Cannabis products are popular for their ability to ease the systems of many common health concerns, from pain to anxiety. However, many people dislike the high they get from products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Some may also worry about the consequences of using marijuana, such as the effects on the body. How does THC affect the central nervous system? Find out more, along with the benefits of using CBD as an alternative cannabis option.
How Does THC Affect the Central Nervous System?
The brain uses neurotransmitters to send messages throughout the entire nervous system via nerve cells. THC affects the central nervous system because its chemical structure mimics that of anandamide, a chemical found in the brain. This similarity causes the body to recognize THC and allow it to send messages, thereby altering brain communication.
The endocannabinoid system of the body uses a network of cannabinoid neurotransmitters to communicate. These neurotransmitters are involved in areas of the brain that control movement, coordination, concentration, memory, pleasure, and time perception.
Since the chemical composition of THC is so close to these chemicals found naturally in the brain, THC can attach to cannabinoid receptors, activate the neurons, and affect the above systems, disrupting normal physical and mental functions. The main endocannabinoid system receptors affected by cannabis are CB1 and CB2. THC affects the central nervous system in several places:
- Hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex: There are areas of the brain responsible for shifting focus and attention and forming new memories.
- Cerebellum and basal ganglia: The use of THC disrupts these two areas that regulate a person’s balance, coordination, reaction time, and posture.
THC impacts a person’s ability to think clearly, learn new information, and perform certain complex tasks. It also triggers the reward system in the brain by stimulating neurons to release high levels of dopamine, encouraging the person to repeat the behavior.
In large doses, THC can have a psychotropic effect. This includes reactions like hallucinations and delusions. Marijuana use may increase blood pressure, raise the heart rate, and produce bronchodilation in some people. Some studies show that THC can reduce the negative effects of some neurological disorders like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, and limit muscle spasticity.
Does THC Affect the Central Nervous System Differently Than CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is another compound found in the cannabis plant. However, it is non-intoxicating, so it doesn’t produce a “high” feeling. CBD has a modulated effect and loosely binds itself with the CB1 receptor, causing either an increase or decrease in its signal transmission.
CBD is a popular product for relieving uncomfortable symptoms like anxiety. It does this by activating the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. The same receptors affect appetite, pain perception, sleep, and nausea, among other neurological and biological processes. Another effect is on TRPV1 receptors that influence pain and inflammation. CBD may also be effective for treating symptoms of epilepsy and IBS.
While CBD isn’t intoxicating, it is still psychoactive by definition: It acts on the central nervous system to alter normal brain activity and produce changes in mood, behavior, consciousness, or perception. However, the effects don’t alter cognition or cause any withdrawal symptoms.
How Does THC’s Effect on the Central Nervous System Inform Product Selection?
Many people who wish to access the positive effects of cannabis, but don’t want to experience the high from THC, opt instead for CBD. While CBD comes from the same plant that produces marijuana, it is derived from hemp and typically contains no THC. However, it’s important to note that some CBD products contain up to 0.3% concentrations of THC. All high-quality CBD products contain labels clearly stating the THC content, so you can choose a product that best suits your needs.
Types of CBD Products
CBD comes in many forms, from tinctures you place in the mouth to creams applied to the skin. The beauty of this wide variety is that you can choose a product that addresses your concerns while taking CBD in a way that is convenient for you.
The type of product you choose also affects how quickly the CBD takes effect. Vaping is typically the fastest method, while edibles and oils take longer.
Another factor to consider when selecting your CBD is the formula. There are three to choose from:
- Full-spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabis plant compounds and may have small amounts of THC.
- Broad-spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabis plant compounds but has zero THC.
- CBD isolate is the purest form and has no other cannabinoid compounds or terpenes.
Each formula has its benefits. You may need to try a few to decide which effect you prefer.
You must learn about your favorite CBD company to discover where it sources its CBD and other important factors about quality. Every quality CBD product should be clearly labeled. The label should display the product ingredients and CBD content along with information about the manufacturer, batch number, production and expiration dates, dosage, warnings, and instructions for use.
For more information, read the product’s Certificate of Analysis to learn about third-party lab testing results. CoAs ensure product safety and accurate labeling. Any reputable CBD company that sells high-quality products should have these lab results available for you to read, usually on the company website.
Does THC Affect the Central Nervous System: The Importance of Sourcing High-Quality Products
Now that you understand more about the effects THC and CBD have on your body, you know why it’s so important to source your products from a reputable source you can trust. Terrasol Dispensary has a wide range of products perfect for a number of health concerns and preferences. Choose from CBD oils, topicals, edibles, and even pet products. All of our products are safe, effective, and of high quality.
Does THC affect the central nervous system? The answer is, absolutely. Now that you know what that means, you can relax and enjoy greater peace of mind when you select your products from Terrasol’s impressive selection. Are you new to CBD or looking for something different? We are happy to help you find the product that’s right for you and offer guidance on dosage and use so you have the most satisfactory experience possible.