Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are cannabinoids naturally occurring in the cannabis plant. There are hundreds of cannabinoids, but you’ve probably heard of CBD and THC. Whether you are seeking the ‘high’ or relaxation, learning the difference between these compounds is essential.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are any compounds that interact with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body to produce specific physiological effects. People use synthetic, recreational, and medicinal cannabinoids.
Research shows that the cannabis plant produces between 80 to 100 cannabinoids, with CBD and THC being the most popular. THC is responsible for psychoactive effects, which means it makes a person ‘high’. CBD is non-psychoactive, which is why it’s found in supplements and sold for consumption.
The human body also produces endocannabinoids that impact mood, sleep, and appetite, among other functions. External cannabinoids such as CBD and THC, interact with different receptors in the body and alter how the cells communicate.
CBD vs THC- Getting High
THC affects the parts of your body that make you ‘high,’ while CBD interacts with other components. The human body has CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are part of the more extensive endocannabinoid system. The central nervous system is where CB1 receptors are present, while CB2 receptors are more present in the peripheral nervous system.
Whatever affects your CB1 receptors is likely to get you high because it interacts with your brain and the spinal cord. THC has an affinity to bind to your CB1 receptors. For this reason, it will give you a euphoric ‘high’ without shutting down your system. Whatever affects your CB2 receptors will affect the rest of your body.
However, this does not mean that the reactions are exclusive to the receptors. THC can still bind to CB2 receptors, and CBD can bind to CB1 receptors. However, the two cannabinoids are more likely to interact with the receptors in reverse. Usually, most CBD products are derived from the hemp plant to prevent THC contamination. If a CBD product contains THC content higher than 0.3%, it is illegal.
CBD vs. THC- What Are The Effects?
THC gives an ecstatic “high” feeling. Some other effects of THC include relaxation, altered senses of smell, sight and hearing, hunger, fatigue, and reduced aggression. Unfortunately, the euphoric high associated with THC is not common to all. Some people experience anxiety, panic, distrust, and in some cases, acute psychosis. The latter are often effects of consuming too much marijuana, or when marijuana has an unexpectedly high potency. If the user is inexperienced, they are also likely to experience adverse effects.
Smoking marijuana rapidly delivers it throughout the body. The effects are almost instant. However, when consumed through foods or drinks, the results can take up to 30 minutes to 1 hour to kick in. Since the results are not instantaneous during ingestion, it is easy for a user to consume too much THC.
CBD has no drug abuse or dependency potential like THC. It has no health-related problems either. Some of the side effects of consuming CBD include irritability, nausea, fatigue, and blood thinning. CBD comes in the form of pills, oils, edibles, and creams.
What Is The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?
Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants. The difference lies in the THC concentration. Industrial hemp is cultivated to be low in THC concentration and abundant in CBD. To be classified as hemp, the plant should have THC concentration no more than 0.3%. The hemp plant has sturdy fibers that are used to make paper, textiles, rope, and in some cases, concrete. Hemp is also useful in the manufacture of biodiesel fuel, animal feed and is a source of vegan protein. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp at the federal level.
Marijuana, on the other hand, contains between 0.3% to 30% THC. It is cultivated to increase flower growth and THC concentration. Since the size of the plant is not the primary goal, most marijuana plants are grown indoors under controlled light and soil conditions. Marijuana is still listed under the Controlled Substance Act and is still illegal federally.
CBD vs THC Legality
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, better known as the Farm Bill, legalized CBD that has been derived from the hemp plant and has no more than 0.3% THC. Under the law, CBD extracted from the hemp plant is legal, but CBD from the marijuana plant is illegal. Even if the CBD from a marijuana plant contains 0% THC, it is still illegal. The FDA still considers CBD to be a drug ingredient, which means it cannot be sold or marketed as a dietary supplement without prior approval.
However, farmers across the U.S. can now grow the hemp plant stress-free.
Marijuana is illegal at the federal level. However, the decriminalization of pot has reduced penalties. Eleven states have legalized recreational marijuana, and thirty-three states have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize marijuana in 2012. Alaska, California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Vermont also permit recreational marijuana. Other areas include the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The commercial distribution of marijuana in these states is legal, except in Vermont and the District of Columbia.
To obtain medical marijuana, you should present a certified state medical marijuana card or a prescription from a doctor. However, for recreational pot, you only need to produce your ID and prove that you are above 21. Recreational marijuana shops operate just like dispensaries. All you need to do is tell the budtender what you are looking for and wait for service.
Depending on where you live, obtaining CBD or THC can be swift or tasking. Check the regulations in your area and find the best products to meet your needs.