The Difference Between THC & CBD

When asked what the difference is between tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), the simple explanation, in layman’s terms, is that THC is the element of marijuana that causes a person to feel “high”, and CBD is the part that makes you feel better, mentally and/or physically. Wikipedia describes THC like so:

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, dronabinol, trade name Marinol) is the principal psychoactive constituent (or cannabinoid) of cannabis. The pharmaceutical formulation dronabinol, is available by prescription in the U.S, Canada and New Zealand. It can be a clear, amber or gold colored glassy solid when cold, which becomes viscous and sticky if warmed.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabis compound that has significant benefits, but does not make people feel “high” and can be effective in counteracting the psychoactive properties of THC. The fact that CBD-rich cannabis, or hemp, doesn’t get users “high” makes it an attractive treatment for users that may want to avoid medical marijuana, high in THC. CBD offers some of the same features of THC, however, without the THC high. As many people want relief, but don’t want to have the feeling of being ‘high,’ CBD is the perfect alternative.

CBD oil can also be used in recipes to formulate edible items such as brownies, cookies, fudge, gummies, candies, and various beverages such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and fruit drinks that can be quickly and easily consumed, without the psychoactive effects of THC. Isolating the compound from the marijuana plant offers the highest quality, most pure form of CBD.

While THC & CBD are both compounds found in the marijuana, or cannabis, plant, CBD is essentially a structural isomer of THC. This means that while they are chemically composed the same, the atoms in each are arranged a bit differently, making CBD less psychoactive. While both of these compounds interact with our central nervous system and brains, they actually both interact with these areas differently, due to the composition of each of these natural elements. THC offers the high, CBD does not.

How do both of these compounds come about? While they are both found in all marijuana strains, marijuana typically contains only trace level od CBD. As CBD is mainly used in highly concentrated oils, used to create topicals, pills, isolates and syringes, CBD is most widely created from the industrial hemp plant, varieties of hemp have been created that have high levels of CBD (around 12%) and extremely low levels of THC (under 0.3%).

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