Even before marijuana legalization began sweeping the nation, researchers and scientists have been exploring cannabis’s many cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found within the cannabis plant that interact with our body's endocannabinoid system, which causes the effects related to marijuana use.
Marijuana contains over 100 cannabinoids that each impact the body in diverging ways, but people are the most familiar with CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol).
How Are CBD and THC Different From One Another?
- Psychoactive Effects
While THC is psychoactive, producing the euphoric "high" of marijuana use, CBD isn’t. THC alters one’s perception, mood and cognition by interacting with the brain's cannabinoid receptors. Since CBD doesn’t connect to that system, it doesn’t produce a psychoactive effect. In other words, you can’t get “high” off CBD.
- Legal Status
Although CBD is legal in most states, only products with 0.3 percent of THC are legal on a federal level. In general, due to its non-psychedelic elements, CBD is more widely accepted for medical and recreational usage. Both substances are still subject to numerous strict regulations.
- Therapeutic Potential
Studies have shown THC to possess potential therapeutic benefits, including pain relief, chronic pain and nausea reduction. Doctors sometimes prescribe it to alleviate symptoms associated with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other conditions in part because it lacks many of the negative side effects associated with alternative medications (like opioids).
While some research has shown CBD to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic and neuroprotective effects that might be able to assist those with anxiety disorders and epilepsy, the cannabinoid has not been as thoroughly studied as THC. Since the research is ongoing, you won’t find it being formally utilized in medical settings very often. (The standout exception is the FDA-approved Epidiolex anti-seizure drug).
- Side Effects
Some temporary side effects of THC include mood changes, impaired memory and impaired coordination. In a higher dose or with sensitive individuals, the substance may even cause increased anxiety, paranoia or hallucinations.
In most cases, because CBD lacks psychoactive properties, it is generally better tolerated than THC, with only a few reported side effects (e.g., fatigue, reduced appetite, dry mouth).
- Drug Testing
Due to its psychoactive properties, drug tests will commonly react to any THC metabolites in the system but not CBD. Pure CBD products will most likely not elicit a positive drug test result. However, some CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC, which could potentially result in a positive test result if consumed in high quantities.
Overall, if you’re looking for the “high” of marijuana along with the established health effects of cannabinoids, THC may be more appealing to you. If you want a substance that’s more grounded and calming – with the added bonus of not triggering a positive result on a drug test – then CBD may be a better choice for you.
What Are Some of the Major Cannabinoid Compounds Found in Marijuana?
THC and CBD aren’t the only popular cannabinoids:
- A non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in most marijuana strains, albeit in low concentrations.
- CBG is often called the "mother cannabinoid" because it is a progenitor to CBD and THC. Young plants have it in the highest concentrations because the CBGA (the acidic precursor to CBG) has yet to be fully turned into CBD or THC.
- Also non-intoxicating.
- Early studies suggest it may have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antidepressant effects, but scientists are still looking into how it may be applicable for treatments.
- CBN is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid that forms due to THC degrading over time.
- Some studies have shown CBN to have sedative properties, but it’s still too early to tell.
The effects of any cannabinoid vary depending on your metabolism and dosage, as well as the ratio of the cannabinoid to CBD or THC in any product. We recommend consulting with your doctor or pharmacist to determine what works for you before taking anything.
Enjoy Your CBD with a Refreshing Zentopia After a Long Day
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Whether it’s your morning tea, refreshing lunchtime sparkling water, late afternoon lemonade or a happy hour mocktail, we make savoring CBD easy. Visit us online to learn more about our flavors or to order a pack today.