There are still many misconceptions about THC vs. CBD, thanks to hemp’s long use as a recreational drug. Today, many people use hemp-derived natural CBD products to bring balance, calm, and focus to their daily lives. But does CBD still contain THC? And what’s the difference, anyway?
The Difference Between CBD and THC
CBD and THC are both phytocannabinoids. Phyto means it comes from a plant, and cannabinoid means a chemical that affects the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a system in all mammals that regulates a range of factors, including but not limited to:
Gently stimulating the ECS with chemicals can help balance these aspects of life, achieving a desirable state known as homeostasis.
So, what’s the difference between CBD and THC? THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. The THC molecule is almost structurally identical to a CBD molecule. They are both C21H30O2, combining 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogens, and 2 oxygens. However, THC molecules are arranged slightly differently. This helps them bind to receptors in the brain, creating the “high” effect people associate with hemp.
CBD stands for cannabidiol and, while structurally similar to THC, doesn’t provide any psychoactive effects at all. You can’t feel CBD working like a high – only in the benefits, it can bring to individual users over time. People take CBD to help with:
- Sleep problems
- Mood balancing
- Joint problems
The study is ongoing into the many cannabinoids found in hemp, and new findings emerge regularly. Some drugs utilizing CBD have even been FDA approved, specifically Epidiolex, which is used to treat seizures in severe and rare forms of epilepsy.
Does CBD Oil Have THC?
It depends. Some CBD oil is treated to extract every trace of THC. CBD isolate is pure CBD, with no traces of any other chemicals found in hemp plants. If you buy full-spectrum CBD oil, this oil contains trace amounts of all chemicals found within the hemp plant. That’s because these chemicals work together to create what’s known as the entourage effect, boosting and amplifying the benefits of CBD.
A trace amount of THC is considered negligible, both legally and physically. It cannot elicit a high feeling or have any psychoactive effect, and as long as the amount is less than 0.3%, it’s perfectly legal.
Different Types of Weed
Looking at the differences between THC and CBD, it should come as no surprise that different types of hemp plants (or weed) produce different levels of cannabinoids. Hemp, which is grown industrially for CBD farming, tends to have higher CBD levels and lower THC levels, which aids in the production of safe and reliable CBD products.
Sativa or Indica?
You may have heard of two different types of weed: Sativa and Indica. Many people presume that Sativa is used for THC or for hemp products that get you high, whereas CBD only comes from Indica plants. It’s actually a little more complex than that.
Most hemp growers will use hybrids of various species of plant. Some of these hybrids will be grown deliberately to target certain issues, such as mental health or pain relief. It’s also important to note that both Sativa and Indica plants can produce calming or stimulating effects. It’s all about which chemicals are prioritized during the extraction process and in what quantities.
Is CBD Weed?
CBD comes from the hemp plant, but it’s not “weed” in the sense that it’s not a recreational drug. The terms “CBD weed” and “CBD bud” are sometimes used in other countries as marketing terms for sellers of hemp plants. Trusted CBD supplements tend to be lab-tested, independently certified products designed to boost everyday well-being and health.
CBD vs. THC: Side Effects
It’s normal to think about the difference between CBD or THC oil, or be concerned about side effects from any supplement, but particularly one that’s historically been associated with a recreational drug. THC can have a range of side effects, including:
- Heart palpitations
- Poor reaction time – THC users should never drive or use machinery when high
- A feeling of dehydration
- Anxiety or paranoia may extend after the high feeling has gone
- Loss of motor skills
THC can lead to long-term mental health problems. Interestingly, CBD can counteract some of the psychoactive effects of THC by reducing the impact on the relevant receptors in the brain and nervous system.
CBD can have side effects too, which is why responsible providers will usually recommend starting at a low dose if you’ve never taken it before. It always takes your body a while to adjust to new supplements, just like when you change diet you can get CBD allergy New CBD users occasionally report:
- Weight changes
- Mild nausea
Side effects are usually mild and pass with time. If you’re taking other regular medication, speak to your healthcare provider to make sure it is the right choice for you and what drugs should not be taken with CBD.
Making CBD a regular part of your wellness routine is much simpler when you know the facts. CBD products can only ever contain trace amounts of THC and never give you a “high” feeling or cause loss of motor skills or paranoia. In fact, different types of CBD edibles and oils can bring a sense of calm and focus to your life that may have been missing previously.
The main difference between CBD and THC is that THC is a psychoactive compound of the hemp plant, whereas CBD has no psychoactive effect and may benefit well-being. CBD oils, like mint CBD oil or CBD oil extra strength, hemp gummies, and CBD topicals for treatment will always have 0.3% THC or less, which has no psychoactive effect on the human body.