THC vs. CBD – What Cannabinoids Are in My CBD?
So, you’ve heard about them, started researching them, and suddenly found yourself bombarded with too much information about them. What are we talking about? Cannabinoids.
Or, to be more specific, phytocannabinoids. So, let’s take a look at these phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids from plants). What is the difference between CBD and THC? And what cannabinoids can you expect to find in your CBD product?
But, Wait- What Are Cannabinoids?
The cannabis market has exploded. It’s here, and it is booming.
There are countless studies and articles online where you find out all you need to know about cannabis, including CBD. But, most of these are filled with technical terms, and if they are not, then they are filled with articles from companies trying to coerce you to spend your money on their products because they offer the ‘best’ products.
Well, it’s time to bring you some digestible facts.
Let’s start with the basics:
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids can be found within the human body as well as throughout the plant kingdom. Within plants, however, they will be technically called phytocannabinoids.
But wait, let’s back it up a little; what does the term ‘cannabinoid’ cover? Cannabinoids are a varied type of chemical compound that occurs organically within mammals (endocannabinoids) as well as plants (phytocannabinoids).
Within the cannabis species, you can expect to find as many as 500 unique cannabinoids. CBD and THC are just two of these.
CBD vs. THC
Many defining characteristics separate these phytocannabinoids, but there are also many similarities.
CBD and THC’s Shared Medicinal Benefits
CBD and THC share medicinal benefits that help them to be used as a treatment for the same conditions. However, what most people want to understand is what separates these two- and, more specifically, whether or not CBD and THC share the same psychoactive properties.
The answer to this question is No; CBD does not have the same psychoactive effect as CBD. In fact, CBD’s chemical structure is dramatically different from THC’s, and it is physically impossible for CBD to trigger psychotic effects.
Epidiolex: the First FDA Acceptance of CBD
History was made in 2018. In June of that year, the Food and Drug Administration approved the very first prescription medication based on CBD; Epidolex. Doctors prescribe Epidolex for severe, rare forms of Epilepsy that usually don’t respond to treatment.
CBD: Medicinal Benefits/Uses
Aside from these types of Epilepsy, CBD has been used by thousands of people around the globe to treat the following conditions:
– Certain mental disorders and psychosis
THC: Medicinal Benefits/Uses:
THC has been used by many people to address the following conditions:
– Lack of appetite
– Muscle spasticity
– Insomnia (at specific doses)
– Anxiety (at certain doses)
CBD vs. THC: Side Effects
Let’s take a look at the different side effects we see people coming forward with after using CBD, THC, or both.
CBD: the Side Effects
The World Health Organisation issued a statement saying that CBD is well tolerated, containing no addictive qualities or harmful side effects. There are, however, some milder side effects that some people may experience with the use of CBD
This is, naturally, an area of study that is gaining momentum. So far, the research indicates that the central area of concern regarding side effects with the use of CBD are related to drug-drug interactions. This is why you must have an open chat with your trusted healthcare professional before you begin CBD if you are already on pharmaceutical drugs.
THC: the Side Effects
There are a number of side effects associated with THC use:
– Increased heart rate
– Red eyes
– Dry mouth
– Reduced Reaction Time
– Memory Loss
– Coordination Loss
It is important to remember that each person can have a different reaction to this compound.
Furthermore, the long term psychiatric effect of THC is still being studied, and there is some cause for concern regarding the long term use and the connection to some psychiatric disorders.
How do CBD and THC Work Together?
There is scientific data hinting at the unique symbiotic relationship that CBD and THC have. This research is telling us that the two of them working together can have increased positive effects on the body.
But, there is one factor that has been grabbing people’s attention- the fact that CBD could counteract the more undesired psychotic effects of THC.
While the THC can These effects are not the evil effects that federal government once wanted the public to believe.
Anxiety: Which is Better? CBD or THC?
If you have been surfing the web looking for answers to questions related to cannabis, then it is possible that you are left with conflicting reports, and not sure what to believe.
There are two main factors to blame for this:
- The way that THC and CBD interact with your body depends on the dose. For example, in small concentrations, THC could assist with dispelling anxiety. However, anecdotal reports show that higher THC potencies can increase anxiety. Similarly, Different ratios of CBD and THC will engender different results. This is why you may be confused!
- Studies have been limited, and we are only recently seeing an emergence of more encompassing studies. For example, cannabis was primarily studied as a whole and not the individual compounds. It is only recently that research has begun to dig into individual cannabinoids and their effects on the endocannabinoid system.
There are countless studies done on the subject of cannabis and anxiety. We’ve done our best to weed through them. Let’s see how THC and CBD can either help or promote anxiety:
First, let’s start with some research results:
– In both 2011 and 2010, a study found that CBD can reduce social anxiety symptoms (from SAD).
– In 2014, another research paper based on an animal study found that CBD has both anti-anxiety and antidepressants.
– In 2015, an analysis of previous studies concluded that CBD oil has the potential to be as a treatment for all types of anxiety, panic disorders, OCD, and PTSD.
– There are cautions that there are limited studies on the long-term use of THC and CBD, and therefore, limited information on the prolonged use of cannabinoids are treatment.
How does THC affect anxiety?
However, these studies are limited, and each person can have a different reaction to cannabis. So, when it comes to dosing, it is advised that you start with a low dose. From there, work your way up in increments until you are satisfied with the results.
If you want more information on dosing, check out this handy video:
Full Spectrum VS. Broad Spectrum: And Does it Even Matter?
At first glance, full-spectrum and broad-spectrum sound the same. So, what exactly are the differences between the two?
What is Full Spectrum
If you see a CBD oil or CBD products labeled as ‘full-spectrum,’ you may be curious to know what this refers to. Most full-spectrum CBD products contain an extensive array of flavonoids, fatty acids, other phytocannabinoids, and terpenes. Each compound has a unique set of therapeutic values, some more than others. All these compounds combine to create what is fondly known as the ‘entourage effect.‘
Because of this entourage effect, full-spectrum products are celebrated for the overall benefits that they can offer. However, you may have already noticed that they usually carry a higher price tag.
Interestingly enough, in 2015, before more research was plowed into this particular subject, most people thought that CBD isolate products were the most efficient option. Today, we are seeing that the CBD isolate products may not be as effective as broad or full spectrum products.
Full-spectrum products will quite literally contain the full spectrum of compounds (dozens of terpenes and more than 100 cannabinoids) originally found within the cannabis plant. If you are looking at a cannabis product that is not made from hemp, then this could include THC as well. Full-spectrum CBD products made from hemp will usually not contain any THC, but always check the product’s full test results before you purchase- just in case.
Jessica Rosslee is a former journalist that has dedicated her writing skills and passion for communication to the cannabis industry. Jessica has spent her life in the field of wellness and communication, committed to allowing people access to accurate health and wellness information.
As a freelance cannabis writer, Jessica is passionate about free-flowing education for the public and the destigmatization of cannabis.