Have you been keeping up with the news? If the experts are correct, 2021 will be a serious turning point for the US cannabis industry.
In December 2020, marijuana was decriminalized at a federal level. Now there’s exciting talk in Washington of new bills to legalize marijuana federally. If this pans out, 2021 will forever change the way the world sees cannabis products.
With that said, while everyone is busy talking about the potential medical benefits, there’s still a lot of false information out there. Every article you click on offers differing facts about:
1. THC vs CBD (what they are and which is better)
2. The difference between a CBD high vs a THC high
3. CBD vs THC for cancer treatment
4. hether to use CBD vs THC for pain relief
5. The medical benefits of THC vs CBD
If you’re already overwhelmed with these acronyms, don’t worry. Our goal today is to set the record straight when it comes to THC vs CBD. We want you to be able to make an informed decision about which of these products you can use.
In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. We’ll discuss the legal status, health benefits, and atomic makeup of THC vs CBD.
Are you ready to learn? Let’s get started!
Before We Begin, What Are Cannabinoids?
Before we delve into THC vs CBD, let’s first review the basics of cannabis (the plant where both CBD and THC come from). The cannabis plant exists in three main varieties:
1. Cannabis sativa
2. Cannabis indica
3. Cannabis ruderalis
The “drug” you know as marijuana is made from the harvested, dried flowers of the cannabis plant. On the street, you might also hear it called grass, pot, weed, pot, dope, or reefer.
So then, what are cannabinoids? They’re some of the over 100 healthful compounds found in cannabis. Each of these cannabinoids produces different reactions inside the human body (and therefore has different medicinal uses).
CBD and THC are the most well-known and well-researched of these compounds.
What makes cannabinoids so special? The answer lies in the way they interact with your body’s own endocannabinoid (EC) system. This EC system creates receptors that regulate your immune system, sleep patterns, mood, appetite, and much more.
Many cannabinoids have a direct or indirect effect on these naturally-occurring functions. This is what makes THC vs CBD so interesting, but we’ll get to that discussion a bit later.
Now that you’re equipped with a broad overview of cannabinoids, let’s examine CBD vs THC individually to see what makes each one unique.
What Is THC?
THC is an acronym for tetrahydrocannabinol (and thank goodness, since it’s easier to pronounce). THC is the major psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. This is what creates the “stoned” or “high” feeling usually associated with using marijuana.
On a side note, there’s a common belief that people only use THC for these psychotropic effects. The truth, however, is that most THC products (such as this 3Chi product) have incredible therapeutic and medical potential.
But we’ll get back to the medical benefits of THC vs CBD in just a moment. For now, let’s take a very brief visit to your college chemistry class.
The exact molecular structure of THC is comprised of:
a. 21 carbon atoms
b. 30 hydrogen atoms
c. two oxygen atoms
Don’t worry, chemistry class is over for the day. But make a mental note of these numbers and molecules, because it will make the next section about CBD a lot more interesting!
What Is CBD?
CBD is (thank goodness) another easily pronounced acronym for cannabidiol. This cannabinoid compound is especially abundant in the cannabis sativa variety of cannabis.
In fact, you’ve heard of industrial hemp, right? Hemp is nothing more than cannabis sativa engineered to contain super-high amounts of CBD with tiny trace amounts (under 0.3%) of THC. Industrial hemp is where all those popular new CBD products hitting the shelves are sourced from!
But here’s a fascinating question to ponder: Why would you choose to use CBD but not THC?
It’s a complex question with equally complex answers. To start with, CBD made from industrial hemp is now legal across all 50 states. Meanwhile, THC is still illegal at a federal level.
Legal issues aside, we’ve just touched upon one of the most important aspects of our THC vs CBD discussion. Ready? Here it is: THC will get you high, but CBD will not.
CBD does share many of the same benefits as THC, but without the psychoactive effects. Interestingly, when you use THC and CBD together, CBD actually negates some of the mind-altering effects of THC.
Based on this, you’d probably assume that there’s a huge chemical difference between CBD and THC. But this is where our discussion today starts getting really interesting.
Remember when we said to make a mental note of the atomic structure of THC? Here’s the atomic structure of CBD to compare it with:
1. 21 carbon atoms
2. 30 hydrogen atoms
3. two oxygen atoms
Looks familiar, right? No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. This is exactly the same as the molecular structure of THC!
There’s one key difference, though: the order the molecules are arranged. It’s a single hydrogen atom, to be specific. One of these hydrogen atoms in THC creates a different bond within a CBD molecule.This single microscopic difference means CBD and THC produce very different reactions inside your body. Pretty cool, huh?
THC vs CBD: Their Similarities
Believe it or not, we’re halfway through today’s discussion of THC vs CBD. To recap, let’s briefly summarize the similarities between THC and CBD before we discuss what makes them unique.
1. Both are sourced from the cannabis plant
2. Both are cannabinoids
3. Both contain the same atomic molecules
4. Both bind to natural receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system
5. Both could offer promising mental, emotional, and physical health benefits
Side by side, these cannabinoids seem to have a lot in common. As we dig a little deeper, though, we’ll start to see just how different CBD and THC actually are.
CBD vs THC: Their Differences
There’s a lot to cover here, but don’t worry. We’ll break this into small pieces so it’s easy to absorb. Here are four key differences between THC vs CBD.
1. CBD High vs THC High
Some people are hesitant to try CBD products because they fear it will get them high (or get them in trouble with the law).
But as we said earlier, one tiny change in atomic structure means that CBD does not produce a “high” like THC does. Why not? Well, because the way each compound reacts with your body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors is quite different.
Here’s a quick overview of how these receptors work.
Both THC and CBD bind naturally to your body’s CB2 receptors. These are an integral part of your body’s natural defense against disease, pain, and inflammation. As a component of your peripheral nervous system, CB2 receptors are found mainly in your spleen and white blood cells.
Contrast that to CB1 receptors, which are part of your central nervous system. This means they operate and originate in your brain. One of the biggest roles CB1 receptors play is producing dopamine — one of those natural “feel good” hormones.
Unlike CBD, THC binds directly to your brain’s CB1 receptors. Because of this, it has a direct effect on your mind and nervous system. As a result, you experience a rush of dopamine that creates a “high” or euphoric feeling.
So how is CBD different? Research shows that CBD does not bind to CB1 receptors at all. In fact, it has no direct effect on your central nervous system.
This means it’s possible to enjoy all the other great benefits of CBD without worrying about any mind-altering effects.
2. THC vs CBD: What’s Legal, What’s Not?
As mentioned earlier, CBD products made from hemp are now legal in all 50 states. This happened when the Hemp Production and US Farm Bill of 2018 was passed.
All those commercial CBD oils, edibles, and other products you see online and on shelves are made from hemp. This is permitted by law because hemp contains high levels of CBD and only trace amounts (0.0%-0.3%) of THC.
What’s the big deal with THC, anyway? Well, as of March 2021, THC is still classified as a Schedule 1 illegal drug under federal law.
And here’s where it starts to get tricky. Many states have decriminalized marijuana or made it legal at the state level, which overrides the federal law.
So far, 36 states and Washington DC have legalized medical cannabis programs. Fifteen of those states also allow people to use marijuana recreationally.
The states that may legalize cannabis for medical purposes in 2021 include:
Meanwhile, these states are considering legalizing the recreational use of THC products:
e. New York
f. New Mexico
g. orth Dakota
Indiana and South Carolina are considering both options, with talk of legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.
So if you live in a state where THC is not yet legalized, stay tuned to the news. Big changes are on the horizon for 2021.
3. Potential Medical Benefits of THC vs CBD
Depending on their medical conditions and needs, people turn to CBD or THC for different reasons. Here’s a quick overview of some of the health benefits of CBD:
a. Reduces pain and inflammation
b. Stops or limits seizures
c. Anti-tumor properties
What about people who choose to use THC? Here are some common medical uses for THC:
1. Reduces vomiting and nausea
2. Stimulates appetite
3. Soothes pain
4. Sases stress and anxiety
5. Calms muscle spasms
Both CBD and THC may reduce pain and inflammation. Depending on what else is happening inside your body, you’ll have to choose between THC vs CBD (or both).
For example, epileptics can use Epidiolex to treat and prevent seizures. Epidiolex is the first drug approved by the FDA that contains CBD. Other research suggests that CBD could help with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and psychosis.
Meanwhile, people often use THC for medical reasons to treat sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and similar mental health conditions. THC may decrease nausea and stimulate the appetite in cancer patients. It’s also used effectively to treat glaucoma.
4. How to Use CBD vs THC
Depending on the effects you hope to achieve, let’s consider your options for using each type of cannabinoid.
Smoking and vaping remain two popular ways to use cannabis. But what if you can’t (or don’t want to) smoke for medical or ethical reasons? Does that mean you have to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else benefit from CBD and THC?
Not at all! These days there are tons of different options for safely using both CBD and THC:
1. Oils or tinctures (used orally)
2. Creams, lotions, and salves (used topically on problem areas)
3.ills, capsules, and other supplements
4. Edibles like CBD candies or gummies
Remember that most commercial CBD products will contain little or no THC. If you prefer products that contain THC, you’ll need to get a prescription from your doctor.
The other option is to visit a dispensary in a state where recreational marijuana is legal.
THC vs CBD: Which Is the Best Choice for You?
Congratulations on making it to the end of a very long article! You are now well-educated on the topic of cannabinoids.
You understand CBD vs THC, including how they’re different. You’re more familiar with some of the health benefits of each compound. You also have a clearer understanding of where CBD products and THC products are legal.
What you choose to do with this wealth of knowledge is up to you!
Now that you’re the local expert about THC vs CBD, what’s next? Keep browsing our blog for more fascinating articles like this one!