Out of the more than 100 cannabinoids that can be found in the cannabis genus, that includes hemp, marijuana and many other plants, THC and CBD are the ones that have caught all of the attention over the years. Let’s take a look at each one of them.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound found in the marijuana plant and is the one responsible for the high effect. A higher concentration of THC against CBD is a natural characteristic of the marijuana plant, but that THC:CBD ratio has been modified. The search for higher potency has led marijuana growers to intervene in the plants’ chemical structure, which has resulted in the development of strains with THC levels that are up to four times higher than those seen in the so-called golden age of marijuana. THC:CBD ratio went from 14:1 to 80:1 in the past 20 years in commercial marijuana.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating compound and can be found both in marijuana and hemp plants. Non-intoxicating means that CBD does not cause the same strong psychoactive effects as the THC, this is, it doesn’t get you high, but that doesn’t mean it does not cause an effect at all. In fact, a great number of benefits that range from pain relief to anxiety management and Alzheimer’s treatment are attributed to CBD.
How about the effects?
CBD’s effects are largely more associated with the body: relaxation, pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties, however, the effects on the mind are undeniable. CBD not only puts your mind at ease, it makes it easier for you to focus and thoughts seem clearer after CBD consumption. Feelings of anxiety are dramatically reduced as well. So it is fair to say that, even though its effects are different from those of THC, CBD is also psychoactive.
THC is without a doubt heavier on the head. Especially the high concentrations of THC found in marijuana today, in contrast with the low presence of CBD, make its effects much stronger, bringing undesired effects like anxiety, psychosis and panic attacks. As far as effects on the body, THC can bring incredible relaxation, but also can make you feel heavy, even fatigued, less desirable effects than just the happiness and the high that recreational users tend to go for. THC influences the appetite too, causing what we commonly know as the munchies.
The legal landscape for cannabis has been changing pretty fast within the past 10 years in the United States, but at the same time, the legislation seems to be stuck in the 70’s. Despite all of the recent changes that have made marijuana (primarily with medicinal purposes) legal to some degree in 33 States and Washington DC, 10 of which allow for recreational use, cannabis is still a Schedule I drug at a Federal level. Hemp, on the other hand, is legal in all States as long as its THC content is below 0.3%, while CBD is still technically considered a Schedule I drug under Federal law. CBD is legal to possess, but it
isn’t legal to add CBD to food or topicals. It also can be purchased in all the States where marijuana and medical marijuana is legal, pursuant to the specific State’s laws.
In conclusion, whether your choice is CBD or THC, it is important to understand your state’s laws before you buy any product.