against pain, anxiety, inflammation, seizures, and neurological conditions. Another compound of cannabis, cannabichromene (CBC), is famous for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
On the other hand, THC is mostly used to relieve pain, especially pain that emanates from the central nervous system or neural damage. It’s also a powerful stimulant and may work as an energy booster. Its ability to bind to CB1 receptors located near the brain makes THC an excellent sedative and anti-anxiety compound, primarily if used in low doses.
4. Cannabis vs. THC: Legality
There have been widespread campaigns in favor of cannabis legalization in the past few years. Proponents of cannabis use argue that in addition to its numerous medicinal properties, it doesn’t present any worrying side effects.
A case in point is the 2018 Hemp Bill signed into law by President Trump. The law allows anyone within the United States to trade in or use cannabis products, provided the products contain a maximum of 0.3% THC concentration.
On the other side of the spectrum, THC doesn’t seem to enjoy more legal backing. That’s because of its psychotropic properties. According to opponents of cannabis legalization, the psychoactive properties of THC could open up avenues for abuse.
So, legally speaking, the legality of cannabis products largely depends on the concentration of THC. The convention is to check the cannabis laws in your state or country before using any cannabis product, particularly those that are high in THC.
5. Cannabis vs. THC: Mode of Administration
There are six common ways to consume cannabis products, including;
- Sublingual administration, where you drip cannabis oil tinctures underneath your tongue and then swallow
- Vaping cannabis e-juices, also known as vape oils
- Smoking cannabis flowers
- Consuming cannabis edibles, including baked goods, gummies, and chocolates
- Swallowing cannabis-infused pills or tablets
- Topical application of cannabis-enriched beauty and skincare products
There are many more ways to consume cannabis that exist but have not yet been mainstreamed, such as subcutaneous injections.
Of the numerous ways to consume cannabis products, sublingual administration, vaping, and smoking are ideal for THC. That’s because THC is mostly consumed for its euphoric effects, and the three methods deliver those effects to your system very quickly.
Cannabis and THC are closely related. However, they still have glaring differences as THC is identified by its psychotropic properties. However, since cannabis contains many compounds, its chemical properties are consistent with its constituent compounds.