Select Page

Where Do CBD And THC Come From?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (or CBD) are both derived from the cannabis plant. There are many different strains of cannabis plants each with a different proportion of these chemicals. However, these are the two primary cannabinoids that are found and extracted for personal use

Over the years of farming practices different strains have been developed to deliver different chemical results. However, it is primarily a result of these two compounds. Hemp is a subset of the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3 percent THC. Anything over that percentage is considered just cannabis. This is important because at the federal level hemp is legal to grow pursuant to state license. However, cannabis is illegal to grow at the federal level. 

Is There A Chemical Difference?

Yes there is a chemical difference but it isn’t in the composition. The composition of both THC and CBD are the same: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. What creates the difference is structure of the molecule. The slight variations in how the atoms are bonded and aligned cause the difference in the “high” that you feel in THC. Both chemicals interact with your endocannabinoid system

What matters with the endocannabinoid system are three components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Endocannabinoids are similar to cannabinoids but just produced by your body. The endocannabinoids bind to receptors (CB1 and CB2) that tell your body how to properly function, such as eat sleep, mood, pain, stress, motor control, and other important bodily functions. The two cannabinoids, THC and CBD, due to their similarities to the internally produced endocannabinoids preferably bind to both CB1 and CB2 in such a way that they produce the high or not the high.

Do Both CBD And THC Get You High?

THC is the cannabinoid that commonly is linked the “high” sensation. What is going on is that THC is binding with either CB1 or CB2 in such a way that you are feeling high. There is no clear reasoning on why it works this way. Similarly, THC will bind to either CB1 or CB2. However, the main difference is that its binding process does not cause the natural high. There are still known effects but otherwise there is not high feeling. Scientists have not fully developed a theory on why THC and CBD bind differently between themselves and why that would cause a high in one and not the other.