As the use and legality of marijuana and other cannabis products become more and more common, consumers are becoming more intrigued by cannabidiol (CBD), a natural compound that derives from the cannabis plant.
Even though it’s three letters long, confusing CBD and THC can be quite common. However, they are very different. For starters, CBD has zero of the psychedelic effects that THC has, meaning it won’t get you high, regardless of how much you ingest. On the other hand, an article from onlinedispensarycanada.ca explains the benefits of the “entourage effect,” which is the combination of both CBD & a trace amount of THC.
CBD is extracted from hemp or marijuana. Whereas hemp plants contain a small percent (less than 1%) of THC, marijuana plants contain high concentrations of THC. While THC is most popularly smoked and inhaled, CBD is often found in gels, oils, edibles, cream, and pill form.
THC is the major psychoactive compound of marijuana, and it gives users the feeling of being high (and maybe paranoid.) While both compounds interact with our endocannabinoid system, they both give off very different effects.
Put it this way, you probably wouldn’t opt to take a bunch of THC if you were on your way to see a family member, whereas you might ingest CBD. It allows you to still “fully function” while still reaping the benefits, whereas a THC heavier form of cannabis can lead to serious short term impairment – meaning you cannot do everyday tasks such as driving or going to work.
Chemically, both THC and CBD have the same amount of structure on a molecular level. They each have 21 carbon atoms, 2 oxygen, and 30 hydrogen atoms (for those of you who remember high school science). Both CBD and THC react similarly to your body’s endocannabinoids, allowing them to connect your brain’s receptors for various positive effects.
The reaction with your brain’s receptors releases neurotransmitters to your brain, which are responsible for communicating between cells and neurotransmitters have effects on your body’s ability to feel pain, the immune system, stress, emotional states, sleep, and eating habits.
Despite being very similar chemically, CBD and THC have very different psychedelic effects. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, so it’s not getting you ‘stoned’ or ‘high’ like its THC counterpart. THC is all about the compounds that produce the body’s euphoric sense.
Legally in the US, marijuana and THC fall under the same category and are still prohibited under federal law in many states. In Canada, however, it’s legal throughout the entire country, and therefore, it’s the largest legal marijuana market in the world. With marijuana legalization in Canada also comes CBD oil legalization, as well as edibles & other forms of cannabis.
Several states in the US have made the recreational use of both marijuana and CBD legal, such as California & Colorado being the earliest adopters of legalization. THC is still the significantly more popular option among the general population, but as the benefits behind CBD continue to unfold, its population will likely catch up in future years. It is highly expected, and we can expect it to be reality soon.
From a medical standpoint, CBD and THC share many of the same health benefits. They both have been known to provide relief from several body conditions, including inflammation, aches and pains, nausea, anxiety, depression, glaucoma, and low appetite, among others.
While CBD is well-tolerated, and users can even consume it in large doses, THC does cause some temporary side effects. It should be highlighted that neither THC nor CBD is found to be fatal from a compound standpoint.
Temporary THC side effects include an increased heart rate, bloodshot red eyes, slower reaction, memory loss, dry mouth, and coordination problems.
Long-term THC use has been linked to psychiatric effects, including the risk of developing schizophrenia, which is an unfortunate consequence that is linked to heavy use among teenagers. As cannabis has not been studied in-depth, conclusive studies are currently few and far between.
When it comes to drug testing, both THC and CBD are stored into the body’s fat, and they can both show up in drug and blood tests, several days after its use. Not all tests can track CBD, but most standard tests will be able to locate THC during screenings. You do have to be careful, however, when taking a full spectrum CBD oil as this contains THC that may show up in a drug test, depending on how long & how much full-spectrum oil you have been consuming.
Marijuana has a higher concentration of THC, and hemp plants have a higher concentration of CBD. On average, marijuana strains contain 12 percent of THC and CBDs tiny percentage of THC would be attributed back to the hemp plant. For CBD to be considered CBD, for example, it can’t have more than 0.3 percent THC.
Both compounds are ingested differently. While many people choose to smoke THC, CBD is most popular as oil, which is also used for cooking. Many people love to use CBD oil in cooking, as it is an edible product. One can easily include it in the cooking process and enjoy it. THC comes in a variety of smokable products, edibles, oils, and capsules as well, but it’s not often ingested as so. THC that is digested as an edible has longer-lasting effects, and it’s psychoactive compounds are maximized once it soaks up into the body, making the high more potent and long-lasting.
In the end, while both substances are found in marijuana, and they look and smell very similar, the differences are mostly in their effects on the body. Especially when it comes to getting stoned or high, it’s important to understand the differences considering one can knock you onto the couch for four hours watching movies, and the other has a bevy of health benefits. It’s always important to know which one you want and then obviously, which one you’re getting.