What are the differences between CBD and THC, the two most well-known compounds derived from the cannabis plant? With the increasing marketing of cannabis products, it’s essential to understand the origins, properties, and benefits and risks of cannabis-derived products.
In this post, we’ll compare their chemical structure, consumption methods, CBD/THC legalities, and more.
- CBD and THC are both derived from varieties cannabis sativa plants but have different effects on the human body.
- CBD is non-psychoactive, while THC has psychoactive properties that can lead to addiction.
CBD vs THC: Origins and Properties
Both cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the main cannabinoids derived from chemical compounds that are unique to the cannabis sativa plant.
- THC is the main psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” sensation.
- CBD is non-psychoactive.
- Hemp-derived CBD products containing less than 0.3% THC are federally legal.
- Cannabis-derived compounds and products are subject to state laws.
THC is primarily sourced from marijuana plants, whereas CBD can come from either hemp or marijuana. The legality of these substances is determined by the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies them as controlled substances based on their psychoactive properties.
Given the rising interest in the touted medical benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), comprehending their chemical structures and their body interactions becomes significant.
The Cannabis Sativa Plant
The cannabis sativa plant, also known as the cannabis plant, is the source of both hemp and marijuana. Varying levels of THC and CBD are found in cannabis plants. THC is mainly found in marijuana, while CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that can be derived from either hemp or marijuana plants.
Hemp plants, unlike marijuana, have very low THC content and won’t cause a “high.”
Cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis plants, with over 100 identified, including THC and CBD. THC is the main psychoactive compound. THC alters sensation, leading to feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and changes in perception. CBD is chemically similar to THC but does not have the same psychoactive effects asTHC does not produce intoxicating effects but is marketed to produce relaxation or help with pain.
Beyond THC and CBD, researchers have pinpointed over 100 other cannabinoids, each boasting unique properties and effects.
Chemical Structures and Receptor Interactions
Although THC and CBD share the same chemical formula (C21H30O2) and have the same molecular structure, CBD and THC’s atoms are arranged differently, affecting how our bodies respond to them. These different arrangements influence their interactions in the body’s endocannabinoid system which is responsible for maintaining balance and regulating various functions such as:
Endocannabinoid’s System and Receptor Binding
THC and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid’s system differently. THC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors, with the euphoria coming from CB1. THC initiates a psychological response via the endocannabinoid system’s cannabinoid 1 receptors, found primarily in the central nervous system and the brain. When the CB1 receptor is activated, it produces a psychoactive effect.
THC has a strong affinity for both receptors, while CBD doesn’t bind very well to either. However, if THC and CBD were consumed together – CBD binds to the receptors and blocks the THC effect.
Psychoactive Effects, Intoxication and Addiction
One of the key differences between THC and CBD lies in their psychoactive effects and addiction potential. CBD is non-psychoactive and non-addictive.
In contrast, THC is psychoactive and can lead to addiction, with about 30% of marijuana users becoming addicted, and the risk even higher for those who start using it as teenagers.
Both marijuana or cannabis use of any sort coupled with CBD, legal or not, if misused can cause psychiatric disorders or cannabis hyperemesis syndrome.
Addiction Treatment and CBD
CBD is not considered addictive or habit-forming due to its non-psychoactive nature. However, using CBD can interfere with sobriety. The true nature of addiction is the compulsive nature and obsessive mindset.
We believe that complete abstinence is the better choice for many reasons but the most prevalent is most addicts cannot stop at one gummy, one drink, or one pill.
Additionally, CBD use during active recovery could have an adverse impact on sobriety and may lead to a higher risk of relapse.
Can CBD be Harmful?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health the answer is Yes!
In addressing the question of potential harm associated with CBD, it is critical to differentiate between FDA-approved CBD (Cannabidiol) products, such as Epidiolex, and over-the-counter Cannabidiol products. Unlike Epidiolex, over-the-counter Cannabidiol products are not subject to the same rigorous regulatory oversight, which can lead to discrepancies in CBD content and the presence of contaminants, including THC.
CBD can exhibit a range of side effects, encompassing alterations in alertness, mood shifts, appetite reduction, and gastrointestinal disturbances, such as diarrhea. Particularly for individuals with concurrent THC use, CBD has the potential to induce psychotic effects or cognitive impairments. Further, there have been associations between CBD use and liver injury, male reproductive harm, and interactions with various medications. Notably, several of these side effects, including gastrointestinal symptoms, somnolence, liver function abnormalities, and drug interactions, have been attributed directly to CBD, as evidenced by observations in clinical studies of Epidiolex prior to its FDA approval.
Hence, while CBD can offer therapeutic benefits, it is essential for users to approach it with caution and awareness of the potential risks involved, particularly when utilizing over-the-counter products.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be consumed in a variety of ways, including:
Each consumption method offers different experiences and benefits. For example, smoking or vaping can provide a quick result, while edibles and topicals may take longer to take effect.
The choice of consumption method depends on individual preferences and desired effects.
THC can be found in capsules, edibles, oils, and can also be smoked.
CBD, including various cannabis products, come in different formulations, such as isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum, and can be used in oils, tinctures, edibles, and topicals.
How CBD is Made
CBD is produced by extracting cannabidiol from the flowers and buds of hemp or marijuana plants. The extraction process can involve soaking the plant material in high-grain alcohol or using other methods such as CO2 extraction.
Potential Health Applications
Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are promoted as having potential health benefits, but the FDA has not approved either as a treatment for any condition.
Both CBD and THC have been studied for their potential to alleviate symptoms of conditions like multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and chemotherapy-induced nausea. It is important to remember every patient is different and side effects to the immune system, drug abuse and addiction must be considered before even testing THC and CBD options.
Research indicates that combinations of THC and CBD can be beneficial in treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Such mixes could potentially offer relief for those struggling with the associated symptoms of these conditions.
Legality and Drug Testing
The legality of Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) varies by state and federal laws, and drug testing may detect THC in some CBD products. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- Hemp-derived CBD products containing less than 0.3 percent THC are federally legal.
- Marijuana-derived products from THC and CBD are subject to state laws.
- It’s essential to be aware of the laws and regulations surrounding THC and CBD in your state and workplace before using these products.
Drug tests typically detect THC, not CBD, but some CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC. A drug test possibly could show a positive test result. To avoid a positive drug test result, it’s crucial to use CBD products from reliable sources and ensure they have accurate labeling about the THC content.
Federal and State Laws
CBD and THC legality in the US:
- CBD is legal in the US if it contains less than 0.3% THC, as stated by the Farm Bill, a federal law.
- THC legality varies by state. It is not legal in Texas.
- For compliance with federal and state laws, one should verify the legality of CBD and THC products in their state using the National Conference of State Legislatures’ State Medical Cannabis Laws page.
Safety Concerns and Side Effects
CBD and THC have potential side effects, with CBD having fewer side effects than THC. Some common side effects of CBD include sleepiness, liver issues, and changes in mood.
THC side effects can include:
- Dry mouth
- Panic attacks
- Potential hospitalization at high doses
Before using CBD or THC, particularly if you are on other medications or have pre-existing health conditions, consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable.
CBD Side Effects
CBD side effects may include sleepiness, liver issues, and changes in mood. These side effects are generally mild and may vary from person to person.
It’s important to start with a low dose of CBD and gradually increase it to find the optimal dosage for your needs, while monitoring for any side effects.
La Hacienda Treatment Center
La Hacienda Treatment Center offers comprehensive addiction treatment programs for individuals struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. With over 50 years of experience, La Hacienda provides:
- Medically supervised detoxification (if needed)
- Personalized treatment plans
- Daily visits with board-certified addiction physicians and 24-hour access to nursing care
- Therapeutic groups for patients and their families
- A program anchored in the 12-step principles to help individuals recover and maintain sobriety.
La Hacienda aids patients in developing the necessary skills and support for long-term recovery and a satisfying life by addressing addiction’s physical, mental, and spiritual aspects.
Cannabis use is something with which we are very familiar. Many who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol have also tried CBD and THC.
In conclusion, understanding the key differences between CBD and THC is crucial. By being aware of these differences and consulting with healthcare professionals, one can make the best decisions regarding both CBD and THC.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the main differences between CBD and THC?
CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn’t lead to addiction, whereas THC is psychoactive and can be addictive. Despite having potential health benefits, their effects, consumption methods, and legalities vary significantly.
Is there a CBD high?
No, CBD does not cause the same ‘high’ feeling as THC. The two substances are similar in structure but have different psychoactive effects, with THC creating a high and CBD being psychoactive but not causing any euphoria.
How do CBD and THC interact with the endocannabinoid system?
CBD and THC both interact with the endocannabinoid system. THC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the central nervous system and the brain, resulting in different effects on the body. CBD doesn’t bind with the CB1 receptors.