As the legalization of cannabis products continues to expand, the curiosity surrounding its options for consumption increases. A common point of confusion involves the contrast between cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and their different effects and legalities. Look no further–below is a complete breakdown of the distinction between CBD and THC.
Overview of CBD and THC
Both CBD and THC are natural compounds known as cannabinoids that derive from the plant genus Cannabis. CBD is primarily extracted from the hemp plant (sativa), whereas THC is the main component found in the marijuana plant (indica). Upon consumption, both compounds naturally interact with the receptors found in the body’s endocannabinoid system, a system that monitors and maintains vital capacities within the human body. By interacting with cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system regulates functions such as anxiety, hunger, pain, mood and others.
Though their chemical makeup is strikingly similar, a minor difference in their atomic arrangements produces remarkably notable differences. CBD provides similar effects while avoiding the toxicity and mind-altering properties related to THC. Additionally, CBD is still being tested to discover its extent of capabilities and is considered to have a wider range of applications than THC.
Legality of CBD and THC
The legalities of CBD and THC have caused a disruptive perplexion in the world of cannabis products. So what are the facts?
Since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and hemp-derived products are considered legal. The federal definition of hemp explicitly requires that it contains less than 0.3% THC. This means that possession of CBD products and oils containing less than this specified amount are federally permissible. THC in any higher concentration is still currently considered federally illegal. Some states have individually legalized both CBD and THC for either medical or recreational use, or both.
Effects of CBD and THC
Consuming either CBD or THC results in a similar variety of natural effects, and produces noticeable changes in anxiety, appetite and mood. Additionally, these substances have been found to deliver anti-inflammation and pain relief.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning that consumption of any kind does not alter your mind, or result in a “high,” as it binds very weakly with endocannabinoid receptors. THC, on the other hand, is psychoactive, and binds strongly with the receptors in the brain and produces a high. Accordingly, the use of THC may result in unwanted side effects, such as increased heart rate, dry mouth, red eyes, slowed reaction time and short-term memory loss.
As of today, there are no citations of negative effects of CBD at all, as it has shown to produce only the clinically desired effects. In fact, CBD has even been known to dampen the negative effects typically associated with THC. Because CBD lacks the negative side effects as well as the mind-altering attributes of THC, it is very well tolerated by most people and often preferred.
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