THC versus CBD In 2019, marijuana has been a frequent topic when it comes to health. This is because there are two proposals involving the plant ( Cannabis sativa , the best-known variety) under discussion at the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), the regulatory body for medicines and food in Brazil.
“There are more than three thousand substances released during the burning of tobacco, as in tobacco. These active ingredients can cause changes in the central nervous system. THC, for example, is more related to psychotic conditions. Cannabidiol, on the other hand, has more physical conditions, such as nausea, nausea, headache and dizziness”, explains Marco Antônio Bessa, psychiatrist and head of the chemical dependency clinic for children and adolescents at the Hospital das Clínicas da UFPR, in Curitiba.
THC and Psychotic Disorders
The main culprit in the emergence of the main negative symptoms associated with marijuana consumption, according to medical literature and experts, is the amount of THC present in the plant.
“The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is THC. It’s what brings the mental confusion, the euphoria, everything the user is looking for. Cannabidiol and other principles are not psychoactive”, reinforces Assmé.
This does not mean that THC should be ruled out entirely. According to psychologist Flavia Serebrenic, master and doctor in Chemical Dependency, both THC and CBD have properties that impact health.
Although THC is more associated with deleterious effects, it has symptoms that benefit patients undergoing cancer and chemotherapy treatment, for example.
Regarding CBD, the discussion changes shape — but the substance’s effects are still surrounded by criticism. In recent studies, cannabidiol has shown promise in the treatment of schizophrenia , in improving the quality of life of patients with resistant epilepsy , in addition to possibly collaborating with the treatment of anxiety, addictions and even depression .
Still, experts look at the data with caution, as they are studies with few participants and questionable results. “So much so that the FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration), which is the body that controls the release of drugs, has not released any treatment with CBD, not even for [the treatment of] seizures. It is being released for some cases, but it cannot be considered a miracle drug”, explains Marco Antônio Bessa, a psychiatrist. On the FDA’s website , the agency reinforces the anguish of doctors by warning that the information available on CBD is quite limited. For example, it is not yet known what is the real action of this active ingredient in the human body, and the impacts on the liver after prolonged exposure to the substance.
An editorial in the American scientific journal JAMA ( Journal of the American Medical Association ) , from 2015, reinforces the need for more studies involving not only the active principles of the plant, but with all marijuana before its release is discussed.
And, more recently, a meta-analysis and systematic review of studies involving cannabinoids showed that there is still little evidence that these substances actually help mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and post-traumatic disorder. The study was released by the scientific journal Lancet Psychiatry at the end of October.
The fact is that when smoking a marijuana cigarette (or ingesting any food with the plant) the person is not coming into contact with just CBD or just THC, but a mixture of both and thousands of other active ingredients.
The amounts of each of these substances are not controlled, and thus, neither are the effects. Of the main ones listed by experts, the following stand out:
- Formation of psychotic pictures, especially schizophrenia;
- Difficulty in learning, recording information;
- Memory problems;
- Affected motor coordination;
- Change in judgment capacity;
- paranoid effects;
- Dependency, among frequent users;
- Early use, by children or adolescents, generates changes in brain development, which can lead to a reduction in IQ (intelligence quotient).
- Breathing problems.