People often ask about the main differences between CBD and THC. However, instead of starting with how the two vary, let’s look at their similarities.
For one, both compounds come from Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis, the world’s most recognizable seven-leaflet plants. Both also interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors that bridge the gap between the body and mind1.
People use CBD and THC to treat various symptoms, but how they affect you can differ dramatically. Let’s look at the two compounds a little more closely.
How Do CBD and THC Differ?
While CBD and THC have some similarities, they have plenty more differences. To help you see the whole picture, let’s break them down into several categories.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a brain-stimulating chemical that can induce rest and recovery. Chemically, CBD and THC — or Tetrahydrocannabinol — are very similar, composed of two oxygen atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and 21 carbon atoms. The difference between the two is how these atoms are arranged, leading to varied effects on the body.
Common Side Effects
THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana — it’s what gives you the feeling of being “high.” Most people find this effect to be enjoyable in moderation, though excessive use can lead to feelings of anxiety or paranoia.
Some other side effects of THC use include:
• Dry mouth
• Red eyes
• Impaired memory
CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. Instead, the compound offers the benefits of THC without any of the potential drawbacks.
Some side effects of CBD use include:
• Dry mouth
• Shifts in mood
• Changes in appetite
• Changes in weight
Typical Consumer Uses
People often hail CBD as a miracle drug. It’s used to treat a number of ailments and could have a positive effect on your life, too.
One top use for CBD is for pain relief able to help those with chronic health conditions. A study that looked at CBD applied to the skin showed the compound can lessen pain and inflammation caused by arthritis2. It can also ease inflammatory and neuropathic pain, which doctors consider some of the hardest types of distress to treat.
Additionally, researchers are studying CBD’s effect on anxiety and depression, with early results looking promising. The compound can act on the brain’s serotonin receptors, assisting mood and social behavior regulation.
Some patients use CBD to fight cancer-related symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. Others use it to control acne. Many former addicts say it reduces their dependence on harmful substances.
Researchers haven’t studied THC as much as CBD, and many people who use it do so for the psychoactive effects. People claim it can help them relax, ease muscle spasms, reduce nausea and vomiting — another common aid for cancer patients — and assist with epilepsy.
Scientists are currently looking into how THC can treat certain conditions, such as:
• Crohn’s Disease
State and Federal Legality
The legality of CBD can be challenging to understand. All 50 states have laws legalizing the compound, though they depend on whether the CBD derives from hemp or marijuana plants. CBD products, such as oils and edibles, must contain less than 0.03% THC — though some states require 0%. You can purchase most CBD items online, and you can even carry certain products on airplanes.
THC, on the other hand, is legal recreationally in 11 states — including Alaska, Colorado, Maine and Vermont — and medically in 333. If you live in an area where recreational marijuana is illegal, you’ll need to visit a licensed doctor and obtain a medical marijuana card to use the substance.
CBD and THC – Your Complete Guide
Hopefully all of your questions about the differences between CBD and THC are answered. Keep in mind that the laws surrounding the two are constantly changing, so it’s wise to stay abreast of current news. Research is always forthcoming, too, and you’ll surely see exciting advancements in how people can use both compounds in the future.