They both stem from cannabis and are two of the most buzzed about and researched cannabinoids. While it seems rather obvious the difference between CBD and THC, there’s still quite a bit of confusion, especially when it comes to regulation. What’s more, there’s a bit of a gray area as to the benefits of each.
As an authority in the space, we’re here to clear up the confusion with clear-cut answers. Read on for the (uncomplicated) scoop on CBD vs THC.
What is CBD?
CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is one of more than 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It is also one of the most abundant and heavily researched cannabinoids and does not produce any intoxicating effects—meaning, it will not get you high.
What is THC?
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is also one of over 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, however it does produce an intoxicating effect. Depending on the dosage, THC can make you feel high.
But they come from the same plant, right?
Yes, both CBD and THC stem from the cannabis plant. But here’s where it differs: Cannabis is considered the genus while hemp and marajuana are each a species of cannabis. The hemp plant is much more abundant in CBD than THC, whereas the marijuana plant is more abundant in THC than CBD. So while they’re both cannabis plants, they’re different types and yield different ratios of cannabinoids.
So which species of the plant does CBD come from?
Technically, it can come from both. However, by law, a CBD brand must source their CBD from hemp that contains no more than 0.3% THC. As mentioned above, hemp plants yield a higher level of CBD than THC, which helps keep THC levels low during the extraction process. When CBD is extracted from hemp, there are three available forms:
- Full Spectrum: Contains the full chemical profile of the hemp plant, meaning all cannabinoids, including THC, are present. However, the amount of THC (at or below .03) is not enough to experience a high.
- Broad Spectrum: Contains all of the plants naturally occurring cannabinoids and compounds except THC.
- Isolate: CBD only. All other plant matter is removed, leaving only CBD.
What are the health benefits of CBD and THC? Are they different?
CBD and THC have similar health benefits, with some variations. CBD is often used to help reduce pain, control anxiety, quell inflammation, alleviate migraines, improve sleep and soothe red or irritated skin, to name a few. People choose CBD to help manage these conditions because CBD is non-intoxicating. THC is similar in that it can help with pain management, anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress and migraines, among others symptoms and conditions, only it produces an intoxicating effect, or a high. Some people argue that THC is more effective at managing the above conditions, though a high quality CBD and consistent use of CBD can alleviate and manage a host of symptoms without making you feel like you’re on “cloud nine.”
Are CBD and THC considered legal substances now?
With dispensaries popping up on every corner (or so it seems) and CBD taking over the internet, it may seem like both are fully legal. However, THC is only legalized in select states, with some of those states being recreational (meaning everyone can partake) and some only medical (you need a medical card to purchase). While CBD is no longer a federally controlled substance thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, each state has their own controlled substance laws. Most states have given CBD the a-okay, however there are some states that have stricter policies, such as restricting the sale of CBD-infused food and beverages.