The cannabis plant, also known as hemp, is a flowering herb that produces many compounds to protect itself from being consumed by herbivores. Cannabinoids are the group of these compounds that include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), the plant’s two most well-known active compounds.
Marijuana, or weed, typically refers to parts of the plant used for their psychoactive effects, which are the parts containing high amounts of THC. However, people sometimes refer to the cannabis plant itself as marijuana.
When people use marijuana, THC is the compound responsible for producing the high, which may include feelings of euphoria and relaxation.
CBD does not cause psychoactive effects leading to a high and is not a controlled substance. The effects of CBD last between two and six hours, similar to how long THC’s effects last. Factors such as a person’s drug use patterns, age, and weight can affect this.
CBD and Its Effects
Research into how CBD affects the body and mind is still in its early stages. However, many products containing different amounts of CBD are currently being sold as a more natural way to help with everything from stress to pain relief. These might come in the form of balms, tinctures, oils, capsules, and even candies and sodas.
Human and animal studies have shown that CBD may be effective in treating:
- muscle pain
- Chronic pain
One CBD-containing prescription, Epidiolex, used for the treatment of some seizure disorders, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
CBD Side Effects
The good news is that ingesting CBD oil hasn't been linked to many negative effects during the majority of study on CBD. The few that they have discovered are typically quite gentle, and made include those below:
- Dry mouth
- Decreased appetite
Like grapefruit, CBD also has the potential to interact with medications, including blood thinners.
THC and Its Effects
Marijuana’s effects vary widely among people who use it. Instead of experiencing euphoria and relaxation associated with a high, some people who use marijuana instead experience anxiety and paranoia.
Some common side effects of THC include:
- Heightened senses (e.g., seeing brighter colors)
- Increased appetite
- Altered sense of time
- Impaired memory
- Impaired body movement
- Difficulty with decision-making
When taken in high doses or over a long period of time, marijuana can cause psychosis, hallucinations, and delusions in some people.
Long-term marijuana abuse can cause withdrawal symptoms including insomnia and anxiety when drug use is stopped.
The way marijuana is consumed can also contribute to negative side effects. For example, smoking weed may lead to lung and other respiratory system damage.
Like CBD, THC and how it affects the body and mind is becoming a more popular subject of study for scientists. Marinol and Syndros are two prescriptions that have been approved by the FDA that contain either synthetic THC or a synthetic substance similar to THC. These medications are used to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients and increase the appetite in AIDS patients.
It’s best to talk with your doctor before starting the use of any drug, supplement, or plant compound. If you are regularly using THC or CBD, let your doctor know at your next appointment.