The cannabis plant, also commonly referred to as the marijuana or hemp plant, possesses two important cannabinoids that are processed by the human body’s endocannabinoid system. These cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the cannabinoid responsible for getting a person “high.” It binds with the CB1 neuroreceptors in the human brain and triggers a neurological response from the brain’s reward system to make a person feel happy and relaxed. CBD, on the other hand, binds with the CB2 neuroreceptors and triggers an extremely powerful response from the immune system, flooding the body with antibodies that act against tissue inflammation. CBD is completely non-psychoactive, meaning it will not get a person “high.”
Marijuana is used as a medicine in two very distinct ways. For mental health disorders such as generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and others, THC can offer patients some relief. Under the guidance of a doctor, patients smoke or ingest marijuana in order to take advantage of the relaxing and calming effects of the THC. THC has proven to relieve the symptoms caused by many mental health disorders.
For physical health disorders that are the result of tissue inflammation, CBD has proven to offer tremendous healing powers that in some cases are able to completely alleviate the symptoms of a disease. Inflammation-based diseases such as Crohn’s disease, colitis, arthritis, asthma, and epilepsy have all been shown to be effectively treated through the administration of CBD. The CBD goes to work immediately by attacking the underlying tissue inflammation that is at the root of the aforementioned diseases, clearing up symptoms very quickly.
Two Distinct Plant Subspecies
Cannabis is generally considered to be the parent plant species, while hemp and marijuana plants are considered to be subspecies or cannabis plant variants. The marijuana plant has been cultivated and genetically altered over the years to produce high concentrations of THC and CBD. The marijuana plant is typically used for its potent psychoactive effects. The hemp plant is different, however, as it has been cultivated to possess only CBD, with the THC component being bred out of the plant strain. The hemp plant is primarily associated with its purely medicinal uses as a CBD producer.