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Is CBD Different From THC?

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You might have seen warnings about taking CBD because of the THC included. But these two are not one and the same.

THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabidiol. Meanwhile, Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a safe and legal way that you can get the health benefits of cannabinoids without the high.

Even though the health benefits of cannabis and the compounds found within the plant are very well documented, there is still a huge stigma around products derived from cannabis and even industrial hemp. At first glance, that apprehension makes sense.

Looking a little deeper, you’ll find that CBD is not a controversial product at all and bears no real similarities to THC. CBD is also completely legal. Even though the legality of CBD has been a gray area in the past, the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill changed everything. Among other things, it legalized extracts, cannabinoids, and derivatives of industrial hemp.

In this article, we’re going to work to dismantle the stigma surrounding CBD and explain how it differs from THC, the illegal constituent of marijuana.

THC: Effects and Legality

THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, and it is the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. This is the chemical that is responsible for the “high” that is associated with using cannabis. It can affect your memory, libido, mood, appetite, coordination, and more. It does have a lot of great medicinal uses, but it is most often associated with the recreational uses instead.

When consumed, THC binds to the cannabinoid receptors that can be found in our brain and central nervous system. These receptors are part of our endocannabinoid system. The type of cannabinoid receptor it binds to and the way that it binds to these receptors and interacts with our bodies is what creates the high that marijuana produces. The way this high impacts people can depend on the plant strain and the person.

Some people may feel very calm and sleepy; others may experience intense anxiety and paranoia. There are a variety of short-term effects of THC use like increased heart rate, red eyes, dry mouth, euphoria, memory impairment, laughter, slowed perception of time, and many more. THC impairs judgment and impairs a person’s ability to drive, focus, and sometimes even just to walk. THC remains federally illegal, though there are some states that have legalized the use of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal purposes.

From a medical point of view, THC has shown promise as a treatment option for multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, nausea, Parkinson’s, glaucoma, and epilepsy. Even though it shows amazing medical promise, the United States is still a long way off from full legalization.

On top of that, there are many people who appreciate the health benefits of THC but do not enjoy the psychoactive properties at all. The answer to some of those problems may lie in CBD.

CBD: Different Source, Different Experience

CBD is one of the many known cannabinoids that are found in cannabis plants. It is the second most prevalent chemical compound, coming in just behind THC. One thing that trips up a lot of people is that they misunderstand cannabis as a whole. The term cannabis actually refers to a genus of plants that are in the Cannabaceae family. Most people’s minds go directly to marijuana when they hear that word.

You may be surprised to know that marijuana isn’t even a type of plant at all. It is a category of cannabis plants that contain more than 0.3% THC by volume. This type of cannabis plant is psychoactive because of the prevalence of THC within it. CBD can be derived from this type of plant, but the yield is usually pretty low. CBD actually comes from hemp, which is another category of the cannabis plant. In order to be classified as industrial hemp, the plants must contain less than 0.3% THC by volume.

While it is true that marijuana and industrial hemp are both cannabis, they’re very distinct from one another. Hemp plants contain little to no THC and also contain an abundance of CBD. Industrial hemp is federally legal now. The Farm Bill of 2018 made it legal to cultivate hemp, transport hemp across state lines, and also legalized hemp derivatives like CBD. The reason that hemp became so widely legal to use is that it is completely separate from marijuana. No psychoactive compounds or illegal substances can be derived from hemp.

That means CBD won’t get you high, though it may still make you feel better for certain ailments. Scientific data and anecdotal accounts can be found all over the web that outlines the health benefits of CBD. It is a completely natural pain reliever that is used for both acute injuries and chronic pain. It can help support muscle recovery after injuries and exercise. It can be used for even more than that, though.

CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it perfect for your skincare routine. It can also help with nausea, anxiety symptoms, depression, PTSD, cancer or chemo, appetite and metabolism, along with insomnia, and more. CBD may promote heart health, improve your mood, and promote neuroregeneration. It provides an immense variety of health benefits, similar to many other cannabinoids.

CBD, however, doesn’t come with the negative effects that come with THC. CBD is not psychoactive in nature, it is not a drug, and it won’t get you high. You will still be able to drive, make good choices, and concentrate. CBD doesn’t cause any nausea, memory impairment, or paranoia. CBD does not have any dangerous side effects associated with its use and it is not addictive.

Picking Sides

The medicinal properties of cannabinoids are something that science is still actively working to discover. There are amazing benefits that come from marijuana, even though these facts are still working their way into the mainstream. Though THC can cause distress, the compound isn’t bad in and of itself. It’s OK to still be on the fence about it. We don’t want you to walk away from this seeing CBD and THC as bad versus good. They’re just not the same.

CBD doesn’t produce any high or side effects, which are common with THC. It is fully legal across the entire United States—to purchase and use. It is not considered a drug, will not show up in drug tests, and cannot get you in any trouble. CBD is not derived from marijuana and contains only trace amounts of THC if any. It is a great way for you to reap the benefits of cannabinoids in your body without being concerned with any mental, physical, or legal repercussions.

CBD is an effective, natural way to help promote your health and well-being that is taking the world by storm. You shouldn’t let any preconceived notions about cannabis discourage you from the range of benefits that using CBD oils can provide.

Dr. Kasey Nichols, N.M.D.

Dr. Kasey Nichols, N.M.D. focuses on sleep disorders and drug-free pain management utilizing both conventional and alternative medicine at his private practice, Onyx Integrative Medicine and Aesthetics, located in Gilbert, AZ. He served as the Director of Medical Operation and Administration at a national substance abuse disorder corporation with 16 facilities across seven states. He graduated from Cleveland University-Kansas City with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Biology, graduating with honors, and holds a Doctorate from The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. He holds licenses in both Arizona and Kansas. Dr. Nichols has given numerous talks to professional organizations, given interviews for newspapers across the United States, and numerous television news interviews with ABC 15/CW 61 in Arizona, Channel 3 in Arizona, and others. Dr. Nichols has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, WebMD, Healthline, and many other health and lifestyle publications.