There are 483 identifiable chemical constituents known to exist in the cannabis plant, and at least 85 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the plant. The most psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant is tetrahydrocannabinol (or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC). Other cannabinoids include delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN),cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG); they have less psychotropic effects than THC, but may play a role in the overall effect of cannabis. The most studied are THC, CBD and CBN.
Cannabis indica produces a higher level of CBD relative to THC. Cannabis indica is associated with sedative effects and is often preferred for night time use, including for the treatment of insomnia. Indica is also associated with a more “stoned” or meditative sensation than the euphoric, stimulating effects of sativa, possibly because of a higher CBD-to-THC ratio.
Cannabis sativa, on the other hand, produces a higher level of THC relative to CBD. Medical use of sativa is associated with a cerebral high, and many patients experience stimulating effects. For this reason, sativa is often used for daytime treatment. It may cause more of a euphoric, “high” sensation, and tends to stimulate hunger, making it potentially useful to patients with eating disorders or anorexia. Sativa also exhibits a higher tendency to induce anxiety and paranoia, so patients prone to these effects may limit treatment with pure sativa, or choose hybrid strains.
Many strains of cannabis are currently cultivated for medical use, including strains of both species in varying potencies, as well as hybrid strains designed to incorporate the benefits of both species. Hybrids commonly available can be heavily dominated by either Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica, or relatively balanced, such as so-called “50/50” strains.
High CBD-to-THC Ratios
Cannabis strains with relatively high CBD-to-THC ratios, usually indica-dominant strains, are less likely to induce anxiety. This may be due to CBD’s receptor antagonistic effects at the cannabinoid receptor, compared to THC’s partial agonist effect. CBD is also a 5-HT1A receptor agonist, which may also contribute to an anxiolytic effect. This likely means the high concentrations of CBD found in Cannabis indica mitigate the anxiogenic effect of THC significantly.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. For more information, please see the Wikipedia entries for THC and CBD. The text above is adapted under Wikipedia’s Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.