One of the many things that make the cannabis plant unique is the many different types of compounds it has. Scientists are still unsure about the exact quantity of these compounds, but they are estimated to be 100+.
The most well-known are Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (often referred to as just THC) and, until recently, cannabidiol (CBD). Here is why these two cannabinoids stand out.
What is Delta 9 THC?
Delta 9 THC is the most abundant cannabinoid found in cannabis and is the main psychoactive ingredient. It’s what gets people "high."
Delta 9 is often associated with marijuana despite it also being present in minimal quantities in hemp plants.
Delta 9 THC vs. CBD
Even though Delta 9 THC and CBD are sourced from the same plant, they differ in many ways. These differences cut across their chemical structures, properties, and legality.
Differences between CBD and Delta 9 THC
Delta 9 and CBD are what we'd call non-identical twins. Despite coming from the same plant, their character traits are worlds apart.
Delta 9 and CBD have a similar chemical structure with 30 hydrogen, 21 carbon, and 2 oxygen atoms. They differ, however, in the way these atoms are arranged.
For instance, CBD's chemical structure consists of two 6-member rings, while THC has an ether bond formed by combining two 6-membered rings through the attachment of oxygen and a carbon atom.
This seemingly small difference gives these two compounds different pharmacological properties.
CBD and Delta 9 bind differently with the body's endocannabinoid system. Delta 9 binds more strongly with the two primary receptors in the endocannabinoid system (CB1 and CB2) found in the central nervous system, the brain, and the immune system (CB2).
On the other hand, CBD does not bind to these receptors. Instead, it influences how other cannabinoids bind with these receptors by altering their shapes. For this reason, CBD is classified as a negative allosteric modulator.
THC is psychoactive, which means it has mind-altering effects. One of the most well-known effects of Delta 9 is the "high."
CBD is generally non-psychoactive, but this position is often contested as some cannabis enthusiasts believe CBD is equally mind-altering. The fact that it may alter pain perception and may help manage symptoms associated with mood disorders suggests CBD could also be psychoactive, just not in the same way as Delta 9.
The most exciting relationship between Delta 9 and CBD is evident in how it waters down THC's effects. When used with Delta 9, CBD is believed to prevent it from completely binding with the receptors, thus mitigating some of its effects.
THC is often associated with intoxicating feelings, dizziness, paranoia, and a dry mouth. It's not uncommon to experience more severe reactions like psychosis and panic attacks.
On the downside, Delta 9 THC is linked to decreased memory formation, learning impairment, and increased anxiety. Other less desirable side effects are slower reaction times, coordination problems, and an increased heart rate.
CBD, on the other hand, is all about good vibes. Experts are studying how CBD impacts and potentially influences sleep, pain, and stress.
When CBD and THC are taken together, they enhance each other's positive effects – a phenomenon referred to as the "entourage effect." It essentially allows the user to get the maximum benefits from the compounds.
However, Delta 9 THC is believed to be addictive, with research showing that about 30% of marijuana users become addicted. People who start using marijuana before they are 18 are more prone to addiction because their brains are still developing.
However, since CBD doesn't bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, experts believe there's little chance of getting hooked.
Nevertheless, it does have minor side effects like fatigue, appetite changes, diarrhea, dizziness, and weight loss. But it's unclear if CBD is the main culprit, given that CBD products often contain other cannabinoids.
Legality and accessibility
Cannabis-related laws in the United States are still evolving, and a new law pops up every few years.
While CBD is legal in almost all states, it's still a Schedule I drug under federal law. Nonetheless, it's legal as long as it does not contain more than 0.3% THC. But to be on the safe side, it is essential to research your state's laws on CBD before buying it.
On the other hand, Delta 9, often associated with the recreational use of cannabis, is only legal in a handful of states.
Benefits of Delta 9 and CBD
Delta 9 THC and CBD have an almost similar chemical make-up, making it easier to combine them. When these two are combined, they are believed to have tremendous potential health benefits.
For example, research shows THC:CBD formulations might be more effective in managing pain and sleep problems.
Other benefits of CBD and Delta 9 are:
Supports a sense of calm
Delta 9 THC may help to reduce racing thoughts and anxiety. It is, however, supposed to be taken in small doses, as large doses can be over-stimulating.
Since CBD inducess feelings of drowsiness while THC has a "high" effect, they complement and balance each other out, thus helping to establish a better experience.
Supports a healthy sleep cycle
Additionally, CBD has powerful sedative properties, which are enhanced when used with THC.
Emerging evidence has also shown that THC may improve one's breathing during sleep, showing it may be useful for people with obstructive sleep apnea. This attribute is linked to THC's calming effects on muscles.
Delta 9 may also improve sleep quality by reducing time spent in REM (where most dreams happen). Reduced dreaming is handy for people with PTSD, which typically involves disturbing dreams or nightmares.
Works with the endocannabinoid system of your body to support homeostasis
THC and CBD work with the ECS system to support various functions in the body and, chiefly, homeostasis. Some bodily functions regulated by these cannabinoids are sleep, mood and memory, appetite, and reproduction.
ECS still works well on its own without external cannabinoids like THC and CBD. However, an influx of external cannabinoids supercharges and makes it perform even better.
Both can be used daily
If you're considering using these two compounds daily, it's perfectly fine.
Delta 9 and CBD complement each other quite well. Whereas THC induces a "high," CBD promotes a sense of calm that counteracts the effects of THC and delivers a more balanced and enjoyable experience.
THC and CBD formulations are believed to promote lower levels of inflammation and pain, which is great for a good night's sleep. So, some people prefer CBD products that contain some THC, like full-spectrum CBD, to reap the benefits of both compounds.
Should you buy CBD with or without Delta 9 THC
CBD and Delta 9 interact with the same receptors, albeit with different outcomes or effects. For example, CBD modulates receptor activity, making it easier for endogenous cannabinoids to work in the body.
On the other hand, THC directly activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors, leading to numerous psychoactive effects, most of which are beneficial. So we can look at CBD as a regulator and THC as an activator.
It's been shown that these two compounds are more effective when paired (entourage effect), so there's no reason to avoid buying CBD with THC.
However, context is king – there are scenarios where CBD alone is ideal, mainly because its safety profile is quite good. The same cannot be said of THC, given its known side effects, especially when used in large quantities.
Further, it's contested whether THC is safe to use in certain medical conditions like PTSD due to its ability to induce psychosis.
Some people also don't like the mind-altering effects of THC but still appreciate CBD's vital health properties. For such people, broad-spectrum or CBD isolate are ideal.
How to find the best CBD
Many CBD products are on the market, but not all are of high quality. The FDA does not regulate CBD, so it's up to you to ensure you get the right products. This means being vigilant and knowledgeable.
One sure way of getting high-quality CBD products is by shopping at approved CBD vendors and manufacturers that follow good manufacturing practices (GMP).
Also, look for additional certifications by third parties to ensure the product matches what's advertised. You'll be surprised by the number of CBD products that promise heaven but deliver much less! Certificates of analysis (COA) also come in handy in helping you learn more about a product.
In a nutshell, here are some measures you can adopt to get high-quality CBD.
- Buy only at approved vendors or manufacturers
- Check the COA
- Go for domestically grown products to be sure quality standards are high
- Buy organic when you can. They have fewer toxins
- Check the type of CBD, whether full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate
- Buy CBD products in glass packaging to ensure you get value for money (CBD sticks on plastic!)
So, if you're curious about trying CBD, here are some top-quality products to start you off.
Premium CBD Drops: these drops are the easiest way to consume quality broad-spectrum CBD. Use them either sublingually or mixed into your favorite foods to experience their mind and body soothing properties that help you stay calm and focused throughout your day. They’re available in broad spectrum and full spectrum options, 5 different flavors, and 3 potency levels.
CBD + CBN Sleep Gummies: these gummies contain organic CBD and CBN to help you sleep better and deeper. They also have potent herbals like passion flower extract and L-theanine that add extra soothing properties that enhance that relaxing feeling. A simple but effective solution for better sleep!
Relief Cream: If you're a fitness enthusiast, this is the product you need to relax and soothe sore and stiff muscles. Made with premium hemp CBD, this product soothes aches and helps sore muscles recover. It's brimming with an assortment of natural ingredients to help reduce pain and inflammation in affected areas, leaving you calm and refreshed!
FOCL Daily Bundle: a good night's sleep is becoming a rare commodity these days for millions of reasons – hectic work schedules, demanding bosses, high living costs, family obligations, and whatnot! We understand; that's why we offer you this bundle of joy!
The FOCL Bundle contains energizing adaptogens and premium hemp CBD to help you remain focused during the day but relaxed enough in the evenings for a good night's sleep. Add this FOCL bundle to your daily routine, and you'll never be the same again.
CBD and THC are turning out to be helpful natural supplements thanks to their potential therapeutic effects.
Research may be in the early stages, but early findings are promising. What is even more evident is that CBD and Delta 9 work beautifully together, so try them out!
Even better, some companies like FOCL integrate other natural herbs and adaptogens into their CBD products. It's still too early to tell whether cannabinoids work well with non-cannabinoids, but then again, why should it not?