CBD vs. THC – What’s The Difference?
After the passage of the Farm Bill in 2014, the legal questions surrounding hemp and CBD have grown into public awareness. Some skeptics have walked away with the misconception that CBD is essentially “THC lite” and many are unsure if CBD is even distinct at all from THC.
Although CBD and THC are both extracted from hemp and marijuana, they couldn’t be more different from each other. While THC is the psychoactive compound that causes the marijuana high, CBD is both non-psychotropic and non-addictive. In fact, in some respects CBD works to counteract the brain and body high caused by psychoactive substances like THC.
CBD extracted from hemp seeds and flowers typically contains less than 0.3 percent THC content, while CBD extracted from cannabis could have as much as 30 percent THC content.
CBD vs. THC: How Are They Similar And Different?
Both CBD and THC interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors that live in the spinal cord, nervous system, immune and digestive systems. The ECS is responsible for promoting homeostasis in many of our bodily processes, working to stabilize mood, cognition, memory, inflammation, pain response, appetite, and many other functions.
There are two types of receptors that constitute the ECS: CB-1, which live in the brain, and CB-2, which live in the gut and immune system. While THC interacts with CB-1 receptors to change cognition, CBD interacts with both the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors.
In this way, CBD can have a powerful influence over users’ mental, physical, and emotional health that THC does not. In contrast to THC, CBD prevents binding to the CB-1 receptors, which could promote more stable mood, less anxiety, and dampened depressive symptoms.
In addition to interacting with the body in distinct ways, THC and CBD have legal distinctions in most Western countries as well.
In the United States, only a few states have legal THC available to the general market. In other states, THC is medically legal yet not allowed for recreational use. On the other hand, CBD extracted from hemp is federally legal under the Farm Bill Act, which declassified hemp as a controlled substance and dubbed it an agricultural commodity instead.
Hemp is considered any plant with a naturally high concentration of cannabinoids and only trace amounts of THC, usually less than 0.3 percent content.
While both THC and CBD offer distinct health benefits, many users turn to CBD in order to sustainably treat physical and mental health conditions. Most users find that CBD is gentle enough to be used in any situation, whether at work or at home.