It’s All The Same Thing…
Just kidding! This type of misinformation is rampant in the CBD and marijuana industries, and it’s easy to see where the confusion stems from. Before delving into the specific differences between the two naturally-occurring compounds, the most important thing to know is where they come from. You’ve definitely heard the words “cannabis,” “marijuana,” or “pot” in the news recently, and as of today’s writing, marijuana is legal at the state level in eleven states and Washington, D.C. Medical marijuana is legal in an additional thirty-three, bringing the total to forty-four states with legislation addressing the regulation, cultivation, and sales of the cannabis plant. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, it is federally legal to sell hemp and hemp products in the United States under 0.3% THC, and a marketplace flooded with hundreds of products and inconsistent information on how to use them safely and properly was the immediate result.
The two compounds most frequently discussed in connection with marijuana and its current federal status as a Schedule 1 drug are tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD. These are two out of hundreds of naturally occurring cannabinoids, of which there are two types. Endocannabinoids are found within the body itself and are the part of your system that interacts with phytocannabinoids, or the active cannabinoids abundantly found in hemp strains of the cannabis plant. While THC and CBD are the two most common cannabinoids in cannabis products, THC is more concentrated in marijuana and CBD in hemp- hence the confusion between the two. Both cause drug-like reactions within the body and can be used for different medicinal and recreational purposes. As more research and studies like these are conducted and published, it is extremely important that consumers educate themselves about these products before integrating them into their health routines.
What is CBD?
Let’s get the biggest difference between the two compounds out of the way first: CBD does not, will not, and cannot get its users high. Both CBD and THC share the same C23H30O2 chemical formula but in different structures. As a result, CBD and THC have different chemical properties, and although both work with your endocannabinoid system and the neurotransmitters in your brain, THC is a psychoactive compound. This means both may relax you, affect your mood, memory, pain, anxiety, depression, nausea, inflammation and more, but only THC will give users the “high” as well. Instead of a psychoactive high, CBD works within the body’s natural systems to target the endocannabinoid system and, according to research and webmd.com, “prevents the breakdown of a chemical in the brain that affects pain, mood, and mental function…which seems to reduce psychotic symptoms associated with conditions such as schizophrenia…seems to reduce pain and anxiety…and a muscle disorder called dystonia, Parkinson disease, Crohn disease, and many other conditions.”
CBD can be ingested orally through edibles or tinctures, absorbed through the skin topically, smoked, vaped or otherwise inhaled, and can even be used through intranasal products. Strength levels, flavors, and strains can be chosen according to preference, and there are great opportunities to customize the personal CBD health routine that works best for you. While there is no formal universal dosing chart for CBD available, packages and products should include the total amount of CBD contained in MG as well as a dosing recommendation. This includes everything from topical products like bath bombs and facemasks to gummies, capsules, and even disposable vapes. Additionally, many companies make their COA or Certificate of Analysis (which looks something like this one) available, which contains testing results about the exact breakdown of compounds in their product. This is an important document that can help you with the decision-making process whenever you purchase a CBD product.
What is THC?
As we’ve discussed above THC comes from the same plant, cannabis, as CBD does and is similar in makeup but different in shape, resulting in different chemical properties between the two and the famed psychoactive effects of THC that can end up making you act like these guys:
However, there is a lot more to THC than just getting stoned and getting the munchies or the giggles. THC can be consumed in many of the same ways as CBD can, thanks again to their similar chemical makeup, including topicals, tinctures, edibles, topicals, capsules and more. Once the THC hits the bloodstream, the molecules head up to the brain to bind with neurotransmitters for what is often described as a pleasant and desired effect. Haziness, enhanced senses, and euphoria are all often associated with marijuana use, but so are increased feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and panic in some users. According to How Stuff Works, there are cells found in the brains called neurons, which interact through the use of the aforementioned neurotransmitters by filling the synapses (or gaps) between them. THC blocks the actions of some of these neurotransmitters, altering normal functions and affecting different processes in the body, including short term memory, coordination, learning, and problem-solving. Certain areas of the brain like the hippocampus and cerebellum have a dense concentration of cannabinoid receptors, meaning coordination, muscle movements, and short-term recall can all be affected by THC use.
In 2003, cannabinoids were classified as a “neuroprotectant” by a patent granted to the U.S. Department of Health after research showed that phytocannabinoids in hemp and marijuana plants can be effective in “limiting neurological damage following…stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, and dementia.” Today, people use THC for everything from alleviating nausea from chemotherapy to curbing symptoms of depression and anxiety, joint pain relief and so much more. However, the potential for adverse psychoactive effects is always there- even after years of regular use. Indeed, it has recently been shown that excessive and extended use of THC can result in an unpleasant condition called Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS. CHS is “a cluster of symptoms characterized by cyclic nausea and vomiting with abdominal pain without an obvious organic cause and compulsive hot water bathing behavior induced by long-term cannabis use (more than 1 year),” and there is currently no known treatment other than complete cessation from THC use.
What Can CBD Do For Me?
If you’re concerned about the potential adverse effects of THC use, are not interested in experiencing psychoactive effects, or live in a state where to do so would be illegal but are still interested in the natural healing benefits offered by the cannabis plant, you should consider trying cannabidiol products. CBD offers additional health benefits that THC does not, like seizures. In 2014, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that “among children and adults with the Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, the addition of cannabidiol at a dose of 10 mg or 20 mg per kilogram per day to a conventional antiepileptic regimen resulted in greater reductions in the frequency of drop seizures than placebo.” CBD has also shown to be a great asset to “regulate the immune system, is an antioxidant and antibacterial agent, helps sooth the side effects of anxiety and depression, reduces nausea and soothes severe and chronic muscle and joint pain, among other things.” If you’re considering adding cannabidiol products to your health routine, remember to keep the different types of CBD in mind- and also to purchase a product under 0.3% THC or less.
Types of CBD
What is CBD Isolate? It’s a term that gets thrown around sometimes, but it’s actually a difficult product to produce and requires the right time, equipment and skill to get right. Any isolate, CBD or otherwise, is the purest form of a compound scientifically. In order to obtain an isolate, a chemist must remove all impurities or other compounds entirely, thereby “isolating” the desired compound completely by itself. Therefore, CBD isolate is pure CBD, with no other cannabinoids, THC, or other organic materials. Thanks to its extremely low THC content, hemp strains are the cannabis plant of choice when extracting CBD isolate. As a result, these cannabidiol products can sometimes be a little bit more expensive than their broad or full spectrum counterparts.
If you’re interested in testing out a CBD isolate but are worried about the taste, don’t be. ERTH Hemp’s Pure CBD Tincture Oil is 99% pure cannabidiol, 0% earthy terpene flavor. This CBD isolate is extracted using a CO2 processing method, which ensures a clean product as a result. Many heavy users of CBD prefer CBD isolate tinctures due to their availability in higher strengths: 500mg, 1000mg, and 3000mg CBD in just one 30mL bottle. If you’ve struggled with CBD products of inferior quality or taste and are looking to cut to the chase with the purest form of CBD available, ERTH Hemp’s Pure CBD Tincture Oil is a great option to consider.
Full-spectrum CBD is an extract of the hemp plant that retains all of the naturally occurring compounds and cannabinoids, including terpenes, which provide flavor, essential oils that provide a wide variety of health benefits, and other CBD analogs like CBC, CBG, and CBN. While you may think that CBD isolate is the purest and therefore the most effective cannabidiol compound available, you would be mistaken. According to a recent study performed by the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem, full-spectrum CBD was actually more effective in relieving symptoms than CBD isolate. It is believed that when all of the different compounds and cannabinoids are administered, rather than just CBD, they interact better with the endocannabinoid system and provide greater health benefits. Full-spectrum cannabinoids are actually so safe and effective, they are even given to pets to calm separation anxiety or behavioral issues and soothe joint pain. Before giving some to your beloved pooch, however, you should be sure you enjoy the way it works for you first.
One product that provides a great introduction to full-spectrum CBD use is ERTH Hemp’s Natural Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture. Extracted from organically grown hemp strains that have been tested to contain less than 0.3% THC, natural terpenes provide this tincture with an earthy, nutty flavor that is a great addition to smoothies, shakes, and your favorite teas or coffees. There’s nothing in this 30mL bottle but coconut-derived MCT carrier oil and full spectrum CO2 extracted cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils. With 1000mg, or 500mg CBD doses available, you will definitely feel a difference from the regular use of this tincture.
If you’re unsure about oral ingestion of full-spectrum CBD products or would prefer to directly target inflamed joints and aching muscles, then Pachamama’s Full Spectrum CBD Athletic Rub may be more your speed. With 500mg full spectrum CBD combined with ultra-moisturizing shea and cocoa butters plus lavender and peppermint essential oil extracts for some aromatherapy healing, you’ll be shocked at how soon this cannabidiol product could replace that old jug of Tiger Balm or the daily stack of anti-inflammatory OTC pills. Effective natural remedies not only exist, but they have also been used successfully for thousands of years. Those struggling with sore muscles and stiff joints have nothing to lose by giving this CBD topical a try. Toss it in your gym bag and see what Pachamama Full Spectrum CBD Athletic Rub can do for you!
Broad-spectrum CBD is last on the list because it is a bit of both full-spectrum CBD and a bit like cannabidiol isolate. Like full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum retains all of the helpful cannabinoids, terpenes, and other naturally occurring compounds of the hemp plant. Unlike full-spectrum, however, broad-spectrum is not 0.3% THC- instead, THC is completely removed like with CBD isolate. This is great news for those subject to regular drug testing by an employer due to career duties or if you currently reside in an illegal state. With broad-spectrum CBD products, you can get all the benefits afforded by the hemp plant- but without any fear of unwanted or unintentional THC ingestion.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in trying for yourself, the Helping Friendly Hemp Company’s Grape Broad Spectrum CBD Soft Chews are the place to begin. These large, pillowy soft chews come in tins of 3 and contain 50mg CBD, CBG, CBC and CBN extracts. With luscious grape flavor, these extracts will be easy to incorporate into your daily health routine. These particular cannabis compounds have been used over thousands of years to promote improved skin, bowel, stomach, brain, and overall body health and wellness. These broad-spectrum chews contain absolutely no CBD and are unlike any other cannabidiol product on the market today and are a wonderful way to start your broad-spectrum CBD routine.
Is CBD Right For You?
Only you can answer this question for yourself, and in order to make an informed decision, you need to be sure you’re selecting the right product with the right effects. With so many different THC, CBD, and other cannabinoid products available today, consumers can quickly be inundated with too many options and become overloaded with information. Many brands make many claims about their products, but only compounds and products backed by studies and COA testing are truly safe and effective for consumption. When it comes to choosing between a CBD and THC product, be sure to do all of your research and be honest with yourself about the effects you need for all-natural relief. Try different products and strengths, and start slow when introducing a new product into your health routine. Remember, the ultimate goal is to feel better!