CBD vs THC – What’s the Difference?
CBD vs. THC is a hot topic as the discussion of legalized cannabis continues throughout the world. This is why the distinction between two of the main compounds in cannabis, CBD and THC, is becoming more critical. These two compounds have very different effects and are both used for different reasons.
By now, you have surely heard of both of these compounds. THC is the most prominent, and CBD picking up popularity over the last few years. CBD stands for cannabidiol and THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. When discussing either recreational or medical cannabis these days it’s very important to know the difference between the two compounds and how to use them properly.
Even though there is still lingering doubt as to the use of cannabis as a medicine, many people firmly believe the plant has almost miracle like qualities. In fact, it was the support of many medical practitioners that have granted cannabis the research money and funding necessary to test the plant for its suitability as a medicine.
As legalization slowly engulfs the planet, CBD and THC have also become marketing tools to sell cannabis products, and this is the real reason we need to know what we are actually getting when we buy cannabis products.
What’s the Difference Between CBD vs. THC?
The primary difference between CBD and THC is the fact that CBD does not cause you to get high whereas THC does.
Notwithstanding the fact that CBD and THC share a near-exact molecular formulation of C21H30O2, and molecular mass of 314.469 g/mol and 314.464 g/mol respectively, the chemical compounds still react very differently.
THC, the psychoactive component found in cannabis plants, tends to induce drowsiness, whereas CBD typically increases your energy levels. The most notable difference though is that THC gives you the feeling of being high.
Research suggests that when these two compounds react at the same time, the CBD actually works to reduce the effects of the THC. This means lowered anxiety as well as other negative effects that are common when THC is consumed. This is just one reason why CBD is often extracted to use separately for medical purposes.
What Is CBD?
CBD is one of approximately 400 compounds found in cannabis plants. It is the element responsible for counteracting the effects of THC. Even though the CBD molecule is almost the same as the THC molecule, it does not have psychoactive properties and therefore does not get you high.
Instead, CBD has been shown to provide many other health benefits. Studies are currently underway to determine CBD’s effectiveness in treating ailments such as depression and anxiety.
CBD reacts with the body’s own endocannabinoid system, which is a network of neurotransmitters that regulate your body’s sleep patterns, hunger, and overall homeostasis. You can find CBD in almost anything these days from oils to dog treats, to skincare products and food supplements.
The discussion around its legality is still complex, however, as cannabis remains illegal at the federal level in the US, but it legal in certain states. The recent 2018 Farm Bill allows for CDB to be produced as long as the THC levels are less than 0.3%. This has given rise to a whole new industry of CBD oil producers who use industrial hemp as the base from which to extract high amounts of CBD and low amounts of THC.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a cannabis extract that contains high levels of CBD and little to no THC. It is typically derived by adding a solvent to cannabis plant leaves and flowers which extracts the oily compounds found in the plant’s trichomes.
In 2011, two brothers from Colorado recognized that CBD had the capacity to hinder the spread of cancer in the human body. They agreed to begin developing a strain of cannabis that was high in CBD and that could be used for treatments. The strain would have low THC and therefore none of the intoxicating effects normally produced by the compound. What they came up with was a strain so low in THC that it could not get you high. They decided to call it “Hippies Disappointment”
This was exactly what the parents of a young girl named Charlotte were looking for. The 5-year-old Colorado girl suffered from Dravet syndrome, a rare kind of seizure disorder that had her suffering from up to 100 seizures a day.
They extracted the CBD oil from the high CBD strain and gave it to their daughter. Instantly her seizures were reduced to only a couple a month. They renamed the strain Charlotte’s Web in her honour
CBD oil manufactured goods have become increasingly popular over the past few years. They can be drawn either from cannabis or industrial hemp plants. Sales of CBD oil products have been projected to reach $2.1 billion by 2020.
The availability of CBD oil has also risen in recent years. CBD oils can now be obtained online or in dispensaries, in many cases irrespective of the federal legal position on CBD.
Due to legal limitations on cannabis extracts, many manufacturers of CBD oil choose to extract their oil from hemp. However, CBD oil derived from organic, whole-plant cannabis is generally regarded as having greater health advantages than oils produced from hemp alone.
What is THC?
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive component of cannabis which is surprisingly similar to its non-psychoactive counterpart CBD. THC is what gets you high, and for that reason is somewhat less accepted for medicinal use than CBD.
Still, THC brags its own beneficial uses. THC has properties that have been known to help treat pain, nausea, asthma and even anorexia nervosa. However, as a psychoactive compound, its medicinal uses are still controversial.
What is THC Oil?
As a compound THC oil is a federally illegal drug and therefore studies on THC’s effects and benefits are fairly limited. But the research that has been accomplished has discovered a number of beneficial therapeutic effects from THC.
In high-concentration THC, common adverse side effects include decreased cognitive functions, anxiety, paranoia, dry mouth, red eyes, fatigue and increased appetite. Beneficial effects of taking THC oil include an increase in one’s ability to relax as well as joint and muscle soreness relief.
It’s worth noting that the increased appetite effect is often viewed as a positive one among chemotherapy patients experiencing extreme loss of appetite, as well as individuals suffering from eating disorders.
Health Benefits of CBD vs. THC
The health benefits of CBD have been widely researched. With its non-psychoactive status, CBD has been known to treat health problems, most notably epilepsy.
THC, while it’s not used for quite as many applications as CBD, boasts a few health benefits of its own. In cannabis-oil form, studies have shown that THC can be employed to deal with neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Such studies also showed that THC can alleviate pain and help improve conditions resulting from multiple sclerosis.
The FDA is aware that cannabis is being used to treat a number of medical conditions including, AIDS, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. However, the widespread use of medical cannabis and even CBD products is still a long way away and much research still needs to be conducted.