CBD Versus THC: What Is The Difference?
CBD Versus THC: What Is The Difference?
The cannabis plant has been on the planet for over 28 million years. It is surprising that in the twenty-first century, we are still exploring the Cannabis Sativa plant and unlocking the wellness benefits it may have.
Much of the misinformation regarding this was politically motivated and racially discriminatory. Back in the early 1920s, Mexican laborers introduced the use of cannabis flower as a recreational drug.
Less than thirteen years later, America began a misinformation campaign on cannabis, and the first chapter of the “War on Drugs” was written. A version that vilified the plant and debunked any possible medicinal use. It became known as the “Anslinger Era.”
Today, more than forty states have legalized medicinal marijuana. And the U.S. federal government has passed laws that make it easier to get evidence-based scientific data for population health management.
Public perception about cannabinoids has come a long way in almost one hundred years. But many people are still confused about cannabinoids and their usefulness for human wellness.
Out of almost 200 different cannabinoids, two are most often talked about and used for health needs; cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). And while they both originate in the same plant species, cannabinoids are vastly different.
What is Cannabidiol?
There are many differences between CBD and THC. Cannabidiol is the most accepted and researched cannabinoid derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant species. Not only is CBD legal to purchase as a wellness supplement, but it became the first FDA-approved cannabinoid to be provided in prescription medications.
The global medical community widely accepts cannabidiol as a complementary and integrative health and wellness supplement. And while the FDA has not yet approved CBD as a supplement (or an ingredient to be added to foods and beverages), it is legal to buy and use.
Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid found in both hemp and cannabis plants. The cannabidiol content is much higher in agricultural hemp. Supplements made with cannabidiol must have 0.30% or less THC content.
Where Do You Find CBD Products?
Since hemp-derived cannabidiol was federally legalized in 2018, it has become easier to find and purchase cannabidiol products. Before federal legalization, you may have found CBD for sale. Possibly behind the counter because while CBD was legal in other countries, it was illegal to produce, sell or distribute it in the United States.
After federal legalization, cannabidiol (CBD) products can be legally shipped by courier or the U.S. Postal Service. That means you can purchase CBD online and deliver it to your home without legal risks or concerns.
Many nutritional stores sell CBD oil, and some provide CBD isolate products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings to over one hundred CBD product manufacturers since 2015 for issues including:
- Misleading advertising about cannabidiol as a health cure.
- Incorrectly labeled products (CBD content did not match product label).
When choosing a CBD supplement, looking for information on third-party laboratory testing is essential. High-quality cannabidiol supplements will have a certificate of analysis (COA).
Consumers can see the results of the tests and confirm that no harmful extracts or solvents are present in the CBD supplement.
Clinical Studies About CBD and Wellness Potential
Many research restrictions have been eased in the past five years regarding CBD and THC, allowing more clinical research into cannabidiol and human health. One of the requirements to have CBD approved for medicinal benefits is evidence-based scientific data. But we still have much to learn about the human endocannabinoid system.
Many new studies have supported the wellness benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). The most globally recognized evidence was the FDA approval of the first cannabinoid pharmaceutical drug (Epidiolex). It is now prescribed for a severe form of childhood epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS).
Epidiolex is currently providing good results for pediatric patients, and LGS has not often improved for children with the condition, using other types of prescription medications.
Some animal studies have suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) may be effective for patients with osteoporosis. Other studies have documented that cannabidiol may have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve inflammation-related chronic pain symptoms.
There are new studies underway that may suggest the use of clinical-grade cannabidiol for drug rehabilitation and recovery. Specifically to help patients in doctor-supervised opioid cessation programs. Some clinical studies have suggested cannabidiol may help reduce cravings.
How Do You Take CBD?
Cannabidiol products are available in a variety of different routes. Purchasing clinical-grade broad-spectrum CBD is recommended for best results.
Some of the cannabidiol products you can choose include:
- Tinctures (sublingual uptake).
- Topical creams and ointments.
- Dried mix (beverage supplements).
- Smokable hemp (flower or vape cartridges).
- Beverages (where permitted by state laws).
Patients can easily purchase cannabidiol (CBD) products online. Just remember to check the certificate of analysis (COA) to ensure you get a high-quality and safe supplement. And check your state laws to ensure your chosen product is legal in your local jurisdiction.
What Symptoms May Be Helped With CBD?
While research is ongoing, surveys from people who use cannabidiol regularly provide some valuable insights. Many Americans find that cannabidiol offers some relief to a variety of different symptoms, including:
- Chronic pain.
- Skin inflammation.
- Epilepsy and involuntary muscle contractions.
- Appetite-suppressant (it may help curb cravings).
Nonprescription CBD products work well for some people and do not work at all for others. Researchers are studying whether natural extracts and carrier oils used in CBD products can enhance or reduce the positive wellness benefits of hemp-derived cannabinoids.
In some states, clinical-grade cannabidiol can also be prescribed by a physician. And nonprescription cannabidiol products are available at health stores, online from CBD supplement manufacturers, and other retail stores.
Is Cannabidiol Addictive?
There is no evidence to suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) is addictive. Legal CBD products have less than 0.30% THC content, and you should not experience any psychoactive effects after taking CBD.
Some physicians suggest exploring CBD as a therapeutic resource for addiction recovery. That is due to the anti-inflammatory benefits (which can help reduce withdrawal symptoms) and may also help reduce symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and muscle pain associated with recovery from drug abuse.
Can You Fail a Drug Test for Using CBD?
Standard drug tests are designed to detect various illicit drugs that are prohibited according to the Controlled Substances Act. CBD products must have 0.30% THC content or less to be sold and purchased legally.
The answer is yes; in some cases, you may test positive for THC on drug tests if you regularly use CBD. Many ways to reduce risk include purchasing clinical-grade CBD with the lowest possible THC content.
Why does CBD have any THC at all? Some studies suggest the combination of small amounts of THC with cannabidiol can enhance wellness benefits.
The entourage effect is still being studied by medical science; the gist is that cannabinoids work better together. And CBD can be more effective when combined with low levels of THC.
What is THC?
The facts and the myths about tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are sometimes hard to separate. The cannabis plant has been the victim of almost one hundred (100) years of negative publicity and slander. When fact, THC may be the safest controlled substance patients can choose.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the cannabinoid responsible for strong psychoactive and physiological effects. Unlike cannabidiol, THC and cannabis use can provide a host of psychoactive effects and make you feel “high.” The potency of the cannabis plant will determine the level of psychoactive effects.
When consumed, THC attaches to the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) located predominantly in your brain. Those receptors are responsible for feelings of pleasure, concentration and focus, memory, coordination, balance, and the perception or sense of time.
New Clinical Studies About THC and Wellness
On December 2, 2022, the U.S. Senate signed H.R.8454 – Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act. This new legislation broke the legal walls that made researching cannabis extremely difficult in the United States.
The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act will open doors to allow access to cannabis plants and funds for medical research. This is a tremendous step to advance our understanding of cannabis and how it can be used in healthcare as an alternative medicine.
The new laws will provide the following:
- Unobstructed research into cannabidiol (CBD) and THC for medical purposes.
- A clear path for the FDA to approve the commercial production of drugs derived from cannabis plants.
- Legal protections for physicians who discuss the benefits (or risks) of using cannabis or products made from cannabis derivatives.
Current studies are underway in the United States to evaluate cannabis as an alternative prescription medication for chronic pain, symptoms of cancer treatment, chronic insomnia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, and IBS.
There are also proposed mental health studies to determine if cannabis or CBD can effectively treat mental health conditions such as PTSD, clinical anxiety, and major depressive disorders.
The Increase in Cannabis Potency
The cannabis you can purchase today from a licensed dispensary is not the same product your parents bought in College. Did you know that the average potency of marijuana was 1% to 3% in the 1970s? Today, cannabis available to consumers and patients is more than 57% higher in potency.
CBD and THC work well together, and strains with higher cannabidiol content are popular for medicinal use. That is because cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. You may still “feel high,” but CBD helps balance the THC and can reduce feelings of impairment.
THC is only one of the total active cannabinoids (TAC) contributing to potency. As cannabis research studies continue, we may learn what exact combination of cannabinoids produces the best potential medical benefits. And what CBD or THC products work best.
Where Do You Find Cannabis Products With THC?
If you are a patient with a qualifying health condition (QHC), you may be eligible to join your state medical cannabis program. With a medical card, patients can purchase cannabis products through a licensed dispensary.
Individuals who live where both recreational marijuana and medical cannabis are legalized have the option to purchase from non-medical dispensaries. However, most patients prefer the expert advice of a healthcare-focused dispensary.
How Do You Take Medical Cannabis?
Products available at licensed dispensaries include tinctures (liquid drops), smokable cannabis, including flower and vape, edibles, capsules, tablets, and concentrates. The type of cannabis products available for patients depends on local state medical cannabis laws and restrictions.
What Symptoms Can Be Helped by Using THC?
Qualifying health conditions are the best guideline for patients wondering how CBD and THC may help with symptom management. The qualifying health conditions list approved medical diagnoses or symptoms determined by state law.
Some of the most common symptoms that can be helped by doctor-supervised cannabis include cancer, chronic pain, agitation of Alzheimer’s, persistent muscle spasms, anxiety, PTSD, Cachexia (wasting syndrome), and neuropathy.
Who May Not Qualify for Medicinal Marijuana?
Patients taking medications that are contraindicated (or in conflict) with cannabis will not receive a medicinal marijuana recommendation from a physician. The concern is that cannabis has been shown to reduce the efficacy of certain medications, including prescriptions for heart conditions and blood clots.
Individuals who are diagnosed with schizophrenia are not approved for medical cannabis use. That is because, for some people, cannabis could increase problems with hallucinations and paranoia.
Can You Develop an Addiction to THC?
CBD and THC are very different regarding the potential of developing an addiction. Marijuana has psychoactive properties, and while using CBD oil will not cause impairment, even small quantities of THC affect human functioning and the central nervous system.
While cannabis is better tolerated and has a lower overdose risk than other drugs in the same Schedule I category of the Controlled Substances Act, it can be addictive.
The side effects of withdrawal from cannabis can include:
- Irritability, anger, or aggression.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Depressed mood.
- Loss of appetite.
- Temperature variances (chills or sweating profusely).
- Stomach pain.
While many people do not think cannabis can be addictive, some studies suggest that, over time, the human body can develop a tolerance to THC. That results in a need to increase the potency of cannabis used. The higher the potency and frequency of use, the more likely someone will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using medical cannabis.
One way to offset problems with cannabis tolerance is to engage in alternative therapies and periodically reduce your use of medical marijuana. Or lower the potency of the medical cannabis you are using.
Can You Fail a Drug Test for Using THC?
Any employer or law enforcement drug test can detect THC. Regardless of how much cannabis you consume for medicinal or recreational purposes. Drug tests are designed to register the natural compounds in THC.
If you are required to submit to a drug test, possibly consider abstaining from cannabis use for at least thirty (30) days. However, THC can be detected through tests up to 90 days after the last use, depending on the type of test, potency, and frequency of cannabis used. The chemical compounds of THC can be detected in blood, urine, and hair follicle samples.
DocMJ Provides Cannabis Healthcare in Texas
Patients living in Texas can schedule a telemedicine appointment with a certified marijuana doctor. This is the first step to getting prescribed medical cannabis in Texas. Patients can schedule DocMJ appointments in Houston and across the Lonestar State.