What is the difference between marijuana and CBD? It’s hard to say exactly when CBD became such a mainstream topic of discussion. Regardless, users across the globe are endorsing CBD as having potential therapeutic properties to treat a variety of ailments.
As the demand for CBD continues to grow, the industry has transitioned into a unique market that, while independent, is closely related to the cannabis industry, leaving people confused and curious about its controversial and legal status.
Due to this complications that this confusion can create for consumers, it is extremely important to understand the difference between marijuana and CBD.
While THC and CBD are both cannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant, they are actually very different. Knowing these differences can help users make their future dispensary purchase.
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the two primary psychoactive cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. Basically, THC is the main ingredient in charge of creating the ‘high’ that comes with cannabis use.
This compound works by imitating the effects of neurotransmitters produced naturally by the human body. THC helps regulate sleeping and eating behaviors, as well as help reduce pain, and plenty of other body functions.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (or CBD) is the other critical compound in the cannabis sativa plant. It lives in both agricultural hemp and medicinal cannabis. Even though plenty of cannabinoids live within several different plants throughout nature, cannabis is the only one that contains CBD.
Due to the compound’s chemical makeup, unlike THC, CBD does not produce an intoxicating effect when consumed. This means that when users ingest CBD, they will likely experience a feeling of relief from unwanted ailments with little to no noticeable effects on one’s mind.
Here's a short video all about CBD and THC that'll help clarify this distinction further!
What is Hemp?
Hemp refers to varieties of cannabis that have less than 0.3% THC content. This legal definition was defined by the Agricultural Act of 2018, better known as the 2018 Farm Bill.
Before this, however, people generally defined hemp as cannabis that was harvested for industrial and agricultural products. Hemp is often used to produce crucial products and resources like rope, clothes, paper and more.
CBD vs. THC: Properties, Side Effects, and Benefits
Because they come from the same plant species, both marijuana and hemp possess many similar quality and can even look identical. With inconsistent legal relations and different effects and uses, it is really important to not confuse the two. To understand how vastly different these two are, make note of these 5 vital differences between marijuana and CBD:
One defining difference between hemp and marijuana is the chemical structure inside each plant. Marijuana and hemp can both produce CBD, however, they each produce THC at very different levels.
Whereas hemp can hold no more than than 0.3% THC content, marijuana can actually carry up to 30% THC by dry weight. Even more, although CBD and THC both have similar molecular makeup, the slight difference explains the varying effects on the human body.
Both CBD and THC have chemical compositions similar to the body’s endocannabinoids. This lets them interact with our bodies’ cannabinoid receptors, which affects the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that are responsible for sending signals between cells.
They play a large role in regulating pain, immune function, appetite, stress, sleep and more.
- Psychoactive Features
Other than their similar chemical composition, another primary difference between marijuana and CBD is that they don’t exhibit the same psychoactive effects. As previously mentioned, CBD is a non-intoxicating compound. This means that it doesn’t give users any mind altering effects that THC does.
While THC binds with the brain’s cannabinoid receptors to produce an intoxicating effect, CBD acts differently and can actually lessen some of the negative effects of a THC high. In fact, the National Institute of Health conducted a study in February 2010 that found that THC and CBD can produce opposite effects on certain areas of brain function.
A third difference between marijuana and CBD is how they are grown. Hemp is often grown on a scaled-agricultural model, whereas marijuana is often grown on more of a garden level. Both plants share the same agronomic principals and properties with varying degrees of difference between strains.
The main agricultural difference is that hemp is federally legal and marijuana is not. This means that hemp is eligible for federal programs like crop insurance and other programs. Marijuana is still a federally scheduled drug.
Because of hemp being legal, we are seeing large acreage devoted to hemp production. With the increase in acreage, you might even see some hemp fields as you drive through the countryside.
To do so, farmers generally grow hemp outdoors. This is because hemp doesn’t demand the level of attention that growing marijuana requires.
- Legal Status
Another main difference between marijuana and CBD is that they are regulated quite differently by the government. This is because of the difference between their levels of THC content.
The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 classified hemp as an illegal substance. However, in 2018, the Farm Bill removed it, making hemp and hemp-derived products that contain no more than 0.3% THC federally legal.
Marijuana, however, is still considered a controlled substance and therefore, prohibited under federal law. The legal status of both CBD and THC in the U.S. is constantly evolving. Any form of cannabis is illegal in states that haven’t yet legalized it.
That said, though, many states have passed cannabis laws, legalizing medical marijuana containing high levels of THC. Before attempting to purchase either marijuana or CBD, make sure to check out your state’s laws.
If you possess cannabis-related items in an area where it is illegal or you don’t have a medical prescription where products are legal, there is a chance you could face legal penalties.
- Medical Potential
The last and arguably the most significant difference between marijuana and CBD is their use as medication. Although both remain illegal federally, most states have legalized CBD due to the fact that it is an active ingredient in an FDA-approved drug.
In June 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical drug used to treat two rare, severe forms of epilepsy (Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome.) This was the first prescription medicine created using CBD.
That said, however, CBD and THC have plenty of the same therapeutic benefits. This basically means that they both can offer relief from a variety of the same conditions.
But, because CBD doesn’t cause the same intoxicating effects as THC, some might prefer to use CBD.
The Difference Between Marijuana and CBD: Key Takeaways
Both marijuana and CBD have medical potential. More importantly, though, they are both safe. Despite this, though, they continue to be illegal federally and in some U.S. states. Prior to purchasing or using CBD or marijuana products, make sure you are aware of the laws in your state.
More importantly, we at Anavii Market highly encourage users to consider the possibility of interactions with any drugs you’re already taking and be sure to consult with a doctor beforehand.
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