As more information becomes accessible in regards to CBD and legalization of Hemp many still pause with confusion. We all know and have heard of THC but what is the difference between CBD and THC?
There has been much reform and discussions in regards to cannabis on what to change and legalize as far as public policy is concerned. There is certainly discussion involved around legalization of recreational drug use (that is another topic that is not being discussed here). However, much of the larger context of discussion is involved around legalization for medicinal use.
Chances are that you have heard so much information and you often try to differentiate fact from fiction. Also, you may be finding yourself trying to align yourself with getting correct information for the medicinal reforms VS the recreational forms (again the medicinal forms is when forms of the cannabis plant are used to treat a medical condition, illness or symptom VS recreational forms which the sole purpose is to get high). No judgment for those who may be involved in the recreational reform discussion. I am writing this post to help those get information on the medicinal side.
Where Does THC & CBD Originate
What we will cover here is fully explain the differences between THC and CBD. Both compounds come from the cannabis sativa plant. These compounds are known as cannabinoids and are part of the many that are contained within the plants. Bare in mind too that there are two varieties of the cannabis sativa plant that you will most often see associated with both THC and CBD. They include Hemp (the variety utilized primarily as an industrial resource) & Marijuana (used for recreational and medicinal purposes).
Hemp & Marijuana
Its important to understand the difference as unfortunately it be easy to confuse the two and assume they are the same. They may look the same but there are differences in the chemical make up and also in their respective uses.
Marijuana is part of the cannabis sativa family that you most likely associate with recreational drug use. There are is also a great deal of medicinal qualities contained within the plant but it can also be cultivated and raised to increase its intoxicating effects. The intoxicating compound (cannabinoid) that causes this psychoactive effect is the chemical compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) but it also contains many other compounds one of which is CBD (Cannabidiol).
Hemp is also a plant within the cannabis sativa family. However, its uses are more industrial and does not have a use as a recreational drug. In my previous posting about Hemp I go into more detail on how the Farm Bill has open the door for Hemp to become a cash crop for farmers. Hemp can be used for rope, clothes, food (I have shelled hemp seeds in my pantry currently) and even CBD production.
Hemp contains a variety of compounds (cannabinoids) like marijuana but very low THC. So it contains both CBD and very low THC. That fact that it is such low levels of THC is why its use is strictly industrial and lacks the level of THC to cause intoxication.
What Is THC
THC (tetrahydracannabinol) is one of the numerous compounds found in the cannabis sativa plants. This is the psychoactive compound which causes the intoxicating high. THC has been shown to also have medicinal qualities, but yet may have long term side effects. If abused there can be potential severe cognitive,psychotomimetic and other substance abuse related side effects.
A list of long term side effects include:
- Addiction To Marijuana and other substances
- Abnormal Brain Development
- Depression and Anxiety
- Diminished Lifetime Achievement
- Symptoms of Long Term Bronchitis
To be fair the research was listing a lot of the side effects for long term heavy use (recreational use). You can view the whole published review to more details.
Plants are often cultivated and bred to either increase or decrease the level of THC depending on it use. It would be fair to say that more modern cultivated cannabis used for recreational use is much different now then it was 50 years ago or 1000 years ago.
What is CBD
CBD Oil (Cannabidiol) is the non-psychoactive (does not make you high) compound from the cannabis plant. It does not intoxicate you and has been shown to be non-habit forming with numerous health benefits. Through the recent years researchers were able to get a better understanding on how beneficial CBD Oil would be once they were able to identify and understand the endocannabinoid system.
The strong medicinal qualities of CBD Oil have shown ability to treat severe epilepsy, pain, anxiety, PTSD and assist in sleep. What is even more promising is the safety profile of CBD VS THC. CBD has shown to be very safe in research with very limited side effects if even reported. Even with high dosing researchers documented its safety of use. Interesting enough CBD was shown to actually mitigate the psychotomimetic effects of THC. So basically CBD can limit the intoxicating effects of THC.
The Main Difference Between THC and CBD
THC is the intoxicating compound, whereas CBD is not. That’s the real simple answer. As we try to remove any taboos that associate industrial uses of the cannabis plant VS recreational drug use its important understand the differences.
Its still too common where old restrictive laws have held back legitimate uses of the plants which have been used by civilizations for thousands of years. Laws were levied perhaps in good faith to combat abuse but in turn have damaged legitimate industrial and medicinal uses. Also, we have been conditioned to hear terms for the more industrial plant (Hemp) and incorrectly associate it with marijuana that has been primarily used for recreational use.
Since the passing of the Farm Bill Hemp is beginning to make a comeback as a important crop. People are beginning to become more educated in its usefulness. As more people look for more natural treatments options they hear about CBD Oil. With the passage of laws on the federal level (and now at many state level legislatures) CBD is being allowed to be used for its true beneficial medicinal purpose. It is NOT THC and it will NOT MAKE YOU HIGH.
In fact now that many farmers in the United States may be allowed to grow industrial hemp legally (there are restrictions) consumers can have better confidence in the product quality. Hemp will not have to be imported from a country that may have lax standards. Now our family farmers can produce a high quality commodity that can service industrial, medicinal and food needs. Be sure to read my posting about Hemp to learn more.
THC and CBD are two cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are numerous others but these are the primary ones that are being discussed for their medicinal qualities. Though both do have medicinal capabilities its important to note that THC is the compound that can cause you to become high NOT CBD. CBD will not cause intoxication and its not habit forming. Purchasing or using CBD will not cause an intoxicating effect. If you believe that purchasing CBD may be a legal means to get a high you will be disappointed.
If you are seeking a more natural safe treatment option for conditions such as epilepsy,pain, anxiety etc then CBD could be a viable option for you. Don’t let the association with the cannabis plant confuse you or cause you to believe that its part of the mind altering THC. You may find yourself missing out on something that may be really helpful.