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CBD vs. THC: Know the difference

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

For a layperson, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Cannabis based product is that long-haired guy, lighting up his reefer to enjoy a “high”. While this aspect of Cannabis has been highly publicized and is very popular, there are still a lot of people who are not yet fully aware of the immense medicinal benefits that Cannabis has to offer.

Cannabis is known to have at least 113 cannabinoids or chemical compounds which can have varied effects on our body. The two most notable of these compounds are THC and CBD. By contrast, Hemp has both of these compounds as well but the THC content makes up only 0.03% so for all intents and purposes, the only effective derivative compound from hemp is CBD. While both of these compounds have many medicinal benefits, there are some key distinguishing factors.

CBD works better for certain medical issues

CBD is known to be better than THC when it comes to certain medical conditions like easing depression and anxiety, treating psychosis and decreasing seizures and other neurological stresses. For these specific issues, regular consumption of THC might actually aggravate it instead of making it better.

CBD doesn’t make you feel hungry after consumption (aka “munchies”)

Consumption of THC is known to increase food cravings. The surge in appetite after consumption of THC can sometimes be bad for your health and can have many unintended consequences. THC lowers your inhibitions while making you crave food; this can be a bad combination and leads to people eating large quantities of unhealthy food causing elevated blood sugar levels. For those that have problems with appetite due to sickness or medications, THC can do a good job in helping to promote healthy eating.

CBD doesn’t make you “high”

Consumption of THC has psychoactive side effects popularly known as the “high” as it binds with certain receptors in the brain which produces a sense of euphoria. CBD on the other hand binds very weakly with these receptors and can actually block the binding of THC as well – which can actually dampen the psychoactive effects. Thus, CBD can provide a bunch of these benefits without giving you the mind-altering effects that can potentially slow you down. To be clear, both of these compounds are very effective when it comes to providing pain relief as they interact greatly with pain receptors - the primary difference is the psychoativity caused by THC and the lack thereof in CBD. Consequently, CBD products can be safely consumed throughout the day with no concerns of side effects. Overall, CBD is inert and will not cause harm.

To put things in perspective, the table below lists the key takeaways:

The important thing to note is that one should not classify either compound as good or bad. Each one offers benefits for certain issues and the one you consume should only have to do with what you are trying to treat (and whether or not you want to experience that "high"). For some conditions, a combination of both compounds can be the best course of action. Lastly, for CBD, it can take some experimentation to find the best product and delivery system so give it some time if you're using for the first time. Everyone's endocannabinoid system is a little different so exact experiences are different as well. Also, the more consistently and routinely you use CBD, the better the effects over time. So once you find what works for you, keep the CBD in your system and take it regularly as part of your wellness routine for the best long term results.

For all specific inquiries, including possible interaction with other medications you may be taking, please consult your physician.

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