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CBD Oil vs. THC – What Is the Difference?

February 3, 2020

Even though CBD and CBD-infused products are becoming increasingly popular, many people struggle to figure out the difference between various cannabinoids that can be found in the hemp plant. You might have heard about THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, and many other cannabinoids, but you probably have little to no idea how they work, what they do, and what makes one better than the other. 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive explanation of the difference between CBD and THC, take a moment to read our take on it. We aim to bring these subjects closer to our readers and break them down so that you know what to look for and what to expect from different products, compounds, and cannabis in general.

What is CBD?

Before we dive into the differences, it’s usually a good idea to define the terms first and see what each of them entails. 

CBD is a naturally occurring compound that can be found in flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It was discovered back in 1940, and it’s one of 113 identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. CBD is the second-most abundant cannabinoid, right behind THC. 

According to the latest studies, CBD is the compound you should be looking for if you’re planning to use CBD to mitigate some symptoms of various conditions, including anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, and more. It’s important to point out that CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning it won’t get you high. In fact, the vast majority of CBD-infused products should not incapacitate you in any way and will leave you perfectly capable of working, operating heavy machinery, etc.

What is THC?

What is THC

THC, also referred to as Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most abundant psychoactive cannabinoid in the marijuana plant. It has been a subject of research for many years, mainly due to its incredible adaptive properties as well as its potential benefits when it comes to interacting with the endocannabinoid system. 

It’s important to point out that THC-rich cannabis is mostly used for recreational purposes rather than for its medical properties. Unlike CBD, THC will increase the level of sedation, intoxication, and sometimes anxiety in subjects. However, according to one study, when THC and CBD are administered together, CBD could be effective in blocking a majority of THC effects. With that being said, more research is needed to fully understand the impact of both THC and CBD on one’s well-being.

The Main Differences Between CBD and THC

As you can probably tell, the most significant difference between THC and CBD is the fact that CBD does not have psychoactive properties, whereas THC does. On top of that, CBD is under extensive research for its potential health benefits, while THC is clearly inferior in this regard, especially because it’s a psychoactive compound, meaning it affects one’s behavior, pulse rate, anxiety levels, etc. 

You might have heard that cannabis plants are usually divided into two strains – Sativa and Indica. The cannabis Sativa strain is known as the CBD-rich strain and is usually used for its medicinal purposes. On the other hand, the cannabis Indica strain is known as the THC-rich strain and is usually used as a recreational drug.

The most interesting fact about these two compounds is that they aren’t chemically too different from each other. In fact, the only difference between these two compounds is the layout of the atoms and their arrangement.

Potential Benefits of Cannabinoids 

Now, before we dive into the realm of potential medical benefits, it’s important to point out that these aren’t claims by any means but rather a collection of people’s experiences with both CBD and THC. As we’ve mentioned, cannabinoids are still under research, and any CBD-infused product is yet to be FDA approved, meaning these benefits are NOT 100% scientifically backed up yet.

With that being said, many people said that CBD has helped them overcome some of the accompanying issues tied with symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, inflammation, etc. 

As far as anti-inflammatory properties go, both CBD and THC have the potential to help reduce muscle soreness, muscle fatigue, and sometimes even skin inflammation. CBD is also being used by athletes and professionals who work out on a daily basis and struggle with muscular pain and even aching joints. Speaking of aching joints, there were a couple of studies that showed positive results in the battle against arthritis, especially when it comes to senior subjects. Some of the subjects who are older than 60 have said that CBD helped them overcome some of the underlying issues of symptoms tied to joint pain and arthritis. 

CBD is known to have a beneficial effect on the human endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a system responsible for regulating and keeping your body functional and in optimal condition. By influencing the receptors of your ECS, CBD is able to impact your ability to fall asleep, and it also impacts appetite regulation, mood regulation, immune system function, memory, and learning.

CBD vs. THC Which One to Choose?

CBD vs. THC Which One to Choose

The main question you should ask yourself is – What do I want to achieve? 

If you’re struggling with insomnia, anxiety, stress, and chronic pain, you might want to try CBD oil and CBD-infused products like gummies, vape pens, etc. The best course of action is probably to start with full-spectrum CBD oil, which is a product that contains various cannabinoids apart from CBD. On the other hand, you could alternatively opt to try an isolate, which is pure (99%) CBD. However, if you decide to try an isolate, keep in mind that it won’t cause the Entourage Effect since it’s a single-compound solution and you will likely be losing out on some of the benefits. 

THC-derived products are usually used in severe cases for patients who suffer from frequent seizures, suicidal thoughts, schizophrenia, etc. THC-rich products are believed to stimulate one’s brain, which could prevent or tame seizures in some cases. However, all of these properties are currently in the realm of anecdotal evidence, which is why none of these practices are FDA approved. Furthermore, THC rich cannabis (marijuana) is only legal in certain States.

Methods of Taking CBD and THC

Now that you’ve become a bit more familiar with the terms and definitions behind them, you should think about which method of ingesting would suit you the most. 

The most popular methods include: 

  • Oral intake (oils, tinctures)
  • Edibles
  • Vaping

Apart from the aforementioned methods, people also use topicals, which are foreseen to be applied directly to the affected area on your skin. 

Vaping is probably the third most-used method as far as popularity goes. It’s relatively easy to do, but one must think about dosage, discretion, and overall convenience levels before opting for vape pens. 

Edibles are among the most popular methods because it’s discrete, easy, and takes only a second or two. The downside of edibles is that they take time to kick in. 

Oral intake refers to using CBD oil sublingually or using CBD capsules. It is, probably, the most popular method of taking CBD and one of the most efficient because of all of the tiny little blood vessels that are under your tongue and their ability to absorb CBD.

If you would like to know more about hemp, marijuana, CBD, THC, and properties of different compounds, be sure to read our other articles!

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