There is often a great deal of confusion about the difference between THC and CBD – even confusion about whether there is any difference – and it’s easy to understand why. The terms marijuana, hemp and cannabis are often used interchangeably, and it’s not often clear where the extracts are derived from. We hope this guide to the differences between THC and CBD will clear up any questions you might have and help you decide which product is best for you.
WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
The source of these two compounds is possibly one of the main reasons that many people are confused by the difference between THC and CBD, as in general terms they can be found in the same place.
THC and CBD are both what are known as cannabinoids, unique chemical compounds that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. These are the best known and most abundant of the cannabinoids, but there are actually more than 100 of these unique chemicals. Cannabis plants can be found as either marijuana or hemp, and it’s here we see the key difference in the chemical makeup. Hemp plants have a high concentration of CBD and low instances of THC, while the reverse is true for marijuana plants.
EFFECTS ON THE BODY
Many people who are new to the world of CBD are concerned about the effects that using the products will have on them. All of us have seen the effects that marijuana has on those that smoke it, and this is often not desirable for those people who are simply seeking relief from medical issues.
Both THC and CBD have a very similar chemical makeup, but the arrangement of their atoms is quite different. Without getting too scientific, the atoms of the THC molecule form a closed ring while the CBD molecule form an open ring. Why doe this matter? Well it determines the way that these molecules interact with our bodies.
The formation of THC allows it to directly interact with your endocannabinoid system, most significantly the receptors in your brain. These receptors control things like sleep, mood and memory, and it’s why THC creates a high for users and even feelings of euphoria.
CBD, on the other hand, can only indirectly impact the body’s endocannabinoid system. It cannot bind to the receptors – instead it works with the system to restore balance and natural function to the body. The bottom line is that if you purchase a reliable CBD product, you should not be able to “feel” any effects, only experience the benefits.
When it comes to making a choice between THC and CBD, one of the things you will obviously want to consider is the benefits that you are looking for.
THE SIDE EFFECTS
Although there are no serious side effects related to the use of either TCH or CBD, there are some temporary reactions that might occur. It’s also worth noting that there is no danger of a fatal overdose when used correctly.
The thing that many users may find off-putting about the use of THC is that it makes you high. If you are looking for a way to relieve pain so that you can get through your working day, then THC may not be the most suitable option for you. This psychoactive effect may also be more pronounced in teenagers as their brain is still developing.
Other side effects reported by THC users include:
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Problems with concentration
- Memory loss
- Slow reaction times
- Increased heart rate
- Paranoia or increased anxiety
CBD on the other hand is generally known for having fewer and less intense side effects, which it is why it is becoming such a popular alternative to traditional medications.
Reported side effects from CBD use include:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Low blood pressure
In addition, some of these side effects may be considered positives if it relates to your particular concern. For example, the effect of feeling drowsy or tired may be a positive for those suffering from insomnia or other sleep issues. Likewise, low blood pressure is listed a side effect, but is helpful for those needing to treat high blood pressure.
Depending on what part of the world you live in, there may be very different laws regarding the sale of THC and CBD products. It’s important that you check the legality in your particular area before you order anything online.
In many countries, anything that contains high amounts of THC is considered to be a psychotropic substance and is therefore illegal. THC as medical marijuana is technically legal in many US states, but requires a prescription, and is still considered illegal under federal law.
CBD, on the other hand, is generally legal in most countries. This legality, however, depends on the level of THC that it contains – as unless you purchase CBD isolate, there will be some traces of THC in the product. Buying your CBD from a reputable supplier will ensure that it meets the legal requirements in terms of THC content.