THC and CBD: what is the difference between these molecules?

Recognized for these anxiolytic and antiepileptic effects, cannabidiol (CBD) can be purchased and consumed in France and within the European Union. On the other hand, no law authorizes the sale and consumption of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). So, what differentiates these two molecules?

CBD: its recognized benefits

Unlike THC, the therapeutic benefits of CBD are recognized by the World Health Organization. According to this entity, the molecule has a good safety profile.

Cannabidiol is also available in different forms: capsules, oils, creams or even oral sprays. With a view to obtaining one of these items, do not hesitate to inquire about what Nativus offers, an online store specializing in natural CBD products. Its offers obviously include trendy CBD-based products: infused CBD oils, organic CBD flowers, hemp infusions, adaptogenic plants. You will even find organic cosmetics made from hemp seed oil: body balm, hand cream…

Supported by clinical evidence, CBD is best known for its anxiolytic effects and antiepileptics. This molecule would have anti-inflammatory, antipsychotic, immunomodulatory and neuroprotective effects. Cannabidiol is notably prescribed in the context of withdrawal from the consumption of addictive substances.

CBD is also prescribed to treat anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. It would even have positive effects in case of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia. Some studies suggest that a high cannabidiol content inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells. One CBD treatment can also aim to reduce the risk of necrosis of the arteries following a heart attack.

CBD consumption: what does the law say?

As you will have understood, the sale and consumption of CBD are legal in France. Technically, CBD is a molecule extracted from hemp, a plant widely used in the industrial sector. Thus, the law authorizes the cultivation and use of hemp varieties devoid of THC.

According to the decree of August 22, 1990, implementing article R.5132-86 of the Public Health Code, the CBD offered for consumption must come from Sativa L, a variety of cannabis authorized by law. In effect, THC content contained in this plant is significantly less than 0.2%.

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The official report issued by the World Health Organization in 2017 confirms the harmlessness of CBD. As a result, this molecule is not on the list of controlled substances. It is not addictive and does not present any harm to health. In other words, recreational use of CBD poses no danger to public health.

For now, cannabidiol is not recognized as a drug. It is mainly considered as a dietary supplement that improves the well-being of suffering people. Even if cannabidiol is authorized, be sure to respect the dosages previously prescribed by a health professional. Likewise, a therapeutic use of this substance should be done under the supervision of a doctor.

THC: what you need to know about its mode of action

THC is a molecule extracted from cannabis. It activates cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. The receptor called CB1 is present in brain cells. As a result, THC acts on the cortex, the hippocampus (memory), the thalamus (sensory perceptions) and the cerebellum (motor functioning).

Also, the CB2 receptor is found in immune cells. In other words, THC is far from being an innocuous molecule. The effects of consuming THC do not wear off quickly and can last over 24 hours. Moreover, this molecule is toxic and addictive.

THC: an illegal substance

Unlike CBD, the law does not allow the sale and consumption of THC. Smoking cannabis is an offense punishable by a fine. It should be remembered above all that cannabis with a high rate of THC proves to be harmful, even carcinogenic, for the organism. The consumption of this type of substance promotes the onset of respiratory diseases.

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It is also necessary to fear the infarction and the high arterial pressure. Added to this are hallucinations, paranoid ideas, psychosis. Agitation, irritation, aggressiveness, depression are also among the harmful effects of THC.

What about the CBD/THC synergy?

According to a clinical study carried out by Santé Cannabis, the effects of CBD would be less in the management of symptoms. The improvements observed are quite limited, compared to the effects of treatments based on CBD and THC. The combination of these two molecules would prove beneficial in most patients.

For the time being, more in-depth studies are essential to validate the results of this research. Be that as it may, the debate remains open on the consumption of therapeutic cannabis. An Ifop survey for ECHO Citoyen and Terra Nova affirms that 82% of French people would be in favor of a supervised use of cannabisso THC.

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Should we expect legalization of THC?

However, there are two cannabis-based drugs authorized in France: Sativex and Marinol. The first is used to treat multiple sclerosis. Therefore, it benefits from a marketing authorization. As for Marinol, it is a remedy for neurological pain. Attention, it can only be obtained from a temporary authorization of personal use. And of course, it is a drug that is not marketed in traditional pharmacies. If necessary, you will need to obtain it from a hospital pharmacy.

Regarding the therapeutic use of THC, an American study confirmed that the use of the whole plant would relieve pain, without generating negative side effects. An article posted in Scientific Reports in April 2021 highlights studies carried out on four terpenes: geraniol, alpha-humulene, beta-pinene and linalool. The tests carried out on mice are quite conclusive. Terpenes alone would reduce sensitivity to pain. On the other hand, several side effects have also been reported: drop in body temperature, catalepsy, reduction in movement, feeling of “high”.

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It is clear that the psychoactive effects of cannabis and in this case of THC are still as strong.


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