With medical marijuana now legal in 33 states and CBD legal in the remaining 17 states, more people are warming up to marijuana. To the beginner, marijuana, even as a treatment, maybe challenging and intimidating.
Two terms that you’ll hear being thrown around in any conversation discussing marijuana is THC and CBD. Both acronyms represent active compounds found in the cannabis plant called cannabinoids; however, each has different psychological effects on the body.
So, when it comes to CBD vs THC, which of the two compounds is best?
In this post, we’ll be highlighting the differences between these two compounds. We’ll do so by highlighting various aspects of the compounds and how they differ in that specific aspect. That way, you can know which one of them is right for your particular situation.
The Chemical Structure of CBD and THC
As mentioned earlier, both THC and CBD belong to a class of naturally occurring compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids occur naturally in the cannabis Sativa plant. Out of 480 compounds in the plant, only two of them are cannabinoids.
In terms of molecular structure, both compounds have the same structure. They have the same number of atoms of each element but only differ in the arrangement of these atoms. It’s this different arrangement that confers the disparity of physiological effects both compounds have on the body.
Both compounds interact with your body’s cannabinoid receptors because they are similar to the endocannabinoids found in the body. This interaction triggers the release of neurotransmitters in your body, which engender these chemical and physiological changes.
Another common term thrown around in CBD discussions is terpenes. But what are terpenes in CBD? Open the link for the answers.
The Legal Proxy of CBD and THC
As earlier mentioned, CBD has the green light from the federal government and is legal for the most part. Unfortunately, you can’t say the same about THC. In most states, you can buy CBD products just as long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC.
However, in 33 states, CBD with high levels of THC is perfectly legal. The condition is that the CBD or THC is for medicinal use.
Very few states permit the use of THC for recreational use. That’s because, under federal law, both CBD and THC are technically Schedule I drugs.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 removed hemp from the controlled substances act. However, the DEA and FDA both still consider CBD as a schedule I drug.
The legality of CBD and THC in the country is still murky. So, before you jump on the CBD or THC bandwagon, make a point of checking with the state laws.
The Psychoactive or “High” Factor
Unfortunately, or fortunately, Cannabis is better known for its psychoactive effects on the body rather than its medicinal benefits. Although both are active compounds, only THC can induce psychoactive effects on the body.
You can ingest a liter of CBD oil, but you won’t feel the slightest hint of euphoria. Unlike THC, CBD has more therapeutic and medicinal effects. That’s why medics sometimes prescribe CBD as a treatment for seizures, anxiety, and depression.
The body has two types of endocannabinoid receptors; CB1 and CB2 receptors. THC attaches firmly to the CB1 receptors, which facilitate the psychoactive and euphoric effects on the body. CBD, on the other hand, attaches loosely to the CB1 receptors, hence there are no psychoactive effects.
CBD, THC, and Medicine
Surprisingly both THC and CBD have medicinal benefits, but THC is not too desirable with medicine due to its psychoactive effects. Both compounds provide a considerable amount of relief from certain ailments.
Medical professionals prescribe CBD for the following conditions:
- Intermittent Seizures for Epileptics
- Chronic pain
- A host of mental disorders
THC, on the other hand, is great for:
- Lack of appetite and anorexia
- Sporadic muscle spasms
Your doctor will help you determine whether you should opt for CBD or THC. Both may work for your conditions, but the doctor will pick the best suited for your situation. In most cases, you’ll end up with a CBD prescription because the psychoactive effects of THC are undesirable for most people.
Which Compound Will Show up in Drug Tests?
After ingesting CBD or THC, your body stores the compounds in your fat cells. That means that THC or CBD can show up in drug tests even several weeks after you consumed the substance.
In most cases, the drug test that you will take will test for THC-related substances. However, that doesn’t mean that there are no tests for CBD. There are some tests for CBD, but they aren’t as common as THC tests.
Some people have reported testing for THC even though they only used CBD products. Remember, most CBD products have a little THC, below 0.3% concentration. That’s why you may test positive for THC even if you haven’t taken any.
The Side Effects of CBD vs THC
Both THC and CBD are safe substances, but they aren’t without their side effects. The body is well-tolerant to CBD even in large quantities. You can’t say the same about THC, however.
The side effects of CBD include diarrhea, change in appetite, and weight loss. Some CBD users have also reported fatigue and a bit of dizziness.
THC has more temporary side effects, which include coordination problems, increased heart rates, and slower reactions. Other side effects include extreme thirst and dry mouth, red eyes, and transient memory loss.
Note that using both compounds is non-fatal. However, prolonged use of THC may induce negative psychiatric side effects. Also note that in most states, cannabis use for recreational purposes is against the law.
Pick What Works for You
Hopefully, you now have a firm understanding of the difference between CBD vs THC. All you have to do now is find a CBD or THC product that works best for you. There are tons of CBD shops across the country that may have what you need.
To read more topics like this, check out our other posts under the lifestyle category.