CBD and THC might seem to be quite similar at first glance. They are both cannabinoids and both compounds found in the cannabis plant. And although they have similarities, they also have quite a few major differences.
CBD or cannabidiol to give you the full name, is believed to have many different medical properties and while scientists have known about CBD for a long time it is only now deeper research into many of its beneficial properties is being carried out.
THC is similar in some respects: it does have some of the same beneficial properties as CBD. However, it’s unlikely going to be something many people will want to take because it has psychoactive properties.
THC is short for Tetrahydrocannabinol and it is the principal psychoactive compound of cannabis. To simplify THC is what gives people a high when they take/ smoke cannabis.
Because of this many people will want to avoid taking THC because they will fear getting a “high” from it. In fact, THC is actually illegal in many countries although there is some leeway depending on the form and volume of it.
In the United States, THC is illegal under the Controlled Substances Act and deemed as having “no accepted medical use” and for a “lack of accepted safety”. But given that THC and CBD are both derived from the same plant and CBD is believed to have many health benefits is this really justified?
THC is actually believed to have many potential medical properties similar to those believed to be found with CBD. The case for medical marijuana is still one that is ongoing in many countries and THC is an important aspect of it.
The issue is that THC while potent and believed to have medical effects is also psychoactive which means getting the medical benefits from it without getting a “high” is difficult. However, it is this very problem that has led to CBD and other similar compounds like CBG to become popular alternatives.
A Look At CBD
Like I mentioned earlier CBD is one of the many compounds in the cannabis plant, but it is not psychoactive. CBD is derived from hemp plants, a hemp plant is a cannabis plant that has very low levels of THC namely less than 0.3%.
Hemp plants can be thought of has an offshoot of your typical marijuana plant, but they will have much lower levels of THC. CBD is, therefore, safer not to mention a more legal way to get the medical benefits of the cannabis plant.
CBD is believed to have a wide number of benefits and you have likely heard about many of them, but how true are these reports? CBD is said to help in all manner of things from helping with general pain relief, managing anxiety, as an acne treatment and much more.
Some of CBD’s claimed benefits have no scientific evidence to support them whatsoever, like it being a way to cure cancer! CBD does have scientific research backing up some of these claims for example its anti-inflammatory properties are well-known and extensively researched in biomedical science.
However, many of the more extreme claims have very little evidence to support them. In general, much more research needs to be carried out into CBD before we can say how effective it really is. But even with the evidence, we do have we know that CBD does have health benefits.
So, it is understandable why people are using it and because of how it is derived CBD can be taken in many different forms. For example, you can find gummies that contain CBD, sprays, tablets, tinctures, edibles, waxes, crystals and much more.
How Are CBD And THC Different?
So, while CBD and THC are similar in some respects: both are associated with anti-inflammatory and pain-killing effects for example, they also have differences. THC and CBD alike work by affecting the body’s endocannabinoid and different receptor systems, but they do so in very different ways. THC has a very strong affinity to interact with cannabinoids receptors CB1 and CB2. This is what produces the “high” sensation.
CBD on the other hand interacts strongly with different receptors in the brain like serotonin and vanilloid receptors. This doesn’t mean you won’t feel any positive effects when taking CBD, it just means you won’t experience the “high” sensation that is so often associated with cannabis and THC. Therefore, CBD is a lot safer to use.
CBD is also legal to use in many countries because it isn’t psychoactive while THC is. Although some countries do allow THC products it all really depends on where you live. But even if they do to the average person CBD is going to likely be the preferred product.
Another important difference between the two is the side effects. The known side effects of CBD are quite limited. Medical professionals do warn that CBD can cause drowsiness, a dry mouth, and low blood pressure. Pregnant women are also advised to not use CBD oil products.
Although like many other areas more research is really needed into the possible side effects of CBD, however at this point if think it is safe to say it is relatively low risk. However, the same can’t be said about THC. In fact, you could consider the “high” so heavily associated with THC as being one of the biggest side effects.
Because of its psychoactive qualities, THC does have many other potential side effects which include: a dry mouth, increased heart rate, memory loss, slower reaction times, coordination problems and more. So, out of the two CBD is the much safer compounds.
So, to sum up, the main difference between CBD and THC is that the latter has psychoactive properties and is illegal in many countries and states. Most people who take THC (in some form) are looking for a “high” while CBD is a safer alternative that is used mainly for its claimed beneficial properties. CBD is rarely used for recreational purposes, while THC is.