Cannabis (hemp) is an ancient plant. The oldest human artifact found is a piece of hemp that dates back to
8,000 BC The history of hemp as a source of fiber, for fabrics, for ropes, for paper (the first sheet of paper
we have trace of is made of hemp and dates back to around 500 years BC) and for food use (hemp seeds are
particularly rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and noble proteins, and if the oil is extracted the protein
residue is an excellent feed), it is intertwined with the history of cannabis – and marijuana – as a psychoactive
product. The use of cannabis for rheumatism, gout and other pathologies has been reported since the
beginning of the third millennium before Christ, in China, often with more emphasis on medicinal and
therapeutic properties than on psychotropic ones. Traces of the anti-inflammatory use of cannabis are also
found in the history of ancient Greece.
Hemp has always been present in many parts of the world; in fact, there are various species (or varieties) of hemp, which have developed specific characteristics based on the environment 13 in which they developed: Cannabis sativa is an imposing plant, typical of hot countries; Cannabis indica is low and bushy, typical of harsh mountain climates; Cannabis ruderalis withstands the harsh Russian winter and does not regulate flowering seasonally, based on hours of sunshine (autoflowering). The different varieties therefore differ in terms of ease and methods of cultivation, resistance, and quality of the fiber obtained.
Cannabis (hemp) is not a drug, it is a plant. There are several varieties of this plant. Some of these contain
active ingredients that can alter mental state, others less so. Cannabis is known by many above all as a drug,
for its psychoactive properties and also for the numerous debates concerning the legalization of its use,
however hemp itself has also been used or proposed for use in various fields that nothing they have to do
with the world of drugs (e.g. pharmacological, food, textile, green building, fuels, etc.). The use of some
cannabis varieties as a drug was at the origin of the prohibitions that concern it and which, probably, also
directly affected its use in different fields, limiting them.
Cannabis, being a plant, is not inherently harmful. The use made of it, however, can be. The use that can
cause harm is exactly what is considered most pleasant. The active ingredients that produce an altered
mental state, for example THC, act on specific receptors that are found in the brain. They are found in areas
of the brain that have to do with complex functions such as the formation of a judgment, the perception of
pleasures, the ability to learn or memorize and movement. The overall result, for many, is pleasant and
explains the use of these substances as drugs. However, the pleasant sensation that results from consumption
is linked to an imbalance in the general functioning of the brain. Especially with frequent use it is quite
evident how a reduced ability to learn and memorize, or to build experiences, can be harmful but what is
even more dangerous is the imbalance in the functioning of systems that are still being formed in young
people and that therefore, it could be modified precisely in their construction and in their balance.
Unfortunately it is very difficult to know in retrospect how cannabis derivatives have played in the
construction of mental and relational problems with themselves and with others, also because the same
problems can be found in people who have never used psychoactive substances. However, if you analyze
studies conducted on many people over time, you can see that the group of those who have used hashish or
marijuana with a certain consistency had on average more mental disorders (serious like psychosis) than they
have ever used.
Cannabis and hemp are the same plant: cannabis Sativa L. is a species of the genus Cannabis; it belongs to
the Cannabaceae family, which also includes hops.
Most often, the term Hemp is used to indicate industrial hemp, while the word cannabis identifies cannabis
for medical or recreational use.
Man has cultivated this plant for millennia and has contributed greatly to human development. Today industrial hemp is a subspecies used for its seeds or its fibers, for example, but without the psychotropic substance.The hemp fiber without TCH has thousands of uses: it is used for fabrics and clothing, paper, biofuels, rope , construction, insulation, waste. It can easily replace the oil and cotton used in many products and Henry Ford even designed a hemp machine in the 1940s!
THC is also known in the chemical field as tetrahydrocannabinol and is perhaps the most important active
ingredient contained in hemp.
This principle is the psychoactive part that exercises actions that alter the central nervous system in
particular in a particular way perception and mood.
Precisely because of these effects, THC hemp is the cannabinoid that generates the most controversies
regarding the legalization of this substance, which however does not prevent the recognition of very
important therapeutic effects, in fact they can also offer therapeutic benefits depending on the way in which
are used: this is the case of the treatment of some clinical conditions especially in the treatment of pain, in
the same way, in the treatment of post-traumatic stress syndrome by attenuating or canceling the episodes
that generate suffering.
The most important therapeutic properties of THC hemp, even if demonstrated with different qualities of evidence, are:
- Muscle relaxant
- Antiemetic and anti-nausea
headache, dizziness and coordination disorders. These adverse effects are obviously reversible with dose
unconscious, acting in a few hours and differently depending on the person who takes it, as well as the dose
taken and the quality of the product.
according to the limits imposed by some applicable laws, therefore allowed in some countries. This type of
“TCH-free” hemp has a high CBD content – another of the many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant –
which is a non-psychoactive component also found in cannabis which is used for therapeutic purposes.
Light marijuana, on the other hand, is genetically protected even from flowers with almost zero THC
For this reason, classic cannabis influences our psyche, while light cannabis does not.
Among the most common short-term effects of THC observe a strong (high) euphoria, followed after more
or less short times by the relaxation of the limbs and the sudden growth of appetite (the so-called “chemical
Other effects depend on the marijuana species taken. Here are some examples:
- Alteration of sleep waking rhythm
- Lack of appetite
- Very strong growth in attention
- Great creativity
psychosis and more.
It is the most known and famous substance that is part of hemp together with THC.
The first hemp crops date back to over 6000 years ago in China. This plant produces over 400 natural
compounds, of which the two main groups of molecules with bioactive properties are terpenes and
cannabinoids. CBD belongs to the latter category, like THC.
Cannabinoids are compounds that interact with the human nervous system through the endocannabinoid
system. The hemp plant contains dozens of cannabinoids, where THC, CBD and CBG are the most common.
These molecules differ from each other in chemical structure and effects.
Many believe that CBD has numerous therapeutic properties as does THC, and that therefore it can also be
used as a daily food supplement to promote homeostasis. Although beneficial for our general well-being,
CBD does not have the psychotropic properties of the cousin THC.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, while THC for tetrahydrocannabinol. Both are cannabinoids produced from
hemp and cannabis plants. The main difference between CBD and THC is that the former does not produce
psychotropic effects. Consequently, CBD is legal in most countries, while THC is not. Curiously, CBD is
able to limit the psychotropic effects of THC by reducing its ability to bind to CB1 cannabinoid receptors.
Main differences between CBD and THC ;
- Non psychoactive: does not cause alterations in consumers.
- No known side effects.
- Helps counteract the psychoactive effects of THC.
- It is legal in most countries.
- Psychoactive: causes an alteration in consumers.
- Generate side effects like paranoia and anxiety.
- The effects are comparable to a psychosis.
- It is illegal in most countries.
- It is able to appease anxiety and the symptoms of depression thanks to its anxiolytic effect.
- It can significantly reduce involuntary muscle spasms thanks to its antispasmodic properties.
- It is useful in case of loss of appetite and anorexia, as it increases the stimulus of hunger.
- It has anticonvulsant properties (it has proved very useful in the treatment of Dravet syndrome, which
affects children causing – among other symptoms – strong convulsions).
- It has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and antioxidant properties.
- It has antipsychotic effects, therefore it goes against THC.
- It is also not addictive and has no side effects. However, it is not recommended to take it to people
suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
The human nervous system contains a large number of receptors. Receptors are like antennas for cell phones
that receive and transmit signals. Just as a repeater receives a specific electromagnetic wave as a signal, the
receptors also use specific molecules to transmit their messages.
One of these receptor systems is the endocannabinoid system (SEC). SEC receptors are distributed in the
brain and peripheral nervous system (including spinal cord and nerves). In the brain, these receptors are
present in the areas responsible for perception, concentration, memory and movement. That’s why SEC is
involved in regulating many physiological processes, including the sensation of pain, mood and appetite.
The two main SEC receptors are called CB1 and CB2. These receptors bind to the molecules produced in
our body called endocannabinoids. 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is an important endocannabinoid that
binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD, a plant-derived phytocannabinoid, does not bind directly to these
receptors, despite being able to replicate some of the effects of 2-AG.
According to the research, CBD would have antispasmodic, antipsychotic, anti-convulsive and
neuroprotective properties. In addition, it can also help relieve daily stress and strengthen the nervous system.
The native varieties of Cannabis sativa (also known as “landrace”) are an important source of numerous
natural compounds, including THC and CBD. Just as many other plant species have been selected by man to
produce specific molecules in larger quantities, Cannabis sativa has also been selectively hybridized for the
most diverse purposes. These processes have transformed the original plant by dividing it into distinct
cultivars with different qualities. Hemp has been hybridized for industrial use and to produce high
concentrations of CBD and minimum THC.
THC and CBD are closely related to other compounds of plant origin called terpenes, terpenoids (terpenes denatured by oxygen), such as limonene and menthol, and curcuminoids, present instead in turmeric and mustard seeds. Terpenes belong to a large class of natural molecules, widely used in traditional cooking for their aromatic qualities. They also play an important role in traditional natural herbal remedies. THC and CBD are produced through the same biosynthesis process. In other words, they are born from the same precursor molecule, i.e. from cannabigerolic acid or CBGA. When this precursor is available, the enzyme synthase CBDA creates an additional ethereal bond and converts CBGA to CBDA, which in turn, after decarboxylation, converts to active CBD. In parallel, the THCA synthase enzyme converts CBGA into the precursor of THC, THCA.
So from the above we cannot exactly make a substantial difference between cannabis, THC and CBD; this is
due to the fact that cannabis is basically a plant while THC and CBD are two substances contained in the
plant, both in different percentages based on the type of cannabis we consider and analyze.
It is also deduced that a comparison between CBD and THC is possible as both cannabinoids are considered
the main substances of the hemp plant but they are not the only ones, in reality there are a series of variants
of active components that make up all parts of the plant, although in a very different percentage; it is
estimated that the only cannabinoids are more than 144. The best known has always been THC, a great
popularity reached today by CBD thanks to the advent of the so-called “Cannabis Light”, also known as
Although these substances are contained in all parts of the plant, in reality it is the inflorescences also called
“buds” that benefit most from their presence.
Cannabis flowers have a layer of resin produced by trichomes, microscopic peduncles that vary their color
based on the maturity of the bud.
It is the resin that contains almost all cannabinoids. The more the cannabis seedling grows in favorable
conditions for its health, the more the trichomes produce resin, which makes the flowers rich in active
ingredients (as well as very sticky).
The amount of resin also depends on the genetics: for example, some species have such a high production of this substance that it is difficult to clean the flowers. This is the case of Gorilla Glue and Godzilla Glue, so called precisely because they stick to work tools.
THC and CBD, therefore, are found in high percentages especially in the bud resin and as we have already
seen there are substantial differences between the different cannabinoids and therefore between THC and
It is useful to note that THC and CBD are often used today in a composition that allows a more effective and
effective therapeutic treatment, as if one depended on the other.
Understanding the nuances of the THC / CBD combination is something that only the most experienced
medical cannabis practitioners could understand and even there it is not an exact science. We all react
differently to cannabis, so it should only be considered a guideline. Patients are encouraged to listen to their
body, look for any signs of unwanted side effects, which must be reported to the attending physician. Using
the THC / CBD ratios used by a leading European manufacturer of therapeutic cannabis oils:
- 20% THC: 1% CBD
- 6% THC: 8% CBD
- 1% THC: 9% CBD