CBD vs. THC is an exciting topic to cover, especially in today’s modern age, as cannabis is rapidly becoming legal in many states. This makes people more open to the benefits of using cannabis products that contain CBD and THC but also about its potential side effects. Here we will talk about what each of these components is, what they can do for you, and how to choose which one is best according to your needs.
What Is CBD?
To settle the CBD vs. THC, we first have to define these two. First of all, CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical that can be taken from the hemp part of the cannabis plant. CBD is typically more widely accepted since it does not make people high and can therefore be sold over the counter as a natural remedy for things like pain, acne, and sometimes even anxiety. There are other health benefits of CBD as well.
CBD usually comes in salves, creams, gummies, supplements, oils, extracts, and many others. It is mainly used as a natural beauty remedy to obtain perfect skin, although athletes can also treat different kinds of pain and regular people to help them sleep.
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What Is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) is the chemical in the hemp plant that is most widely regulated since it’s the part of the plant that can make you high. According to an article written by Kimberly Holland, “THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high sensation. It can be consumed by smoking cannabis.”
However, THC can be consumed for other reasons and in different ways, such as edibles like granola bars or brownies, oils, creams, capsules, and many more! They’re used to treat similar problems like anxiety and to help with sleep.
Please keep reading to learn more about these two because while they may seem pretty similar, they can be quite different.
CBD vs. THC Key Differences
If we want to settle the argument of CBD vs. THC truly, we have to look at their differences. They may appear almost the same, but there are a lot of things that set them apart. Now we’re going to look at these different aspects, starting with:
Chemically speaking, both CBD and THC are virtually the same since they have the same molecular structure, the same combination of carbon atoms, oxygen atoms, and hydrogen atoms. However, how these atoms are arranged is what creates the different effects in your body.
Both CBD and THC are highly similar to the endocannabinoids that our body naturally produces. Endocannabinoids are tiny parts of a much larger system that extends throughout our bodies called the endocannabinoid system. This system comprises billions of microscopic receptors that receive many signals from other parts of your body, such as itchiness and pain.
Because THC and CBD are so structurally similar to our endocannabinoids, they can interact with them quickly and mute some of those pain signals or dim them. This makes them so appealing to the general public since they can mute these signals much like opioids drugs but are much less dependable and therefore safer.
This is an important area in the CBD vs. THC debate since this one of the key points where the two differ. While THC and CBD can seem very similar on paper because of their almost identical molecular structure and how they interact with our brain receptors, they come from different sources.
On the one hand, THC comes from the marihuana plant and has, according to an article on marihuana experts First Crop, a “60-90 days growth cycle,” while CBD comes from the hemp and has a “108-120 days growth cycle).
However, since they come from similar plants and are often processed in the same factories, some CBD products can contain traces of THC, which can be impractical for people who want to avoid it. This is why CBD products tend to label what percentage of THC there is in their products, if at all.
Ah, yes, the part that people want to know from the main benefits of CBD vs. THC, which one makes you high?
Well, that question has a pretty straightforward answer: THC. Although both components are structurally similar, they can affect your body in very different ways because of how those atoms are arranged.
According to the article mentioned previously, “THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain. It produces a high or sense of euphoria. CBD binds very weakly, if at all, to CB1 receptors. CBD needs THC to bind to the CB1 receptor and, in turn, can help reduce some of the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC, such as euphoria or sedation.”
This is why CBD isn’t as strictly regulated as THC since although it can have positive effects like reducing anxiety and helping with sleep, it cannot make you high. This is also why THC is much more stigmatized since it can cause that effect and is illegal in many places.
This is probably the reason why you started reading in the first place. If you want to choose what to buy and think CBD vs. THC, the first thing you do is try to decide which one is either more beneficial or provides the benefits you want.
Here we’ve compiled a list of benefits so you can compare them:
CBD can help with:
- Lack of sleep
It can also be used to relieve symptoms of:
THC, on the other hand, can help with:
- Low appetite
- Muscle spasticity
It can also be used to relieve symptoms of:
- Severe headaches
- Nausea caused by cancer treatment\
So, as you can see, while there is some overlap, both components can help with various ailments.
Aroma and Appearance
There is also an aesthetic side to the CBD vs. THC debate. Medical benefits are essential, but which one smells best? Which one will look nicer on your vanity or disappear into your skin?
Well, to answer this question, we have to go back to the source of both components. Because CBD also comes from the marihuana plant, it can smell a bit like THC or’ weed,’ at least to people who are not well versed on the subject. However, they do still have different effects and are used for other things.
As for appearance, CBD tends to be more discreet since it comes in salves and creams that look like regular beauty products. On the other hand, THC tends to have the marihuana leaf everywhere, which can raise some red flags for people. This is why CBD is better for people who want to get the benefits but still be a little low-key about it.
We’ve come to the CBD vs. THC issue; what are the side effects? Well, the good news is that the side effects of either drug aren’t too terrible. For THC, these effects may include:
- Memory loss
- Coordination problems
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Slower reaction times
And for CBD, these can include:
- Appetitive changes
- Weight loss
The main difference is that CBD tends to very rarely denote side effects, while THC more commonly creates these adverse effects. But don’t let them scare you! Neither of these compounds has been shown to develop long-term severe harm. If you have any doubts, make sure to ask your doctor about both compounds before taking them so you can weigh your options.
This one is important for people whose job requires them to submit to a drug test every month. According to an article from the Very well mind, “Because THC is the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana, it can be detected on most standard drug tests. CBD may be detectable as well, but many drug tests are not designed to look for cannabidiol. ”
So, does that mean you can try that weird CBD oil your aunt gave you for Christmas a couple of days before your drug test? Well, not so fast. It turns out that because CBD and THC products tend to be manufactured in the same places, CBD products may contain traces of THC, sometimes up to 0.3%. This tends to be highly irregulated, so labels aren’t always reliable.
According to the same article, “Research has found, for example, that as many as 70% of CBD products are mislabeled and contain significantly more THC than labels suggest.8 Because of the lack of regulation of these products, it is difficult to know exactly how much THC you are getting.”
This is why maybe you should wait until after your drug test to try that strange oil or eat those gummies your friend got at a festival.
When it comes to the legal case of THC vs. CBD, THC tends to be much more regulated since the WHO used to consider it a dangerous drug. However, THC has become much more destigmatized in recent years and has therefore become legal in several states.
According to an article from Healthline, “Hemp has been removed from the Controlled Substances Act, but the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still classify CBD as a Schedule I drug.”
So, what does this mean? Well, it’s different in every state. Some states like California are very loose when it comes to regulation of CBD and THC; others like Alabama are much stricter and ban both of them altogether.
However, CBD tends to be much safer legally since it’s not considered a heavy psychoactive drug. On the other hand, THC has more stigma around it, which is why it is illegal in some states.
In any case, it’s always a good idea to check your state’s laws to see if the products you’re buying are legal or not, mainly so you can avoid another huge bill plus legal trouble. After all, crime doesn’t pay!
Both CBD and THC can be beneficial to people with:
- Movement disorders
- Difficulty sleeping
- Chronic pain
- Opioid Dependence
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Opioid dependence
And quite a few more! There are several conditions that both substances can help with.
Both CBD and THC have been found to help with both serious issues like symptoms of cancer treatment and more everyday concerns like skin health and appearance, chronic pain, and general anxiety.
Whichever one is best for you depends on what you’re trying to improve. If you want a good cream for acne, go with CBD; if you’ve had insomnia for a while, then THC gummies may help!
As previously mentioned, both components have their own set of side effects. According to an article on First Crop, “CBD rarely exhibits any noticeable side effects, even when taken in huge doses. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said in its Research that, ‘CBD was tolerated in all patients, with no signs of toxicity or serious side effects.'”
So, if the side effects make you nervous, you should probably go with CBD since it is much milder and rarely causes issues.
If you’re more of a risk-taker, you may consider taking THC! According to the same article, “THC, on the other hand, does have a few well-known side effects such as increased heart rate, coordination problems, dry mouth, red eyes, slower reaction time, and memory loss. These side effects are associated with the compound’s psychoactive properties.”
Overall, CBD is a much better choice for people who want a drug that is a little more accessible, while THC is better suited for people who have more serious concerns.
Why Do People Talk About THC Content In CBD Oil?
If you’ve been researching the THC vs. CBD issue, you may have come across this concern.
The gist of it is that because both THC and CBD tend to be manufactured in the same place and come from the marihuana plant, CBD oils and other products may contain traces of THC, which can have consequences for the person taking them, such as make them show up on drug tests.
For a CBD product to be legal in the United States at a Federal level, it must contain lower than 0.3% THC. Still, it’s best to check the label and the brand’s previous history of disclosing their ingredients to make sure you know what you’re getting.
The Bottom Line
We’ve been talking about the great debate of THC vs. CBD for quite some times, so here are some of the main takeaways:
Consider taking CBD if you:
- Have common problems like skin acne or difficulty sleeping
- I prefer a drug that has fewer potential side effects
- Want a more discreet product
- Live in a place with strict drug laws
On the other hand, consider taking THC if you:
- Have a more serious condition and are looking for other ways to deal with it
- Aren’t too concerned about potential side effects
- Don’t mind it being a little obvious
- Live in a place with lax drug laws
To conclude the great CBD vs. THC debate, always research the products you buy, check the label, and ask your doctor if you have any doubts or concerns!