Cannabis plants consist of chemicals which are known as canabinoids. The two primary canabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabiniol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Both THC and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system, but differ in their effects on humans.
THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid which causes the high associated with cannabis use. Some of the effects of THC on humans are; relaxation, sleepiness, hunger, euphoria and reduced aggression.
Research has shown THC to be useful in treating nausea, MS, HIV/AIDS, spinal injury, glaucoma, chronic pain, inflammation and low appetite. For more medical uses of THC, check out our article on the 31 proven uses of medical cannabis.
There are only a few side effects of THC, all of which are only temporary and will wear off as the THC is broken down in the body:
- Dry mouth (cotton mouth)
- Red eyes
- Slower reaction times
- Increased heart race
- Hallucinations (rare, but can be caused by edibles)
- Paranoid/anxious (Not all strains cause users to feel paranoid/anxious)
Many people believe large quantities of THC cause schizophrenia such as Skunk strains. However this is old propaganda/incorrect testing. We discuss the reasons why people have been confused in thinking THC caused schizophrenia in this article.
There are some long term side-effects related to the use of cannabis high in THC. We won’t go into detail here, however the majority of these side-effects are reversible. You can read about the long term side-effects of cannabis here.
CBD is non-psychoactive, i.e. it will not make a user high. Some effects of CBD include relaxation, pain reduction and anti-anxiety.
Medical research into CBD has shown to be effective in treating pain, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, drug addictions and many others. For further information on the uses, risks and benefits of CBD, check out our article here.
The only known side effect of CBD is that it can interact with certain medications.
The entourage effect
There are currently over 110 known cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant. The entourage effect proposes that by themselves, cannabinoids are largely non-psychoactive and produce minimal medicinal effects. It is only when all of the cannabinoids are combined that the medicinal quality and impact of consuming cannabis is much greater.
It should however be noted that on their own, cannabinoids do provide sufficient medicinal benefits for their intended use, but when combined together, they complement each other and produce greater benefits. I.e. You do not need THC for CBD to work effectively, but when consuming both THC and CBD together, you experience a greater benefit.
Do you think that the entourage effect is a real, or made up by CBD product marketers? Let us know in the comments below!