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Many individual’s misinterpret the difference between Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). The compound structure is the main difference between THC and CBD. THC is a psychoactive drug (produces a high) and is derived from marijuana. CBD is a non-psychoactive (does not produce a high) and is typically derived from hemp (rarely marijuana). Individuals who use CBD and want to avoid THC, need to use CBD derived from hemp. There are three main classificaitons of the cannabis sativa plant. Class I contains more than 0.3% THC and less than 0.5% CBD, class II contains more than 0.3% THC and 0.5% CBD, and type III contains less than 0.3% THC and more than 0.5% CBD (Silva & Cangeloso, 2022). Class I and II are considered marijuana and Class III is considered hemp. According to Silva and Cangeloso (2022), the psychoactive affects from THC are caused by the binding of CB1 receptors and CBD does not attach to the CB1 receptors, thus not producing a psychoactive affect. However, according to Silva and Cangeloso (2022) when CBC and THC are combined together, CBD does overtake and bind to the CB1 receptors and blocks THC from binding to the CB1 receptors, thus decreasing the THC affects. 

     The use of CBD is known to help many several mental and physical conditions. Project CBD describes how the use of cannabinoids help cancer and cancer treatment. Many individuals with cancer suffer from loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting, either related to the disease process or a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation. Cannabis is an effective anti-nausea therapy and alllows less pharmaceutical drugs prescribed that could have drug interactions (Pellerin, 2020). It is a resort when antiemetic medications have been trialed and failed with patients. Cannabis if used correctly and safely can also help cancer patients with insomnia and chronic pain. Research suggests that cannabis can help with neuropathy, which is a side effect of many chemotherapy drugs. According to Pellerin (2020), cannabis has been shown to have anticancer effects in many cells, slowing and arresting tumor growth. In some cases cannabis also has led to full remission. The use of cannabis for the treatment of cancer is highly specific and must be dose regulated. Cannabis is not always effective in the treatment of cancer, but often has less side effects than chemotherapy (Pellerin, 2020).

Pellerin, C. P. (2020, August 3). Cannabinoids & Cancer in the Clinic. Project CBD.

Silva, L. S., & Cangeloso, L. C. (2022, January 10). CBD vs. THC: What’s The Difference? Forbes Health.


Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are organic compounds found in the resinous flower of cannabis. (“What is CBD? Definition of Cannabidiol & CBD oil,” n.d.)     CBD is closely related to THC; they are both medicinally active phytocannabinoids. Both CBD and THC have therapeutic attributes but work on different receptors in the brain and body. The main difference between the two is that THC produces an intoxicating effect or “high” where CBD does not.

CBD is being used to treat a spectrum of different disorders. One condition that CBD can help with are symptoms of is insomnia. Currently, there are three classes of medications being used to treat sleep disorders in the US that are FDA approved: benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and non-benzodiazepine hypnotic medications. (Suraev et al., 2020) Although these drugs may be effective, they can have serious side effects, including complex sleep-related behaviors, dependence, and withdrawal. These pharmaceuticals also change sleep architecture, increasing sleeping fragmentation and one’s sense of having a non-restorative sleep which ultimately impairs daily activities.

These serious drug-induced side effects are what is making CBD a choice growing in popularity. Research shows that THC and CBD have sedative and anxiolytic properties, making them a great alternative to pharmaceuticals. (Shannon, 2019) The side effects produced by these organic compounds are similar to the sedative and hypnotic class of drugs, including dry mouth grogginess, and may lead to cannabis-withdrawal syndrome similar to most antidepressants. Although these side effects may occur, they are comparatively less severe than most sleep disorder medications.

Recent studies show that the endocannabinoid system plays a part in regulating our sleep cycles. This system affects the rhythm of the adenosine pathways helping it reach a threshold level that allows for sleep. If the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated, using exogenous  CBD or THC can reset the threshold level of adenosine. CBD has been shown to have a modulating effect on the endocannabinoid system by inhibiting anandamide hydrolysis, which promotes sleep. Using CBD for insomnia has also been shown to have fewer side effects than THC.

Overall, CBD is proving to be an effective and useful substitute for pharmacological options for insomnia. Because cannabis has been a schedule 1 drug for so long has made research studies on insomnia limited. What studies have shown is the fact that it works with our body’s own endocannabinoid system is a huge benefit as it is less harmful to our natural cycles. The side effects that have been shown from studies show far less serious side effects that are common with pharmaceutical drugs for sleep.


Shannon, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: A large case series. The Permanente Journal23

Suraev, A., Grunstein, R. R., Marshall, N. S., D’Rozario, A. L., Gordon, C. J., Bartlett, D. J., Wong, K., Yee, B. J., Vandrey, R., Irwin, C., Arnold, J. C., McGregor, I. S., & Hoyos, C. M. (2020). Cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for chronic insomnia disorder (‘CANSLEEP’ trial): Protocol for a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, proof-of-concept trial. BMJ Open10(5), e034421.

What is CBD? Definition of Cannabidiol & CBD oil. (n.d.). Project CBD: How to Use CBD & Cannabis.

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