What’s the Difference Between CBD & THC?
As more states and municipalities around the United States decide to legalize – or at the very least decriminalize – cannabis products, more and more people are being exposed to different cannabis options than just marijuana.
Sure, there are plenty of people jumping for joy that they can get their hands on medicinal grade marijuana for next to nothing now (100% legally, too) – but there are a lot of people not all that interested in getting high but instead eagerly excited about the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis simply for CBD solutions.
If you have heard about CBD products but aren’t quite sure of what they bring to the table, or are interested in learning at least a little bit more about what CBD might bring to the equation for folks struggling with anxiety, pain, and more, you’ve come to the right place.
Below we dive a little bit deeper into the CBD vs THC equation and shine a light that these two pillars of the cannabis industry.
What Exactly Is the Difference between CBD vs THC?
When you’re talking about cannabis products there are two very specific natural compounds found in these plants that handle the “heavy lifting” as far as the different benefits cannabis brings to the table are concerned.
On the one hand, you have THC – tetrahydrocannabinol – the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana, and the chemical compound that causes you to feel high when you smoke or ingest it.
On the other hand, however, you have CBD – cannabidiol – the chemical compound mostly found in extractions pulled from hemp plants. You aren’t going to be able to get high off of CBD as it includes no psychoactive compounds whatsoever, but you are going to be able to take advantage of this 100% all-natural solution for a myriad of beneficial health impacts.
CBD vs THC – Breaking Down Their Chemical Structure
While CBD and THC are going to produce wildly different results when ingested they both share identical molecular structures comprised of 21 atoms of carbon, 30 atoms of hydrogen, and 2 atoms of oxygen.
The only difference between these two compounds (from a molecular standpoint, anyway) is how these atoms are arranged to create decomposition of CBD or THC.
Both of these biochemicals are going to interact directly with the endocannabinoids that all of us have naturally in our body. Our body takes advantage of these natural elements to interact with cannabinoid receptors already present in the body, triggering a chemical cascade of reactions throughout the neurotransmitters in our brain that handle the heavy lifting for how CBD or THC makes us feel.
CBD vs THC – Looking to Get High or to Feel Better?
When you really dig down into the major differences between CBD vs THC the entire argument between these two chemical compounds is distilled between what you’re looking to get out of these cannabis products.
If you’re looking to get high from cannabis products, you want something that happens high levels of THC. This is a psychoactive all-natural chemical compound that interfaces and binds directly with cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors throughout our brain’s neural network. The brain tells our body to release endorphins in sky high amounts, and that’s what helps us feel so great when we are leaning on THC.
CBD, on the other hand, has almost no ability whatsoever to bind to that same cannabinoid receptor. Some researchers believe that CBD actually interferes with the binding capabilities of THC to that specific cannabinoid receptor, lessening the overall euphoric impact and psychoactive effects of THC products – which is why most recreational marijuana includes as little CBD as humanly possible (and vice versa).
On the flip side of things, CBD and THC can both be used as an all-natural medicinal solution – though CBD is widely recognized as a much more effective all-natural medicine than THC (particularly alone).
CBD has been recognized by the medical community almost universally to:
Help mitigate seizures
Effectively treat psychosis and some mental disorders
Help to mitigate feelings of nausea and migraines
Help to mitigate feelings of anxiety and depression
… And that just begins to scratch the surface of the iceberg.
In June 2018, US FDA recognized just how powerfully effective CBD can be as a pain management solution when it approved the first-ever prescription medication to include CBD. This medication has been designed to help those with a particularly rare and otherwise difficult to control form of epilepsy – but companies all over the pharmaceutical industry are looking to take advantage of CBD now that the FDA has given it the green light.
At the end of the day, there’s really no such argument as CBD vs THC – if only because these two cannabis compounds are used to do two wildly different things.
THC is always going to be seen as the party side of cannabis while CBD is going to be seen as the more responsible and medically inclined side of the same plant. For now, CBD is having a lot easier time breaking legal barriers and cultural norms because of the significant health benefits that it brings to the table.