If you’re new to cannabis, the acronyms can feel like a foreign language. What are CBD and THC, and what’s the difference between the two of them? Let’s explain.
What Is the Difference Between CBD and THC?
There are a lot of differences between the two, but a lot of common ground. Check it out.
THC & CBD are Both Cannabis Compounds
CBD and THC are both plant compounds found in cannabis plants — hemp and marijuana. They’re called “phytocannabinoids” — there are nearly 100 phytocannabinoids known so far, but CBD and THC are the most popular.
CBD & THC are Both Anti-inflammatories and Painkillers
Both THC and CBD are used to manage pain and inflammation. CBD is better known for its anti-inflammatory properties but THC has been known to aid in this as well. In fact, using the whole plant (THC and CBD together) may create something called the “entourage effect,” which essentially means they work better together.
CBD Acts Differently on the Brain Than THC
While the term psychoactive is in a constant state of redefinition, the current status is that CBD is non-psychoactive, and THC is psychoactive. Meaning, CBD does not create a euphoric high, and THC does. Depending on what your needs are with cannabis, you can choose what best suits you.
CBD still impacts the brain. It’s been touted and proven scientifically to be a natural anxiolytic (anti-anxiety medication) as well as a natural antipsychotic and antidepressant. So to say that it doesn’t impact brain function wouldn’t be entirely accurate, but the point is that it won’t impair function in the way that THC does (for some people).
Both THC and CBD may help with sleep, particularly in relaxing the brain and body enough to fall — and stay — asleep.
As far as science has shown so far, THC is the only phytocannabinoid that is psychoactive.
CBD is Completely Legal, THC is Mostly Legal
Because of the everchanging cannabis landscape in the US, the laws are confusing (thanks, FDA). Fortunately, CBD is 100% legal, regardless of which state you’re in or what you’re using it for. Unfortunately, there are limitations to where and how you can use THC — while it’s completely legal in some states (like California), it’s only legal for medical use in other states (like New York) and completely illegal in three states (Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota).