Understanding cannabis really is more about understanding cannabinoids. Every strain of cannabis is essentially a varied distribution of cannabinoids. The content and ratio of these cannabinoids determines the “effect” felt by the user.
Now, there are tons of cannabinoids we could talk about – but let’s focus on the two most notable. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
These two fancy names have been the center of some of the most controversial laws and debates in our time. Although they may look similar on the surface. The difference between THC and CBD is critical.
The most simple answer to the question is this:
THC makes you feel high.
CBD makes you feel better.
But let’s avoid oversimplification. Here are the deeper details.
Psychoactive VS Non-Psychoactive
It is important to recognize how each chemical interacts with your body. One way of characterizing this is in the category of psychoactive or non-psychoactive. This basically is fancy way of saying will it get you high or not.
Psychoactive means the substance will alter brain function, cognition, or behavior.
Non-psychoactive means the substance will NOT alter brain function, cognition, or behavior. Instead, the effects are physiological. Your body directly interacts with the chemical at a cellular level.
Much like you don’t “feel” vitamins or nutrients being absorbed by your body. You don’t really feel anything when consuming a non-psychoactive product like CBD.
What is THC?
THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid prevalent in most cannabis strains. This is the primary chemical compound responsible for how cannabis makes you feel high.
Some of the noted effects of THC include:
- Altered/enhanced senses (taste, sight, hearing, etc)
- Reduced aggression, anxiety, or stress
- Increased/decreased appetite
THC is typically the most dominant cannabinoid of most cannabis strains. However, science has helped aid in controlling the distribution/isolation of cannabinoids.
Plant genetics and cross-breeding strains can increase or decrease the amount of cannabinoids present in a specific strain. Furthermore, labs can use isolation techniques to extract a single cannabinoid to understand the effects of only THC or CBD alone.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid prevalent in most cannabis strains.
When it comes to medical research or media attention, CBD is by far one of the most popular cannabinoids. From arguments claiming CBD could cure cancer – to regulations claiming it should be Schedule I illegal substance… There is an extremely wide variance of opinion when it comes to CBD.
The most important part to note is the status of “non-psychoactive” substance. This means CBD does not get you high. Let’s clear this up once more to make sure… CBD DOES NOT GET YOU HIGH.
Most of the misunderstanding around CBD stems from the assumption people use CBD as a loophole to get high. Which simply is not true.
CBD is known for its positive physiological effects:
- Reduce pain/inflammation
- Calm physical anxiety or nervousness
- Minimize spasms or seizures
- Treat insomnia/restlessness
- Reduce nausea
The most incredible medical stories about cannabis saving lives are usually referring to the benefits of CBD. Special CBD-only strains like Charlotte’s Web have attracted international attention.
Special CBD only products are becoming more common treatment option for millions of people around the world. Everything from simple struggles to serious diseases can potentially benefit from the effects of CBD.
Unfortunately, a confusing web of laws and regulations place CBD into a grey area of legality that changes often.
Laws & regulations of THC vs CBD
Most laws in place rely heavily on the amount of THC prevalent in a product. In order for a plant/product to be classified as legal hemp (at the federal level) it cannot contain more than 0.3% THC. If it contains more than 0.3% THC it is considered Marijuana and therefore, illegal.
Marijuana purchased legally at a dispensary will typically contain 10% – 30% THC. So there is a very clear divide between THC levels of traditional marijuana vs industrial hemp.
Many CBD products claim to be derived from industrial hemp (cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC). These products are also called “whole-plant” products occasionally. Hemp oils and pastes.
However, more recently CBD products use CBD isolate. A pure chemical compound of CBD only (no other plant matter). This enhances the purity and quality of CBD products to an unprecedented level. CBD isolate can be used in virtually any type of product. Making it one of the most versatile and functional byproducts of cannabis or hemp.
The FDA has adopted the position that CBD is legal to consume. But the CBD product cannot guarantee specific results to diagnose, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease. Nearly every CBD product you see will have an FDA disclaimer regarding the benefits of using it.
Legal CBD Products
Thanks to the innovations of modern science, CBD products are available in several forms. Each type of product gives you the benefits of CBD in a slightly different way.
CBD capsules are a simple and effective option. You take capsules orally just like a vitamin or any other pill. You should only need 1-2 capsules per use. Effects will initiate within 30-60 minutes.
CBD tinctures are liquid solutions consumed with an eyedropper-like tool. Tinctures are an effective and efficient option. Tinctures are similar to liquid medicine. The effects are almost immediate. You’ll feel effects within 10-15 minutes.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us here at SeedScience and we’ll get you set up with the perfect product for your specific situation.