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Molecular Structure of THC & CBD

Let's break down the molecular structures for both THC and CBD:


THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)

- Molecular formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂

- Atoms:

- Carbon (C): 21

- Hydrogen (H): 30

- Oxygen (O): 2

- IUPAC name: (−)-trans-Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol

Key Features:

- THC has a cyclic ring that opens and closes, allowing for the "trans" and "cis" configurations, which are two geometric isomers. The psychoactive effect of THC is attributed to the "trans" configuration.

- It's the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, responsible for the "high" sensation.


CBD (Cannabidiol)

- Molecular formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂

- Atoms:

- Carbon (C): 21

- Hydrogen (H): 30

- Oxygen (O): 2

- IUPAC name: 2-[(1R,6R)-3-methyl-6-prop-1-en-2-ylcyclohex-2-en-1-yl]-5-pentylbenzene-1,3-diol

Key Features

- CBD does not possess the same cyclic structure as THC, which prevents it from inducing a psychoactive effect.

- It's been researched for various potential therapeutic benefits including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-anxiety properties.

Though THC and CBD have the same molecular formula, the difference in their arrangement of atoms (their structural isomerism) leads to their differing pharmacological effects.

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