CBD and THC: what’s the difference? These two are the most common chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are more than 140 unique chemical compounds in cannabis, but CBD and THC are dominant in terms of numbers. But the two are not the same, so it’s essentially what makes one different from the other.
The main distinction between CBD and THC is that CBD is not psychotropic and therefore not intoxicating. Meanwhile, THC IS intoxicating and gives that stoned feeling, a high commonly associated with marijuana. But when consumed in therapeutic amounts, THC doesn’t have an intoxicating effect.
What IS THC?
THC, short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive chemical uniquely found in cannabis plants. It can be ingested by smoking or consuming edibles that contain THC.
These products activate your brain’s cannabinoid receptors, which are part of the endocannabinoid system and affect many areas in your brain and body. This makes the effects of THC wide-ranging.
Using THC recreationally gives a relaxed and euphoric feeling, that heady sense of being high. It can also make you hungry, thus the tendency to have the “munchies” when taking weed.
When it comes to medicinal use, THC has no official health benefits, but unofficially, it can stimulate your appetite, reduce nausea, and ease spasms and neuropathic pain. THC can be considered a safer compound than other drugs such as opiates or nicotine, depending on where you are.
What IS CBD?
Short for cannabidiol, CBD can be found in all cannabis plants, but there are more of them found in hemp. Unlike THC, it’s not generally smoked but usually consumed as a gummy or tincture. It also has no psychoactive effects, unlike THC.
Studies have shown several scientifically recognized uses of CBD – for anti-seizure, anti-anxiety, and antipsychotic purposes. Although the therapeutic effects of CBD are not set in stone, it is claimed to ease certain conditions such as chronic pain and insomnia. It was also shown to be anti-inflammatory, although this is not officially validated.
How THC And CBD Are Related
Cannabis is bred to be either high in THC or high in CBD. The supposed variations in different strains of THC or CBD are explained by the differing amounts of the two found in them. The general idea is that different concentrations of the strains have different effects.
Given that THC and CBD have opposite effects on the brain’s cannabinoid receptors, cannabis that contains more CBD will have a “less high” since CBD essentially blocks some effects of THC.
Key Differences Between THC And CBD
Both affect the endocannabinoid system, which is crucial in maintaining homeostasis. This complex system is associated with sleep, mood, appetite, fertility, and memory processes.
As for the key differences between THC and CBD – the two affect different receptors in the brain. THC is sourced from marijuana and is psychoactive, meaning it brings a user a high feeling. On the other hand, CBD, typically sourced from hemp, is non-psychoactive.
THC and CBD’s structure is similar to the natural endocannabinoids of the body in terms of chemical structure. These neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that bring signals between the body’s nerve cells.
The molecular structure of THC and CBD are the same, but how these molecules are arranged for each is different. These molecules mimic endocannabinoids, making them bind with receptors and lead to different effects in the body.
As for sources, THC is derived from marijuana, while CBD mostly comes from either hemp or marijuana. CBD that comes from marijuana may have more THC, which people who want to avoid THC should keep in mind. Before consuming them, researching CBD products is a must since they may have more THC than their labels suggest.
Potential Benefits of THC And CBD
Research on the potential health benefits of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD may not formally state the therapeutic claims. Still, they suggest that these substances may be helpful for certain conditions, including the following:
- Sleep difficulties
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD)
- Opioid dependence
- Multiple sclerosis
- Movement disorders
- Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
While both substances are used to ease the symptoms of many of the same ailments, CBD is often used for cases of anxiety, depression, migraines, seizures, inflammation, and post-traumatic stress disorder. THC, meanwhile, is often used for poor appetite, insomnia, nausea, pain, tremors, and glaucoma.
Side Effects Of THC And CBD
THC and CBD are generally safe and contain only a few side effects. Some may experience adverse effects such as nausea and dizziness, change in mood and appetite, drowsiness, feelings of anxiety and other mood changes. Using THC can bring forth cases of dry mouth, increased heart rate, and memory loss.
Which Should You Take, THC Or CBD?
There are different ways to consume THC and CBD – THC is usually consumed by smoking marijuana. However, you can also take it via cannabis products such as vapes, oils, sprays, tinctures, edibles, and beverages.
The same is true for CBD. It can be smoked via vape. CBD is also a popular ingredient in salves and lotions for skin care. Remember that CBD oil’s effects are localized since the product is applied topically.
But which one should you take? This will depend on the effect you’re after. THC may be the better option if you want to ease poor appetite or tremors symptoms, while CBD is better if you want to sleep better or reduce stress.
There are cases, too, where THC and CBD are taken together simultaneously to produce the entourage effect. This is done supposedly because the two effects are greater when taken together.
For instance, taking THC and CBD simultaneously can help lessen the adverse effects of THC, specifically the compound’s psychoactive properties. CBD can help mitigate anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis, which are experienced by some people who have high THC levels due to cannabis use.
Common Questions About THC And CBD
Does CBD Make You Hungry?
No, it doesn’t. You’ve probably heard of people getting the “munchies” after smoking marijuana. THC is responsible for that since it boosts the appetite and dopamine levels. But CBD doesn’t have the same effect.
How Long Does CBD Stay In The System?
It can be one to three days after consumption, but some users can still retain the CBD in their system up to 15 days after their last use. How long it stays in your body will depend on several factors. The physical factor is one, particularly your age and weight.
The way you consume it is another factor, whether you smoked it or ate it. How recent your consumption was and how often also factor in how long CBD will stay in your body. The effects of the CBD may only last a few hours, but traces of the substance may be seen in your drug test more than two weeks after your last consumption.
Will CBD Make You Tired?
It won’t make you tired per se, but it’s known to help you sleep better at night. CBD is popular among those who want to sleep longer, treat insomnia, and regulate stress levels. How much CBD an individual needs to help with sleep quality will depend from person to person.
Does THC Show Up On Blood Work Or Drug Tests?
Drug tests, including cannabis testing, are done through urine samples. THC will appear in urine samples with at least 95% certainty. When it comes to CBD, if you’re taking full-spectrum CBD, the trace amounts of THC on it can show up in your drug test. To avoid failing a drug test, go for a broad spectrum of CBD isolate rather than a full spectrum variety.
Should You Take Pure or Full Spectrum CBD or Broad Spectrum CBD?
Pure CBD or Full Spectrum CBD contains 99% pure CBD with absolutely no traces of THC. Everything else in the plant matter – additional cannabinoids, terpenes, oils, and waxes – are removed during the extraction process.
Broad-spectrum CBD retains these but removes all traces of THC. This variety of CBD is used more by organic products that want to maximize the natural features of the hemp plant.
Both have their own merits, and the best option will depend on what you need. Many people go for pure CBD, but those who prefer more natural compounds of CBD will choose a broad-spectrum kind. It’s part of the knowledge of how to buy good-quality weed or cannabis products.
Will THC Help With Chronic Pain?
There’s more scientific work to be done on the subject of THC and CBD and their medicinal benefits, but at the moment, THC has become popular among users who want relief from pain and nausea. If THC and CBD are legal in your area, there’s no reason not to try and see if it works for you.
Why Does CBD Oil Change Color?
If you notice your CBD oil changing colors or looking a little hazy, it’s nothing to worry about. CBD oils turning brown or pink is not unusual, and generally, it’s still safe to consume.
The color change is usually caused by exposure to light and heat. There’s an ingredient called polyphenol oxidase present in high-quality CBD oil, and it can turn into a rosy shade of pink when exposed to sunlight.
CBD oils that turn hazy are usually stored in the refrigerator. It should return to its clear appearance when it warms up to room temperature again.
Can You Use CBD With Medication?
It’s always recommended to speak to your doctor first if you think about taking CBD while you’re on some form of medication. Your doctor will advise you on safety and side effects, especially on how CBD interacts with your body, especially about inhibiting the enzyme P450.
This requires you to be careful with your dosages since there are medications that won’t be able to metabolize as fast as before. If you want to get a more straightforward take on the idea, think about the effect of grapefruit on your enzymes. Your doctor may advise against eating grapefruit while you’re on certain medications.
How Long Does It Take For Edibles To Work?
Taking edibles might require getting used to them if you’re accustomed to taking CBD oils. Edibles usually take effect from 30 minutes to 2 hours after consumption. You also have to consider external factors such as height, weight, activity levels, metabolism levels, and the food you eat during the day to understand how fast the edibles will work.
What’s comforting to know is that there’s no such thing as overdosing on CBD, although over-consumption does have its side effects. You should always wait after consuming a certain amount of CBD – the effects may take a while to kick in, and you avoid taking more than you should.
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