What Is the Difference Between CBD and THC?

What Is the Difference Between CBD and THC?

In recent years, it seems like CBD signs have started popping up in every store window. There are edibles, gummies, oils, and more. But you may be wondering how these stores can sell CBD, a component of the cannabis plant, if cannabis is still illegal in many states?

As it happens, CBD is a completely separate substance from THC, the component of cannabis that makes you high. People believe both have some medicinal properties, and there is already one medicine containing CBD on the market. Read on to learn more about CBD and THC and what each can do. 

Overview of the Cannabis Plant 

Before we dive into the differences between CBD and THC, let’s talk about the plant they both come from: cannabis. The flowers of the cannabis plant contain psychoactive chemicals, which is why they’ve gotten so much attention over the years. Plants with less than 0.3 percent psychoactive components are called hemp, while those with more than 0.3 percent are called marijuana.

Cannabis includes more than 120 different compounds known as cannabinoids. We’re still studying what most of these cannabinoids do, and some may not have any effect on the human body. But the two cannabinoids we’re most familiar with are CBD and THC.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the two components of cannabis that we know the most about. It can be derived from either hemp or cannabis and it does not have the same psychoactive effects as THC (more on that in a sec). In simpler terms, taking CBD oil will not get you high.

However, there is proof that CBD has some positive health effects. The FDA has already approved one medication containing CBD for treating severe seizure disorders. Some people also believe CBD may have many other therapeutic uses.

What Is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the component of cannabis that gives you the high feeling. Many people access this cannabinoid by smoking dried marijuana flowers. But in recent years, THC has become available in oils, capsules, tinctures, and more.

In the 20th century, many areas began banning cannabis because of the psychoactive properties of THC. However, many states are now removing those laws, making cannabis legal for medicinal and recreational use. 

Chemical Structure of CBD and THC

So why is it that THC will get you high and CBD won’t if they both come from the same plant? The answer has to do with their chemical structure and how they bond to receptors in your brain. These receptors are there to manage different chemical reactions that can range from the rush of happiness a serotonin boost gives you to the way alcohol makes you drunk. 

Your body produces its own endocannabinoids, and so there are certain receptors that can bond with cannabinoid substances. Think of this like plugging a USB thumb drive into a slot meant for a USB phone charger. Although the intended purposes were different, both plugs will fit into the slot.

Both THC and CBD have the same chemical structure containing twenty-one carbon atoms, thirty hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. Differences in the way those oxygen atoms are arranged cause the different reactions we see from THC and CBD. Think of this like trying to slot two different puzzle pieces into the same slot – one just won’t fit as well. 

THC bonds to cannabinoid-1 receptors in your brain, which is why they are psychoactive. But CBD doesn’t fit that same slot as well thanks to the different way its oxygen atoms are arranged. This means it bonds weakly, if at all, with these receptors and therefore doesn’t cause that “high” feeling that people associate with cannabis. 

How Is CBD Used?

You can find CBD in a wide variety of forms today, ranging from oils to gummies. You can find tinctures, lotionsgels, and capsules. You can even get CBD for pets to help them during stressful events, including fireworks shows or heat cycles.

How Is THC Used? 

THC has not saturated the market as widely as CBD, primarily because it is still illegal in many areas of the country. However, that has not stopped people from finding new and innovative ways to consume THC. These days, you can get oils, edibles, capsules, tinctures, and many of the other forms CBD oil comes in. 

Side Effects of CBD and THC

Although many people believe cannabinoids can be beneficial, this doesn’t mean they’re without side effects. Of the two most common cannabinoids, CBD tends to have fewer side effects. The substance is generally well-tolerated by most people, even in large doses.

THC can have a few temporary side effects, including the red eyes that are the subject of so many jokes. It can also cause an increase in your heart rate, coordination problems, a dry mouth, and slower reaction times. 

Is There Any THC in CBD?

One of the challenges the CBD market is currently facing is that there is no regulatory body providing standards for the production of CBD. A bottle labeled CBD oil could contain any amount of CBD, or none at all. This is why it’s so important to buy from reputable sources.

CBD products do not always contain THC, and it is possible to separate the two compounds. However, lower-quality products may contain trace amounts of THC. And you can find products that include both of the compounds in order to combine their effects.

What About the Entourage Effect?

CBD and THC work together to create the maximum benefits that cannabis has to offer. This means that many people who use CBD and THC together will experience a reduction in pain, anxiety, and nausea. 

Another name for this is the entourage effect, which is when the cannabinoids in cannabis work together to increase the benefits that the cannabinoids have to offer. CBD helps to weaken the 'high' effect that THC has to offer, by attaching to the CB receptor. 

CBD and THC activate different receptors in the body, which means that they'll have different effects on the body when they're consumed individually. But, the synergy that they create when they're working together is why many people recommend using CBD and THC together. 

The process of combining THC and CBD together is referred to as depot binding. When depot binding occurs in the body, it helps CBD to be even more active when it's consumed along with THC.

Legality Questions

Many people may be surprised to learn that you can buy CBD and THC products on the open market. In states where cannabis is legal, cannabinoid products are generally okay to sell. If it's illegal in your state, you will likely not be able to buy THC products, but you should be able to buy CBD products.

It is important to note that the FDA regulates CBD as an active drug ingredient. This means they have specific rules about when and how it can be sold. These rules exist to prevent someone from selling a “supplement” containing unregulated ibuprofen and claiming it can treat pain. 

Drug Tests and CBD vs. THC

If you have a job interview coming up, you may have to take a drug test as part of the hiring process. These tests are designed to look for THC, since it is the psychotropic part of marijuana. If you work in a state where marijuana is legal, check with your potential employer and your local laws about whether a drug test looks for marijuana.

Most basic drug tests do not look for CBD since it does not create the “high” that THC does. However, some CBD-sensitive tests can be found, and high-level jobs may use these. If you use CBD products, make sure to check with your future company and your state laws about what regulations are regarding CBD.  

Learn More About CBD vs. THC Oil 

CBD and THC oil products have become hugely popular in recent years and are believed to be helpful for a wide variety of problems. It’s important to remember when you’re using these products that THC products will get you high, while CBD will not. And always check with your doctor and your local laws before you begin using either of these substances.

If you’d like to find the best CBD and hemp products on the market, check out the rest of our site at Magical. We have edibles, tinctures, softgels, topicals, and more to make your every day magical. Shop our CBD products today and experience the difference a quality product makes for yourself.

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